Editor's Comment

Giving birth not matter of life and death

THE United Nations Populations Fund says giving birth should not be a matter of life and death.
Therefore, a lot needs to be done to improve maternal and reproductive health worldwide.
Zambia has on its part made significant progress towards the reduction of maternal deaths in 2007 from 591 deaths per 100,000 live births to 398 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014.
Despite this progress, it distresses Government to see that Zambia is losing approximately 10 to 15 women per week due to pregnancy-related causes.
In 2018 alone, the country lost a total of 786 women due to pregnant-related complications.
It is a pity that while the country’s maternal mortality rate is steadily reducing, maternal deaths are still very high.
President Edgar Lungu has said this is unacceptable and does not want this to continue.
He has, therefore, declared maternal and prenatal deaths a public health emergency in Zambia.
Maternal and prenatal death is when a woman dies during pregnancy, delivery or within 42 days after delivery.
Maternal and prenatal deaths have grave consequences because women die while giving birth to a child.
What is more tragic is when both mother and baby die.
What should concern citizens is why women should continue dying of pregnancy-related causes in the 21st century when the country has a lot of medical facilities.
In the past, women dying in rural areas was due to the long distances to health care services, of which most of them had very few health care professionals.
This is no longer the case, hence President Lungu’s call to join hands in the crusade to prevent maternal and prenatal deaths as well as heightening innovative interventions by ensuring that no woman dies while giving life.
Religious and traditional leaders should be in the frontline to promote healthy behaviours and help discard cultural and traditional beliefs, including practices which impede the country’s quest to ensure good maternal and prenatal health for our people.
There is need for women in labour to take advantage of antenatal services at health facilities which help them in pregnancy management.
Among the many lessons women learn include the need for them to be exercising to prevent non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and low blood pressure.
Adherence to proper nutrition such as fruits and vegetables helps women in labour overcome health challenges such as constipation, morning sickness and ultimately give birth without complications.
Quality pregnancy management should be every woman’s dream after conceiving and baby development follows.
Citizens should arise and join efforts with Government in curbing maternal and perinatal deaths. We cannot leave this task to Government alone. Together, we need to find ways of reducing – if possible ending – maternal mortality.
The country should stop preventable deaths from happening by ensuring that there is massive sensitisation.
Funding to the health sector should be consistent. Incidences of hospitals not receiving operational grants will have a negative effect on the maternal mortality rate.
There should be sustainable and increased funding going to the health sector to help handle maternal issues.
Zambia should recognise that a woman’s life is important not only as a caregiver but as a giver of life.

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