Govt’s priority is to improve maternal health

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-Improving the health status of mothers and children is one of the important priorities for the Namibian government, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Loide Amkongo, the officer in charge at UNFPA Namibia, said on Saturday that the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well as various Namibian health training institutions have been facilitating emergency obstetric and neonatal care and life-saving skills training for midwives and student midwives, in order to improve maternal and child health.

“Preventing maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities and empowering women to make informed, healthy choices and exercise their rights is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Amkongo, who spoke at the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife.

Amkongo said this can be done by expanding midwifery programmes, maintaining the highest global standards and promoting an enabling environment for midwives to effectively serve the needs of women and their families.

“On this day, UNFPA applauds governments, institutions of higher learning and IMANA for the commitment to ensure the work of midwives is acknowledged, and let us join efforts in supporting midwives so that more women survive and they, their families and communities thrive,” said Amkongo.

The day was organised by the Independent Midwives Association of Namibia (IMANA) and was commemorated under the theme ‘Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life’.
Amkongo said midwives save lives, support and promote healthy families. She added that midwives empower women and couples to choose whether, when and how often to have children.

“They also help avert sexually transmitted infections and prevent disabilities like obstetric fistula, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and female genital mutilation.”

The midwives who attended the event were encouraged to remain faithful to their calling. Various speakers spoke on challenges in the health sector and how midwives are affected by the health system.

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