This was revealed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi yesterday (1 Aug) at the International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa.

In 2012, 72 women died in the province as a result of childbirth whereas 122 women had died in 2011.

“This improvement is due to a multitude of factors, but the chief factor is the improved inter-facility transfer of maternity cases,” said Motsoaledi.

The province was able to transport women who went into distress during labour from clinics to hospitals faster than in the past as it assigned 18 ambulances solely to transport maternity cases.

In 2011, 67 women died in transit to a more specialised health facility but last year only 28 women died.

“The Free State has managed to reduce the time taken from a critical incident occurring and the pregnant women receiving appropriate care at the appropriate level resulting a large reduction in maternal deaths,” said Motsoaledi, who praised the provincial health department for “excellent leadership and management”.

The health department’s key priority is to reduce maternal anc child deaths, which have worsened since 1994. – Health-e News Service.