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  • Writer's pictureOmar A.J Saho

Commentary: Maternal mortality

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

No women should die in pregnancy and during childbirth.

The efficiency of a government, its healthcare system, and level of development of development can tell a lot on how it protects the health of pregnant women and infants, among others. Maternal and infant mortality is a major development challenge in many parts of the world.

From personal observation about reported rise in cases of maternal mortality in the Gambia over the past couple of years are really worrying and should be a cause for concern for everyone. We need all hands on the dest to address this issue. We don't need to wait until the numbers started skyrocketing until it become a nation emergency. Swift policy intervention is needed now...

It is high time for the country and its development partners to swiftly think of how to:

1. Improve the quality of health care services for pregnant women in the Gambia during delivery/labor and after childbirth.

2. Effective effort and resources are needed to strengthened the healthcare system and administration in all referral hospitals and community health centers across the country to respond to the needs and priorities of pregnant women and infants.

3. Government need to address the issue of delays in starting the decision-making process at hospitals and community health centers during life-threatening moments.

4. Government need to improve the issue of transportation (ambulances) service across the country, by ensuring that hospitals get equipped ambulances and emergency medical teams on standby at all time 24/7.

5. Resources need to be mobilized, and sensitization campaigns mounted to encourage citizens to donate blood that can be used to save lives in events of hemorrhage.

6. Government in collaboration with CSOs, and CBOs need to promote community awareness program to build the capacity of pregnant women and their husband, and traditional leaders to actively engage with health professionals to spread the importance of prenatal and postnatal care.

- Sensitization of pregnant women and young girls, in particular those without access to much formal education, is key to their survival and that of their child.

7. The government need also look at the prospect of increasing national budget allocations for maternal and newborn health and for services that impact maternal health. Thus promoting innovative financing reforms to decrease economic barriers to the use of maternal health services and up-scaling training programs for healthcare professional is very essential to potentially address the challenge we are facing.

8. The pay scale and motivation of healthcare workers needs to be reevaluated and readjusted.

Editor's note:

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