8 April 2019

Mozambique: Thousands of Mozambican Kids Born Into Disease

Photo: Josh Estey/CARE

Maputo — More than 6 000 babies will be born this month in areas ravaged by the Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, a development that spells doom for the disaster-prone Southern African country.

Children's rights organisations said this equates to 194 births a day.

The newborns are at increased risk of being affected by cholera and malaria.

In addition, pregnant women who contract cholera have an increased risk of stillbirth while the expectant women who contract malaria have increased risk of low birth weight babies.

"Pregnant women who contract malaria are also more likely to have complications in pregnancy or give birth to smaller babies," said Rachael Cummings, Director of Save the Children's Humanitarian Public Health Team.

She said it was essential for women in cyclone-hit Mozambique to have access to skilled birth attendants and health facilities that were equipped to care for the pregnant women and their newborn babies.

Cyclone Idai made landfall three weeks ago in Mozambique, affecting an estimated 1,85 million people, including close to 1 million children. Over 600 people have been killed.

Thousands of mothers are unable to access pre-natal health care and face the prospect of giving birth in squalid conditions, with little protection for their children.

At least 35 health facilities were destroyed, with Beira the worst affected by the floods that also hit neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Save the Children is aiming to reach at least 190 000 Mozambican children and their families in the coming weeks and months.

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