Campaign to help curb maternal, child mortality

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pretoria - In a bid to curb maternal and child mortality, North West Health MEC Dr Magome Masike will on Friday launch the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

CARMMA is an initiative of the African Union Commission to curb the continentally high rate of pregnancy related deaths. It was launched at continental level during the African Union Conference of Ministers of Health in May 2009 in Ethiopia under the theme 'Universal Access to Quality Health Service: Improve Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health'.

High maternal, perinatal and under-five morbidity and mortality are some of the formidable development challenges in Africa, and a large number of deaths is due to preventable causes.

The provincial launch follows the national launch of CARMMA by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in May at Osindisweni Hospital in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal.

The campaign, which was launched under the theme 'South Africa Cares, No Woman Should Die Whilst Giving Life', aims to reduce number of women who die as a result of childbearing, during pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery or termination of pregnancy.

The North West launch, which will also be held under the theme 'North West Cares: No Mother Should Die While Giving Life' will coincide with the establishment of the maternity waiting homes and first Human Milk Bank in the province at Potchefstroom Hospital.

Masike this morning visited the maternity waiting home and human milk bank at the hospital ahead of the CARMMA launch at Ikageng stadium.

He said through the launch of CARMMA, the department sought to reduce maternal and child mortality by implementing various groundbreaking interventions like the maternity waiting homes and human milk banks in health facilities across the province and procurement of obstetric ambulances.

"Maternal, perinatal and children under five months mortality remain a serious concern and the establishment of the milk bank will come in handy for infants denied breast milk due to the shortage of rooming-in facilities for mothers, maternal deaths during birth, and mothers being too ill to lactate.

"The lack of breast milk during the first two weeks of life for premature infants, especially those with a low birth weight, leaves them exposed to infections and diseases that result in hundreds of deaths annually," Masike said.

According to the Saving Mothers North West Report 2008-2010, a total of 392 deaths were reported compared to 2005-2007, which rest at 289. Lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and HIV related conditions are regarded as leading causes of maternal deaths within the province.

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