Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu says the district has continued to perform below par in maternal health as a result of mothers not seeking health services.
Mr. Kalunga said the district has already recorded six maternal deaths this year saying the majority of which occurred in health facilities.
The DC was speaking during a traditional leaders’ meeting on maternal health in Chipata today.
‘’Regrettably, Chipata District has continued to perform below par in maternal health due to low demand for antenatal coverage which was at 83 percent in 2017 and has remained below 90 percent of the national target while institutional deliveries is stagnant at 73 percent,’’ he said.
Mr. Zulu however said in an effort to address the problem, the Ministry of Health has since organized a meeting for Chiefs in Chipata to develop strategies on how to increase demand for reproductive health services.
He stated that the role of traditional leaders in the development of the nation is cardinal if the number of maternal deaths were to reduce.
Mr. Zulu said traditional leaders are key stakeholders in national development hence their attendance in such important meetings will help improve the health of mothers and children since they are closer to the people.
He further said there is need for continuous sensitization of so that people can take advantage and utilize the health services that government has brought closer to them.
The District Commissioner said so far 600 Community Volunteers such as Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs) and 300 Neighbourhood Health Committees (NHCs) who are actively involved in mobilization of the local community members have been trained with regard to encouraging people to seek health services.
Mr. Zulu also said government is committed to closing the staffing gap in the Ministry of health as it intends to recruit 1,000 health personnel.
Out of the number recruited last year, the district received 39 health workers to add to the existing 88 workers.
And speaking earlier, Chipata District Heath Director, Charles Fanaka said the meeting was aimed at engaging traditional leaders towards improving maternal health in the district.