Transferring specialised skills will reduce maternal mortality in Limpopo, says MEC

Limpopo Maternal Mortality Prevention
Limpopo is aiming for zero avoidable deaths during pregnancy and labour. (Freestocks/Unsplash)

Health authorities in Limpopo believe they are closer to lowering the maternal mortality rate in the province. A skills transfer programme is underway in the province to help prevent avoidable deaths during labour.

MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba is leading the specialist outreach programme under the theme  Rural Health Matters. The programme brings together specialists in reproductive medicine, urogynaecology and orthopaedics, among others, to share their skills with health workers in district facilities in the Mopani region.

“What we doing its quite touching to my heart…there is a skills transfer, where medical officers in district hospitals, in rural hospitals are now beginning to be confident to perform whether its total abdominal hysterectomy or it’s a partial one,” says Ramathuba. “What is exciting me is that it is one of the ways that we are going to reduce maternal death in our province because we have noted that the number cause of maternal death is the PPH [Postpartum haemorrhage].”

The programme visited the Letaba, Dr. C. N. Phatudi, Van Velden and Kgapane hospitals. The MEC hopes it will reduce the skills gap and expose the specialists to the entire province.

Decreasing maternal mortality

The MEC highlighted the increased number of health workers who can now perform total or partial hysterectomies. This would not only assist women diagnosed with myomas, fibroids or tumours but also help in treating cervical and uterine or endometrial cancer.

The skills transfer also means that women will not have to travel long distances to be seen by a specialist.

“Some of these women die while they are en-route to referral hospital to be seen by the gynaecologist,” says Ramathuba.

Ramathuba aims to have an anaesthesiologist and medical officers who can perform a hysterectomy in every hospital in the province.

“If we can achieve that I can tell you we will reduce maternal death in this province and actually [strive] towards zero avoidable maternal deaths,” she says. “That is dream that I have always had since I was appointed.”

Across South Africa, the pregnancy related mortality ratio was 536 pregnancy-related deaths per 100 000 live births, according to 2016 data collected by Statistics South Africa over a seven-year period. For every 1000 live births, roughly five women died during pregnancy or within 2 months, according to Stats SA’s Demographic Health Survey. During that period, Limpopo has made significant progress in increasing the number of births in a hospital. – Health-e News


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