FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has observed that unplanned pregnancies among women and girls are resulting into unsafe abortions which are among factors increasing maternal deaths.
Ms Lungu said lack of family planning coupled with little education among women in rural areas was higher than those in the urban, which required awareness campaigns.
In a speech read for her by Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa’s wife, Elizabeth, in Choma yesterday at launch of national Safe Motherhood Week, Ms Lungu called for family planning and expectant mothers to deliver from hospitals.
This year’s commemoration was held under the theme ‘Woman’s dignity begins when Fistula ends’.
“I urge all of you, to have a determined spirit in realising the need to leave our comfort zones and run to deliver quality safe motherhood interventions in our communities,” she said.
Ms Lungu said delays in decision making at community and house levels led to a number of deaths during pregnancies because women also delayed to access health services.
“It has been noted that women only attend antenatal care if they develop complications. Sometimes these complications could be at an advanced stage that health workers are unable to save lives,” she said.
A situation analysis conducted in Zambia showed that about 500 women develop fistula every year and more than 200 women were living with fistula.
In addressing such challenges, Government, was implementing safe motherhood interventions services such as recruiting trained health personnel and providing access to family planning.
United Nations Population Fund country representative Mary Otieno assured of affirmative support to Government to realise the goal of providing quality health services.
Southern Provincial Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu said the national launch of Safe Motherhood in the province should encourage women to access health services from hospitals.