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Maternal health care worries First Lady

ESTHER

HLUPEKILE NKUNIKA, HILDA MUSONDA, Petauke
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu is concerned that many women in Zambia do not have access to antenatal care services.
Mrs Lungu said this is particularly so for those in rural areas as health facilities are far from their dwellings.
She said this yesterday in a speech read for her by Besnart Tembo, a member of the Minister’s Wives Club, at the launch of a ‘Walk to Safe Motherhood’ project spearheaded by Zambia Women Development Association (ZAWEDA) in Petauke.
The First Lady noted that only one midwife is available for every 1,240 women and that the percentage of women with access to family planning is at 24 percent.
She called for coordinated efforts to reduce Zambia’s maternal mortality which is at 440 per 100,000 live births.
The First Lady said that the Ministry of Health in Eastern Province is struggling to reduce maternal mortality because of low attendance of antenatal care which is at 2.8 percent. The target of attendance is four percent.
She said this is why ZAWEDA seeks more support for the ‘Walk to Safe Motherhood’ project, which advocates increased access to maternal health services among expectant mothers.
Mrs Lungu said the programme is being implemented in Msanzala, Koloso and Chiputula communities which have a total population of 17,788.
She said the Walk to safe motherhood project is helping in reducing the burden of maternal mortality by creating a community- riven referral system using improved oxen ambulances.
And Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board member Emelda Makota said the project is in line with her organisation’s objective of pressing for an improvement in women’s access to reproductive health, and HIV and AIDS health services.
Ms Makota said Zambia still has reproductive health needs such as contraceptives use. ZANIS

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