EDITORIAL: Great news on mortality rates, but…

05 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
EDITORIAL: Great news on mortality rates, but…


REVELATIONS by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) that Zimbabwe has halved the maternal mortality rate from 960 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2010 to 462 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2019, come as great news.

Equally great is news that under five mortality declined significantly in just five years, from 75 to 65 deaths per 1 000 live births, between 2014 and 2019.

However, 462 deaths per 100 000 live births, is still a high number.

That should not be the case.

A high infant mortality rate (defined as the number of deaths of children less than 1-year-old per 1000 live births) can only mean there is something adults are doing wrong to lead to the early deaths of the young children.

Most people do not care to have antenatal care.

They forget that a small complication during labour can lead to the death of the baby.

As a country, we should really concentrate on the care that we give to babies before, during and after their births, to lower the deaths of infants and children under five.

Unicef expressed concern that, despite the considerable gains, the neonatal mortality rate has remained unchanged since 1988, at 31 deaths per 1 000 live births, due to malnutrition, HIV/Aids, pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea.

Children can not be dying because of man-made problems like poor sanitation or lack of access to nutritious foods.

These, together with poor water supply and quality, have been fingered as some of the factors derailing the goal of reducing child mortality.

As a country, we must put great efforts to reduce child mortality or our future will continue to be destroyed at very early stage.

It is very possible to achieve the MDG of 27 per 1,000 live births for under-fives and 22 per 1,000 for infant mortality, given the available health infrastructure and training facilities, but all stakeholders have to play their part.

The death of babies and children under the age of five can only be blamed on adults, whom the children depend on for survival.

Stakeholders must look into the causes of these high mortality rates.

Research has shown that in some cases, high rates of maternal deaths occur in the same countries that have high rates of infant mortality, reflecting generally poor nutrition and medical care.

It also probably reflects the lack of access to skilled medical care during childbirth and the distance of travelling to the nearest clinic to receive proper care.

These factors all affect Zimbabwe as a developing nation and it is time these issues are addressed.

The Health Ministry must answer the call to mobilise resources so as to address the major causes of the high neonatal, maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.

We have already shown we can make progress in this area and we know that we can do it as a united nation.

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