THE health of women is once again in the spotlight and leading discussions in the nation’s health agenda following maternal health concerns.
Kornelia Shilunga, Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, during the Women’s Health conference held in Windhoek, noted that maternal mortality ratio is on the increase and has resulted in the death of 70 women in Namibia this year alone.
“Furthermore, the nutrition and overall health of pregnant women appears to be impacting on the under- five mortality rate in general and new born mortality in particular,“ said Shilunga.
These trends occur in a context of increased delivery at health facilities, indicating challenges in the quality of services.
Worldwide, about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression.
In developing countries, this is even higher – 15.6% during pregnancy and 19.8% after childbirth.
In severe cases, mothers suffering is so severe that they may commit suicide.
According to the ministry of health and social services (MoHSS), HIV/Aids is the leading indirect cause of maternal mortality in health facilities, accounting for 37% of total mortality.
Shilunga said that despite having a HIV/Aids infection rate, mothers must be commanded as they committed to ensuring that their unborn babies receive care through the PMTCT programme.
Namibia is one of the countries with the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the world, with 19% of pregnant woman between the ages of 15 and 49 years being infected.
HIV/Aids also constitute the most serious reproductive health challenges.
Shilunga noted that there is continuous efforts to build capacity and skills of health workers to provide quality essential services to mothers during pregnancy and after delivery.