Namibia’s first lady Penehupifo Pohamba said the country still lags behind in maternal health and meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be in doubt.
Madam Pohamba made the statement on Wednesday during the groundbreaking ceremony for a maternity waiting home in the eastern city of Gobabis, some 150 kilometers from the capital Windhoek.
The maternity waiting home is a joint project undertaken by the country’s ministry of health, the European Union, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Program for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PARMaCM).
The PARMaCM was launched in February 2013 by the first lady, with a budget of about 132 million Namibian dollars (11 million U. S. dollars).
“Maternity waiting homes are a proven strategy by the WHO to help reduce mother and newborn morbidity and mortality in rural area,” she said.
She said Namibia is yet to realize two key millennium goals, which are about reducing child mortality and improving maternal health respectively.
Recent statistics from PARMaCM show infant mortality rate in Namibia stands at 39 deaths per 1,000 births for 2010 to 2014, while maternal mortality rate is 385 deaths per 100,000 births.
The MDGs for this year seek to reduce the infant mortality rate to 19 deaths per 1,000 births and the maternal mortality rate to 56 deaths per 100,000 births.
The first lady said the country’s poor performance in maternal health is a result of inadequate facilities for expecting mothers. Enditem