Opuwo — With the inauguration of the Kazetjindire Angelika Muharukua maternity waiting room at Opuwo yesterday, it is expected that there will be lesser pregnancy related complications in the Kunene Region where 72 percent of pregnant women deliver in health facilities.
This is compared to the national average of 88.7 percent and 97.6 percent in the Erongo Region, according to a 2013 demographic and health survey.
The Kunene Region has the lowest proportion of pregnant women delivering in health facilities, according the survey. The region is presented with unique and compounding challenges that make access to health care impossible for some rural communities.
These include extreme levels of poverty, long distances to health care facilities and low seeking behaviour. In addition, Opuwo has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and the lowest deliveries at facilities.
In view of this, the Europeans Union through the Programme for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PARMaCM) decided to support government in funding the construction of the Kazetjindire Angelika Muharukua maternity waiting home.
The total funding of the programme amounted to N$155 million. Part of this money was for procurement and distribution of medical equipment, N$8.5 million for the construction of maternity waiting homes and N$14, 6 million for the purchasing of nine ambulances and six utility vehicles.
"Everyday, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth," said the World Health Organisation's country representative to Namibia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses.
He also said that the maternity waiting room is expected to positively impact the lives of women and children in the region.
Meanwhile, Health professionals working in the Kunene Region were yesterday implored to embrace professionalism and work ethic by effectively and timeously attending to patients to prevent loss of lives.
Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Namibia Jana Hybaskova said that Namibian mothers are dying in part due to long distances. Because of the distance some women do not make it on time to health facilities, she explained.
Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku and the Kunene Regional Governor Marius Sheya, who both spoke at the launch of the Kazetjindire Angelika Muharukua maternity waiting room, lamented poor customer service which they said risks lives in the health sector.
"A lot of residents of Kunene (region) are not happy with the attitude and treatment they are receiving from health care professionals," said Sheya.
In response, Haufiku said: "Namibia has got a poor service culture, let's accept it once and for all. Let's change this attitude and put up a culture of service".
Haufiku added that in the health sector it is dangerous to gamble with the lives of patients because death cannot be reversed when the patient dies.