Maputo — More than 1,400 Mozambican health units will benefit from medical and surgical equipment for mother and child care donated by the United States government on Thursday.
The equipment is valued at over 3.2 million US dollars. It consists of 600 gynaecological observation tables, 2,000 hospital beds, 2,500 hospital mattresses, 300 observation lamps, 1,750 childbirth kits, 300 kits for caesarean births, 1,000 kits for neonatal reanimation, and 8,000 sphygmomanometers (which measure blood pressure), among other items.
Health Minister Nazira Abdula, who chaired the reception ceremony, said the donated material will help reduce the levels of neonatal and maternal mortality in Mozambique.
"This equipment will strengthen the resources of the National Health Service, thus increasing the capacity of health units to screen women and treat obstetric complications in due time", she added.
Abdula noted that the number of institutional births has been increasing, rising from54.8 per cent of all Mozambican births in 2011 to 83 per cent in 2017. This growth has been sharpest in rural areas.
"Attending in time to obstetric complications", she said, "means turning the health centres into more skilled units, with adequate human and material resources".
She believed that the donated material will strengthen still further the diagnosis of obstetric complications, and the readiness of the reference health units to deal with them.
For his part, US Ambassador Dean Pittman praised the work the government has undertaken to provide good quality care for pregnant women and new born infants, but lamented that many women, infants and children are still dying from illnesses that can be avoided or treated.
He advised the government to give priority to the health sector in the state budget, so that the health service has sufficient funds to respond to the needs of the public, who are visiting the health units in ever larger numbers.
"Without this joint undertaking, our combined efforts will not be sustainable", Pittman warned. "If we work together to strengthen the Mozambican health systems, we shall continue to speed up progress towards meeting the national goals of reducing the maternal, neonatal and infant mortality rates".