PREPARATIONS to the 31st International Conference of Midwives (ICM) to be held from 18 to 22 June in Toronto, Canada are at an advanced stage as the world intensifies efforts to reduce maternal related deaths.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 830 women die every everyday due to pregnancy related complications in developing countries.
In a statement, Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) Director Kogi Agraal said most of the causes of the death were preventable but lack of information and effective interventions were to blame.
“Every day, approximately 830 women die needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth from preventable causes, nearly all of them in developing countries. These women don’t die because effective interventions don’t exist; they die because these interventions don’t reach them.
“We know that skilled care – before during and after childbirth – saves maternal and newborn lives. Despite this, millions of women will give birth this year without trained assistance, many of them entirely alone,” Agraal.
An estimated 3,000 women die every year in Zimbabwe during childbirth and at least 1.23 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is lost annually due to maternal complications, according to Maternal Mortality in Zimbabwe, a United Nations issue paper released in 2013.
According to the United Nations, mortality worsened by 28 percent between 1990 and 2010. The major causes were bacterial infection, uterine rupture (scar from a previous caesarean section tearing during an attempt at birth), renal and cardiac failure, as well as hyperemesis gravidarum (condition characterised by severe nausea, vomiting and weight loss during pregnancy).
In 2017, two years after the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have come to a close, major improvements in maternal health and reductions in newborn mortality and morbidity have been made.
According to ICM, there is much evidence to show that both midwifery personnel and services remain unequally distributed between countries as well as within countries.
“The ICM 31st Triennial Congress will present a new agenda and challenges, beyond the MDGs, for governments, health ministers, policy makers and local champions – but most of all for front line midwifery service providers and ICM partners who are committed to strengthening midwifery around the world.”