THE number of maternal deaths per live births, multiplied by a conventional factor of 100,000, also known as Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), has declined to 363 per 100,000 live births in births in Zimbabwe.
By Michael Gwarisa
This indicates a 6% decline from the previous 2012 MMR ratio of 525. Presenting Preliminary Findings on Mortality from the 2022 Population and Housing Census, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) Director General, Dr Taguma Mahonde said, “It should be noted that maternal deaths were reported by households and not by place of occurrence. A total of 1,589 maternal deaths were reported against 437,478 live births giving a national Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 363 per 100,000 live births. Maternal Mortality Ratio was 425 for Midlands province and 293 for Mashonaland Central province.”
Maternal Mortality Ratio was higher in rural areas (402 per 100,000 live births) than in urban areas (298 per 100,000 live births).
Pison Mlambo, the Program Specialist for UNFPA said the decline in the maternal mortality ration was commendable though there is need to disaggregate data according to age groups.
“We also look at the age disaggregation of Maternal Deaths. Why I say so is because if you look at the 2012 data, we gathered that while Maternal Mortality Ratio was declining between 2006 to 2012, that decline was not the same from across all age groups. There were certain age groups where the decline was not as much and this was among our teenagers and young people aged 15 and 24,” said Mr Mlambo.
“If we look at Maternal Mortality Ratio according to census data overtime, we note that it picked in 2002 at 1068 maternal deaths per 100, 000 births. Since then, we have seen a steep decline because from 2002 to 2012, the Maternal Mortality Ration declined to 525 Maternal Deaths per 100,000 live births. Now, results which have been presented show that it has further declined to 363 Maternal Deaths per 100,000 indicating a 6 percent decline in Maternal Mortality Ratio.”
Meanwhile, the chances of a woman dying from maternal causes over the course of her 35-year reproductive life span in Zimbabwe also known as Life Time Risk (LTR) currently stands at 14.6 deaths per 100,000 with indications that chances of women dying from maternal complications are higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. It was 18.2 deaths per 1000 women for Midlands province and 17.3 deaths per 1,000 women for Manicaland province.