The health of a mother before and after birth is very important for the better health of the new offspring.
If a mother is in bad health, she will not be in a proper condition to take care of her baby, thus denying a new born baby the basic motherly care. The delivery of a baby is a delicate period for a mother who can be vulnerable to a number of disorders after giving birth.
One of them is obstetric fistula which is caused by prolonged, obstructed labour because of the lack of timely and adequate medical care.
According to the United Nations Fund for Population Agency (UNFPA), obstetric fistula is said to affect about 2,000 women in Zambia and these await surgery to correct the condition. There is a high likelihood of a baby born from a woman with fistula to die a stillborn or during the first week of its life.
A mother who develops fistula during birth suffers incontinence, resulting in most women being shunned by the communities.
Such women become more vulnerable because of the stigma associated with fistula and they end up being excluded from socio-economic activities that would otherwise prevent them from being steeped deep in poverty and further suffering.
Some women die during child birth due to the absence of immediate natal care and in Zambia, it is estimated that 38 women die every month in pregnancy and during childbirth due to complications. Recognising the importance of pre and postnatal health of a mother, Government has put in place a number of programmes to enhance the wellbeing of mothers during delivery.
One of the programmes Government has put in place is safe motherhood whose aim is to ensure the safety of mothers during delivery.
In adopting a programme like this one, Government is driving towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal number 5 on the improvement of maternal health.
As the world moves forward, Zambia should also move in tandem with those who seek the safety of mothers whose role is vital in the growth of families and eventually the population. We commend First Lady Esther Lungu for taking the lead in spearheading the safety of mothers through the launch of the Safe Motherhood Week in Choma yesterday under the theme, “Women’s dignity begins when fistula ends”.
The dignity of women should be guarded all times because of their role in society and those who are unfortunate to suffer from fistula should not be stigmatised on account of that condition. It is imperative, therefore, that Government enhances the safety of women by putting in place sensitisation programmes to explain the causes of fistula and rid society of the myths that people still have about the condition.
The primary role should be played by health workers and we urge them to continue encouraging couples to attend ante-natal together so that men are aware of the risks their wives face during delivery. We further urge traditional leaders to take up the role of urging husbands and their wives to undergo pre-natal education together as well as discourage early marriages because these can cause complications in childbirth.
On its part, Government has continued to take healthcare services as nearest to the people as possible and we urge them to continue so that more women have easy access to health facilities. Any delays in getting to health facilities can cause complications in child delivery and it is also the duty of mothers, wherever they are found, to aim to get to a healthcare facility quickly to save both their life and that of the child. This will help promote safe motherhood.
Published: May 28, 2015. By Zambia Daily Mail
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