ZIMBABWE is unlikely to meet maternal and child mortality Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, it has been learnt.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Health and Child Care secretary Gerald Gwinji told the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals chaired by Senator Chief Lucas Mtshane, that HIV was the biggest threat to the achievement of the MDGs. “According to World Health Organisation trends, maternal mortality is at 960 deaths per 100 000 births, but the Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey figures are at 283 deaths per 100 000 births,” Gwinji said.
“HIV is the largest killer with 26% deaths of mothers, followed by bleeding at 14%, hypertension conditions at 15%, infections that occur when mothers are ill at the time of birth at 8%, and complications related to abortions at 8% and malaria at 6%.”
Gwinji said the most underlying factors leading to high maternal mortality rates were lack of knowledge, transport, communication, and lack of money affecting expectant mothers resulting in preventable deaths.
“Some women are dying of post-natal haemorrhage if there are no blood stocks at institutions and if it is unaffordable. Hypertension diseases need to be treated early by skilled personnel and there should be early transport in place. Most women are dying due to complications of induced abortion because the issue is criminalised and at that stage they do not turn up to be treated at hospitals and they bleed to death,” he said.
He said the ministry was looking at a decline in maternal mortality to 70 deaths per 100 000 births, but they were unlikely to meet the target by 2015 due to human and financial resource constraints.
Gwinji said the ministry still found challenges with the elite who did not want their children to attend public immunisation programmes as well as hardcore vaPostori sect members who did not believe in immunisation.