High maternal, child mortality rate attributed to poverty

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By Limpho Sello

MASERU — Mothers continue to die during child birth, with 1 155 per 100 000 deaths reported, according to the 2009 Demographic Health Survey (DHS).

This unflattering statistics emerged during a two-day workshop held at ’Melesi Lodge in Thaba Bosiu on Thursday last week.

The Ministry of Health’s family planning division manager Maneo Mohai said the deaths are both related to medical and circumstances in which some of the mothers live in.

She attributed the high maternal and child mortality rates to poverty, inaccessibility to basic health services and shortage of healthcare providers at some health centres.

The same DHS survey also indicated that, 117 per 1 000 children die before they turn five years. “There are factors that cause Lesotho to have such high mortality rates, these include home deliveries, a risky practice because proper procedures are not observed during such deliveries.

“In many cases, disinfected equipment is rarely used,” Mohai said.

This, she said, can lead into infections that can threaten the lives of both the baby and the mother.

She emphasised the need to encourage, particularly young mothers to attend ante-natal and post-natal clinics to prevent common complications such as heavy bleeding.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme Officer in the Ministry of Health, Ms Motsoanku ’Mefane said there was need to strengthen health systems, provide adequate resources to all health centres and also prioritise construction of roads to make health centres accessible to all people.

“In emergent cases at some health centres, when pregnant women need to be transferred to other health centres, transport becomes a problem — this is because, we have some clinics operating without or just one unreliable car.”

She added husbands too should provide love, care and support when their wives are expecting and after delivering to promote good health.

 

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