APOSTOLIC sects in the country have been a major contributor to the high rate of maternal mortality and have hampered efforts to reduce maternal mortality by 2015, according to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress report released last week.
Report by Feluna Nleya
The report said the worsening maternal mortality in the country was caused by a number of interlinked factors, including apostolic church members’ reluctance to have their children taken to hospital.
The report said 25% of deaths were of teenagers, apostolic groups and domestic workers.
“About a quarter of the deceased were between 15 and 19 years of age. Most were affiliated to an apostolic group and in domestic service,” the report reads.
Most of the apostolic churches were still lagging behind on several developmental issues, hence the need to positively engage them.
Pregnant women are not allowed to visit health institutions and are made to deliver their babies at home, often leading to maternal deaths due to complications.
The sects also prohibit immunisation of babies, contributing a great deal to child mortality.
“The level of education of the mother has a correlation with infant and child mortality. The more educated the mother, the lower the infant or child mortality rate,” part of the report reads.
“Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2010/11 statistics show that infants from mothers with no access to maternal and child health services, such as antenatal care or delivery care from a skilled health worker, are about three times more likely to die compared to those who had both antenatal and delivery care from a skilled worker.”