Mchinji District Health Office (DHO) has suffered a setback in the fight against maternal and neonatal deaths following revelations that the district is registering three pregnancy-related deaths every month.
This comes six years after the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction in Maternal and Neonatal Mortality Action (Carmma) in August 2009 identified the district as a model in sharing knowledge with women and empowering them to “take charge of their own lives”.
But in an interview on Sunday, Mchinji District Hospital nursing officer Emmanuel Mpoola said the district has registered a 62 percent increase in pregnancy-related deaths over the past years. He described the situation as worrisome.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a blood donation initiative by the Parent and Child Health Initiative (Pachi).
Mpoola said contributing factors to the situation include failure by women to seek professional medical and healthcare services when due to deliver, saying the majority of them prefer traditional birth attendants (TBAs) instead.
He also said women’s failure to detect signs leading to labour is another factor preventing them from getting to the hospital in time to receive professional birth attention.
Said Mpoola: “Twenty children die every month. These are deaths we can avoid.”
Pachi executive director Charles Makwenda said the factors are among the reasons that motivated them to donate blood to the hospital through community blood collection initiatives to help reduce deaths of women due to pregnancy-related complications.