Zim halves mortality rates among Under-10s

23 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Zim halves mortality rates among Under-10s


Talent Gore
ZIMBABWE scored highly with mortality rates more than halving, among Under-10 years, according to a UNICEF report.

The mortality rates, among Under-10 years, came down from 960 per 100,000 live births in 2010 to 462 in 2019 (MICS 2019).

To maintain the positive development around maternal mortality, Community Working Group on Health Executive Director, Itai Rusike, said there was need to increase focus on the quality of care in the provision of maternal health services.

“Maternity Waiting Homes should be provided for the high-risk women and those staying far from the hospital so that they can be accommodated during the final weeks of their pregnancy near a hospital with essential obstetric and neonatal care facilities,” he said.

“There has been revitalisation of maternity waiting homes in the last couple of years. Closing gaps in maternal health services demands intervention at all points of sexual and reproductive health services, from access to contraceptives to safe delivery. This relates to improving service availability and accessibility but also to addressing contexts of gender violence, poor community security and low levels of sexual and financial autonomy, particularly among young, mobile and vulnerable women.”

However, the number of children dying within their first 28 days of their birth remains high and unchanged over the past 33 years.

This is a result of numerous factors, such as malnutrition, the UNICEF report said.

Neonatal mortality refers to the number of deaths during the first 28 completed days of life per 1000 live births in a given year, or other period.

In Zimbabwe, despite the high coverage of births by skilled birth attendance and institutional delivery, maternal mortality remains high at 462/100000 live births.

According to UNCEF’s Annual Report for the year 2021, neonatal mortality rate has remained practically unchanged since 1988, at 31 deaths per 1,000 live births, due to malnutrition, AIDS, pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea. Rusike said there was a need to improve the attitude of health workers, intensify quality improvement initiatives in maternal health services delivery during ANC, labour and after delivery, and strengthening life-saving decision-making skills for doctors and nurses.

“The child immunisation rates in the country fell during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the various public health preventive measures put in place by the Government to reduce transmission,” he said.

“Some groups, like the Apostolic sects, oppose immunisation on religious grounds but the decline was mainly due to a drop in service delivery and outreach.”

While coverage rates have improved, Rusike said they remain well below levels achieved in the pre- Covid-19 era.

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