MASVINGO – A quarter of pregnant Zimbabwean women are giving birth at home due to failure to access health institutions, a government official has said.
In an address to a maternal and child health workshop, Kudzai Masinire, acting Masvingo provincial director, said the crisis needs to be urgently addressed.
“About 60 percent of the women can access health institution to deliver their babies while the rest are delivering their babies at home due to difficulties in access institutionalised deliveries,” he said.
He said the most affected were women who live in the rural areas where health institutions were far away.
He said home deliveries were impacting negatively on efforts to reduce maternal deaths as the mothers end up giving birth without the assistance of professionally-trained health officials.
Masinire said the statistics of maternal deaths in the country have risen as compared to figures from the early 90’s.
“The current figure of maternal deaths of mothers dying while giving birth have risen as compared to that of 1994 as in that year only 283 per 100 000 women lost their lives while giving birth as compared to the current figures of 725 per 100 000,” he said.
He said rural women faced a myriad of challenges including lack of transport to carry them to the nearest health institution.
“There are several challenges facing women and they end up delivering at home,” Masinire said.
“The three major issues here are recognition and decision, transport and receiving quality care when you reach a health facility,” he said.
Masinire however, said government was working hard to ensure universal access to health for all in the country in line with the public health policy.