BUJUMBURA November 29th (ABP) – The maternal and neonatal mortality rate is currently reduced compared to previous years, according to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, Dr Olivier Nijimbere, during a discussion meeting, organized Monday, November 27, 2023, by the said ministry, on the quality of maternal and perinatal care, including family planning, in the immediate postpartum period in hospitals.
Indeed, Mr. Nijimbere indicated that maternal mortality remains a major challenge even if some remarkable progress has been made. The maternal mortality rate increased from 500 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010 and to 334 in 2016, currently, maternal deaths are at 299 per 100,000 live births.
According to him, in terms of family planning, the rate of use of contraceptive methods increased from 2.7% in 2000 to 33.8% in 2022, adding that the unmet need for family planning remains very high and that the percentage of women who give birth and leave the health facility with modern contraception remains very low.
To avoid complications or premature deaths among pregnant women and infants, Mr. Nijimbere added that health personnel must redouble a lot of efforts and improve the quality of care because the latter is a key element that encompasses several aspects notably the competence of health professionals, the use of protocols and practices based on scientific evidence.
He further reported that by 2030, the goal is to have a ratio of less than 140 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and a neonatal mortality rate of less than 12 per 1000 live births.
To achieve that, he stressed that we must inspire each other and collaborate to implement effective strategies that will improve the quality of maternal and neonatal care across the country.
During the discussions, the participants noted certain challenges that doctors encounter during childbirth for women. They noted, among other things, the overload of providers following a high number of women giving birth, exceeding the reception capacity in terms of equipment, infrastructure and human resources, for example some hospitals have only one operating table, a single operating room, a single anesthesia machine, insufficient essential equipment, lack of tables and resuscitation kits for newborns, etc.
They recommended that Burundian women limit births, using contraceptive methods to space births and to avoid accidental mortality. They did not fail to ask the government to recruit midwives in maternity wards which record a lot of deliveries and to make the necessary equipment available in the various hospitals.