Jun 27, 2011

South Africa: Midwife shortage impacts maternal health


The Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital (PMMH) in Umlazi, South Africa has demonstrated the significance of midwife-based maternity services on maternal care in the area. However, efforts to implement this model elsewhere have been thwarted by a national dearth of these specialist health workers. PMMH, one of the busiest maternity wards in the nation with more than 1,200 deliveries a month and staff strength of 123 midwives and 15 physicians, has managed to reduce both infant and maternal mortality rates and keep the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV below 3 percent. In a country where pregnancy or childbirth-related deaths have doubled in the past two decades, this unique success story underlines the importance of task-shifting and training of additional health workers in reducing maternal mortality, two key elements of LFM's strategy. The hospital's integration of HIV services into maternal health care highlights the potential for lowering new HIV/AIDS infections through targeting women during pregnancy. Read the full article here.

Did you know?

In Africa and South Asia, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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