KEETMANSHOOP – The health directorate in the //Karas Region recorded no maternal deaths in the past year, despite a grave lack of specialised staff and cases of premature labour caused by the long distances to hospitals and other health centres.
Acting //Karas health director, Dr Job Ndile said this on Thursday during a courtesy visit by the Deputy Minister of Health Petrina Haingura. Ndile explained that even though the region had a very low rate of maternal mortality in the past many patients failed to seek neonatal care when they experienced health problems. He further noted that nurses in the region were trained in various skills including life saving skills, which have put them in a position to cut down on the mortality rate of babies and mothers. “We have a regional committee on maternal deaths and we gather statistics on a monthly basis and review it to look at whether any newborn baby was born dead and what contributed to such deaths. When no deaths have occurred we look at the factors that could have played a role. Our staff needs to be aware of the dangers, we are trained but some are slow,” he noted. He added that negligence is not always the culprit when babies die, but that a whole host of issues contribute to the stillbirth of babies. “It is not really negligence, but sometimes skilled nurses are trained but they still lack certain important skills such as life saving skills.
Then we have an issue with equipment shortages even though we try as much to prioritise our equipment for the maternity ward,” he said. Ndile also pointed out that they have been waiting for ambulances for almost five years now. “We have nurses who buy the blood pressure machines out of their own pockets. We cannot maintain the existing equipment, let us buy and let people work,” he added.
By Jemima Beukes