Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) has revealed that at least four women in Zimbabwe are dying everyday while giving birth while the country has recorded a staggering 121 078 deaths in the last 12 months.
The data is based on survey results collected during the 2022 population and housing census.
“A total of 1 589 maternal deaths were reported against 437 478 live births giving a national maternal mortality ratio (MMR) the number of maternal deaths per live birth, multiplied by a conventional factor of 100 000 — of 363 deaths per 100 000,” ZimStat director-general Taguma Mahonde said while presenting the report on mortality and orphanhood.
According to United Nations Population Fund programs specialist Piason Mlambo, the statistics showed that the country was recording an average of four daily deaths during labor.
“Most worrying is that if you try to understand what the MMR figure of 363 deaths per 100 000 means, we have an average of four women who are dying every day while they are giving birth,” Mlambo said.
“From the maternal death surveillance and response programs, we know that the main causes being given are eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) which is largely preventable. Furthermore, MMR was higher in rural areas (402 deaths per 100 000 live births) than in urban areas (298 per 100 000 live births).”
Maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organisation as the death of a woman, while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.
The major causes of maternal mortality include failure to access ante-natal services, a type of preventive health care whereby regular check-ups are provided to prevent potential health services throughout the course of pregnancy.