25 Sep 2017 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP ( NAMPA) - Namibia has registered a favourable overall reduction of maternal deaths, despite having fallen short of meeting the 2015 targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report on maternal deaths for the east and southern Africa regions, released on Thursday, states that Namibia now has a Maternal Mortality Rate of 265 deaths per 100 000 live births.
This, according to the report, still falls short of the ambitious global target of only 70 deaths per 100 000 live births as set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose deadline is 2030.
The SDGs came into force in 2015, after the end of the Millennium Development Goals.
The report covers research conducted in 23 countries across eastern and southern Africa, including Namibia.
The study primarily intends to provide an evidence base to support policy dialogue at national and regional levels and to assist countries in the region to meet the challenges of the SDGs relating to sexual, reproductive, maternal, new-born and adolescent health (SRMNAH).
The SRMNAH Workforce Report, as the study is titled, states that the Maternal Mortality Rate for the countries reviewed has declined from 913 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 1990 to 455 in 2015 on average across the region.
This marks a 50 per cent reduction.
In 2015, the Maternal Mortality Rate for countries in the region ranged from 53 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in Mauritius to 789 in South Sudan, against a 2015 global average of 216.
The significant reduction in maternal deaths has been attributed to improvements in access to family planning and skilled birth attendants in countries surveyed.
Despite the good showing, significant problems remain with inequality of access to services and poor quality of care.
The 23 countries in the region accounted for seven per cent of the worlds women of reproductive age and 14 per cent of the worlds births in 2015, but just two per cent of the worlds doctors, nurses and midwives.
This indicates a severe shortage of health workers in the region. Correspondingly, and despite significant progress over the last two decades, countries in the region still tend to have relatively poor maternal and neonatal outcomes, the report states.
It is estimated that there were 303 000 maternal deaths in the world in 2015, and nearly all of the preventable deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
Similarly, 2.7 million neonatal deaths and 2.6 million still-births occurred across the world in 2015, mostly in low and middle-income countries.