Image: Honourable Joseph Katema, Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Takes Time to Provide Vitamin A to an Under-5 Infant
An estimated 38 women die every month during pregnancy and childbirth in Zambia - reflecting a maternal mortality ratio of 483 deaths per 100,000 live births. If the Country is to reach the Millennium Development Goal target of at least less than 162 deaths per 100,000 live births, there will be need to intensify maternal health interventions by all stakeholders.
From 19th to 25th May 2013, Zambia will be celebrating its fourth annual Safe Motherhood Week, designed to raise awareness on maternal health and promote increased utilization of health services. Zambia begun to celebrate Safe Motherhood Week in 2010 as a concrete manifestation of its commitment to achieving MDG5 and specifically to operationalize the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality (CARMMA) in Africa. In 2010 the Ministry of Health and its partners launched safe motherhood week in 24 initial districts in the country.
This year, the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health with support from UNFPA, has planned to conduct a vigorous campaign in Eastern Province, to ensure scale up of access to family planning, skilled delivery at birth and prevention of obstetric fistula. The goal is to reduce the number of women dying from preventable complications during childbirth and improve survival among children less than five years of age.
In addition to the campaign, UNFPA is facilitating community outreach services to reach the underserved and hard-to-reach women and girls - including focused antenatal care, family planning, adolescent health, HIV testing and counseling and health promotion activities.
The Safe Motherhood Week will culminate into the commemoration of the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on 24th May - marked by UNFPA to reflect on progress made over the last decade, as well as to raise awareness and generate new political and financial support to accelerate redress of this severely neglected health and human rights tragedy.