Friday, April 12, 2013

Pregnancy-related causes claim a life every 4 hours - Dr Kaseba
By Fridah Nkonde
Fri 12 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FIRST lady Dr Christine Kaseba says a woman dies every four hours in Zambia from pregnancy-related causes.

During the launch of maternal newborn and child health roadmap in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Kaseba said although progress had been made in the reduction of maternal, under-five and infant mortality rates over the years, the reductions had not resulted in significant progress as death still remained unacceptably high.

"Most of these women die during childbirth and the first one week of delivery. We also know that the poorest women have more than twice as many children as women who live in the wealthiest households.

Challenges remain because almost 850 children die daily from preventable diseases. Many more thousands of children are suffering from illnesses caused by lack of clean water, poor nutrition, and adequate health services and care," Dr Kaseba said.

She said low access to family planning results in frequent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and contributes to increased risk of abortions, stillbirths, prematurity and babies born with low birth weight.

She said sick children were less likely to reach school age healthy, well nourished, confident and ready to learn.

She said Zambia should end preventable child deaths and that no woman should die while giving life.

"As women, we need to ensure that household and communities practice health seeking behaviours. As husbands, and father, you need to recognise that you play a major role in ensuring access of health services to women and children and communities are strongly encouraged to mobilise themselves to ensure that they mobilise necessary logistics including transport for referral of pregnant women and sick children for health care," she said.

Dr Kaseba appealed to the government to address the high poverty levels which mostly affected women and children.

She also urged medical officers to pay due diligence in providing the required health services that would improve lives of women and children.

UNICEF deputy executive director Geeta Rao Gupta said the agency was committed to support the Zambian government-led effort to identify the most disadvantaged children and reach those communities where the burden of mortality was highest.

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