THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently praised the government for making positive strides towards the reduction of maternal related deaths.
UNFPA Representative to Lesotho Marc Derveeuw said the country was working hard to reduce maternal related deaths by recently increasing skilled birth attendants by 23 percent.
Dr Derveeuw said this while handing over a vehicle donated to the Ministry of Health's family Health Division recently. The vehicle is expected to make a meaningful contribution towards delivery of health services in the country.
Dr Derveeuw said the Ministry of Health had made good progress in some of the important indicators towards reducing maternal mortality. He said the indicators included a 13 percent increase in the rate of access to contraceptive prevalence to 60 percent.
"The increase in skilled birth attendants from 55 percent to 78 percent and the increase in facility-based deliveries from 52 percent to 77 percent is commendable," Dr Derveeuw said.
Dr Derveeuw was also appreciative of the review process of maternal deaths covering data from 2011 to 2015 and expressed hope that results would help the ministry make informed interventions to reduce maternal deaths.
He applauded the Health ministry for allocating funds for the purchase of family planning commodities. He however, expressed concern over the high mortality rate and said this pointed to the poor quality of care provided at different healthcare facilities.
"This indicates the need to improve quality of care especially midwifery services," he said, adding that the high HIV infections were worrying. He said there was a need for the country to increasingly work on its HIV prevention interventions.
Dr Derveeuw also took the opportunity to inform deputy Health minister 'Manthabiseng Phohleli of the upcoming ICPD25 Nairobi Summit scheduled for November 2019.
He emphasised the importance of Lesotho's participation in the summit and offered to assist the ministry to ensure that the country develops an all-inclusive strong national commitment to the summit.
On her part, Ms Phohleli said the vehicle would enable the Family Health Division to undertake quarterly supervisory visits to health facilities and expressed gratitude to UNFPA for the gift.
On her part, Director Primary Healthcare Services Thabelo Ramatlapeng thanked the UNFPA for its continued support for Lesotho.
She said UNFPA was Lesotho's trusted partner in addressing issues of maternal health, adding that the vehicle would come in handy for the Health ministry's staffers to reach mothers in time as delays cannot be tolerated.
According to the Demographic Health Survey (2014) maternal mortality has worsened from 370 per 100 000 live births in 1990 to 1 024 per 100 000 live births in 2014. Most of the maternal deaths in Lesotho are said to be a result of emergencies that require surgical intervention, such as hemorrhage, infection, or obstructed labour.