Five recent stories published on the site have raised various issues impacting maternal health—including leadership and innovation, maternal death audits, access to primary health care and safe delivery, human rights, and even a proposal for a separate maternal health ministry.
Namibia: Leadership Development, Social Innovation and Improved System Performance
The Maternal Health Initiative Team, an offshoot of the African Public Health Leadership and Systems Innovation Initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is “developing a model for improving public health leadership and system performance.”
“…The project is underpinned by three principles: local leadership development, social innovation and improved system performance.
The initiative applies a business-consulting approach called the Innovation Lab. Through the Innovation Lab, multi-stakeholder teams are guided through an intensive leadership development and problem-based learning experience. The aim is to tackle a complex social and system problem through a multi-stakeholder and innovation response.
When deciding on a priority health problem to tackle as a pilot, it wasn’t hard for Namibian health leaders to choose maternal health. Between 2000 and 2006, maternal mortality jumped to 449 deaths per 100 000 births, an increase of 178 deaths…”
Read the full article, Namibia:Health Authorities Tackle Maternal Mortality.
Rwanda: A Call for Maternal Death Audits
“…As a strategic move to curb the maternal death rate further and achieve millennium development goal 5, the government recently extended the fight to the village level.
This was announced recently by the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, during a meeting that was held with a visiting US medical team to discuss Rwanda’s health progress.
During the discussions, Sezibera noted that it was imperative to engage the community in fighting maternal death rates so that leaders at the village level can identify the causes of these deaths in bid to find a lasting solution.
‘This year we started maternal death audits in villages because we believe that social audits on death causes will enable authorities identify answers to this problem,’ the minister said…”
Read the full article, Rwanda: Maternal Mortality Control Extends to Village Level.
Nigeria: Improving Access to Primary Health Care and Safe Delivery
“Health System Development Project II, a World Bank assisted project has commissioned two Comprehensive Primary Health Centres at Dagiri community in Gwagwalada and Dabi village at Kwali.
The Health Centres are to address the high rate of maternal and child mortality cases in the country, said Mrs Anne Okigbo-fisher, World Bank task team leader during the hand over ceremony of the centres. She said Nigeria records 10 percent of the world’s maternal mortality rates out of the 524,000 women that die yearly during child birth, adding that approximately 99 percent of the mortality rate is due to child birth complications in developing countries.
According to her the objective of HSDP II is to reduce such complications and improve safe delivery in the country…”
Read the full article, Nigeria: World Bank Commissions N104 Million Hospitals in Abuja.
Kenya: Human Rights Impacting Maternal Health
“Amnesty International calls on Kenya’s Parliament to ensure that the draft Constitution of Kenya upholds respect for, the protection and fulfilment of all human rights. The draft Constitution should retain social and economic rights as enforceable rights. In addition, the organization also calls on Parliament to remove the provision stipulating that the right to life begins at conception and if the article on abortion access is retained, provide for abortion for rape victims…
…If the Constitution explicitly limits women’s access to abortion services, it must, at least ensure women’s access to safe and timely abortion services in cases of risk to the life or health of the woman or pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. Such an exemption is required by international law and is required by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Kenya signed in 2003. In view of the high number of maternal deaths resulting from abortion complications, the State should protect women’s right to life by ensuring meaningful access to sexual and reproductive health services including information and contraception and commit to address sexual violence and coercion…”
Read the full article, Kenya: New Constitution Must Ensure Rights for All.
Uganda: A Call for an Independent Maternal Health Ministry
“An independent ministry should be set up to handle maternal health, the deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has said.
‘Who is planning for women’s health in this country? Basic things like antibiotics, oxytocins (drugs that help manage bleeding) which cost sh300 and manual vacuum aspirators to remove retained products from the womb are not there,’ she told journalists at a briefing on the state of maternal health on Friday…”
Read the full story, Uganda: Kadaga Wants Independent Maternal Health Ministry.