MATERNAL deaths in Zimbabwe remain high with eight women said to be dying everyday while giving birth due to the poor state of the country’s healthcare system.

This was revealed at an event to handover ambulances worth US$1 million donated by the Japanese government to the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) recently.

United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) representative in Zimbabwe, Ester Muia said the number of women dying giving birth remained “unacceptably” high.

“Ending the deaths of women while giving life is key to our mandate at the United Nations Population Fund as we believe that no woman should die while giving birth. Although we have seen signs of decline, the number of women dying while giving birth remains unacceptably high in Zimbabwe. We have at least eight women dying daily and this is a serious crisis,” Muia said.

Currently, Zimbabwe has a maternal mortality rate of 462 deaths per 100 000 and many of these deaths are attributed to deliveries without skilled medical personnel in attendance, and lack of equipment. She said the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the crisis by further straining an already weakened health

“Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis caused by multiple factors, including recurring droughts and a dire economic situation. COVID-19 has exacerbated this crisis by further straining an already weakened health system, particularly on maternal health, negatively impacting on the achievements of universal health coverage. The country has an acceptably high maternal mortality rate, a number which is expected to have risen due to COVID-19,” she said.

The support from Japan was made under the strengthening Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in COVID-19 Hotspots Programme.

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