ZIMBABWE’S maternal mortality rate dropped to 462 per 100 000 live births from the previous 614 per 100 000 live births recorded in 2014, the latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2019 found.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Maternal mortality ratio is the number of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth, per 100,000 live births. The data are estimated with a regression model using information on fertility, birth attendants, and HIV prevalence.
UNICEF Zimbabwe Country Representative Laylee Moshiri said this was the third MICS for Zimbabwe with the first and second done in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
She said the government should improve the livelihoods of people to avoid derailing the gains made. Moshiri said through collaborative efforts of government and development partners, maternal and child mortality rates have been reduced.
“As the results have shown as presented by the technical team, there are areas which the country has made tremendous progress. For instance due to the collaborative efforts of government and development partners, the country has registered great improvement in the areas of maternal and child health with maternal mortality rate having dropped form a high of 614 per 100 000 live births in 2014 to 462 in 2019. This is a decrease of 24 percent. This is a major achievement and I think we should all be proud,” she said.
Health and Child Care Ministry Monitoring and Evaluation Director Dr Rugare Kangwende said the new figures will help them plan for the next national health strategy.
“For us who implement government programs, we need to implement where we are and it helps to plan where to go next. We are coming to the end of our current national health strategy which is running up to 2020 so by early 2020 we should have come up with the next national health strategy. The five year plan or 10 year,” she said.
She said they have been using the 2017 demographic details which they felt were not as accurate.
“Recently we did an evaluation of our national health strategy and we left big gaps like for maternal mortality ratio we used the inter-centile demographic survey which was 2017 and we were giving ourselves 527 or something like that. For me it’s so exciting to note that the actual maternal mortality has gone down from 651 to 462 in the last couple of years. Its really exciting for us and it helps us plan. For us it’s just one of the example. The child health indicators have gone down and it gets us thinking on what to do next. Right now we are developing the health sector investment case and it helps us to have current data,” she said.