CHOMBA MUSIKA, Choma
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu is today expected in Choma to launch the Safe Motherhood week, Southern Province medical officer Jelita Chinyonga has said.
Dr Chinyonga has since invited traditional leaders in the province to the launch of the Safe Motherhood week dubbed: â€œWomenâ€™s Dignity Begins when Fistula Ends.â€
She said this in Choma on Monday when she officially opened a two-day maternal health care orientation workshop for traditional leaders in the region.
â€œGovernment set aside a week where intensive activities are to be implemented to reduce maternal deaths and to this effect, this yearâ€™s commemoration of the Safe Motherhood week under the theme, â€˜Womenâ€™s dignity begins when Fistula endsâ€™, will be held from 25 to 31 May 2015. The official launch will be graced by the First Lady in Choma on Wednesday May 27, 2015 (today),â€ Dr Chinyonga said.
And opening the workshop, Dr Chinyonga appealed to traditional leaders to help stop cultural practices that hinder women from accessing maternal healthcare.
She said chiefs must take an active role in sensitising their subjects against child marriages, early pregnancies, vices she said have largely contributed to the high maternal mortality in the country.
â€œAs gate-keepers, you have the power to reduce the deaths of mothers in the process of giving lifeâ€¦some cultural traditional practices have influenced delay in our mothers accessing healthcare during pregnancy or delivery.
â€œWe need to improve maternal health, reduce maternal complications such as fistula by working together as stakeholders to sensitise our communities to desist from early marriages and avoid teenage pregnancies,â€ Dr Chinyonga said.
She regretted that maternal deaths in Zambia have continued to be unacceptably high.
â€œAccording to the current Zambia Health Demographic Survey, maternal mortality rate in 2014 seem to have reduced from 591 per 100,000 live births to 398 per 100,000 live births,â€ Dr Chinyonga said.
And in a presentation, Chief Mukuniâ€™s wife, Victoria, said her chiefdom has been aggressively sensitising subjects against child marriages with the help of stakeholders.
CHOMBA MUSIKA, Choma