FOUR hundred and fifty nine pregnant women died of maternal complications between January 2010 and December last year, Community Development, Mother and Child Health Deputy Minister Jean Kapata has said.
Ms Kapata said this in Parliament yesterday in response to a question from PF Chilubi Member of Parliament(MP), Obius Chisala on statistics on pregnancy related deaths.
Ms Kapata, however, said Government was working to redress the number of deaths recorded by applying various interventions to protect the lives of pregnant women and curb maternal deaths.
She said Government had embarked on measures such as training of more health personnel to be deployed in rural areas and sensitisation of the women on the need to seek specialist health services during labour.
She said hurdles arising from distance covered to access specialist health service would be addressed through the construction of 650 clinics with skilled health personnel.
"There are challenges in accessing specialist health services but we are determined to train more health personnel and deploy them in the targeted 650 clinics," she said.
The ministry also planned to upscale its intra-ministerial approach to curb early marriages especially in rural areas.
It intended to involve traditional leaders in training programmes that would sensitise the rural populous on the dangers of allowing early marriages in their communities. Other measures were the introduction of stiffer penalties to curb defilement cases.
Before proceedings started, the House welcomed back Mufumbwe MP, Steven Masumba, who was introduced by his elections campaign manager, Jean Kapata and Livingstone UPND MP, Howard Sikwela.
Mr Masumba took oath before Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini.
Other MPs joined in welcoming Mr Masumba, among them Lukulu West MP, Misheck Mutelo (MMD), Kasempa MP Kabinga Pande (MMD) and Mazabuka UPND MP, Gary Nkombo and MMD MP for Petauke, Dora Siliya.