Ongwediva-First Lady Monica Geingos has encouraged women to plan their pregnancies as a tool to eradicate poverty.
Through a demonstration at the Safe Motherhood Campaign (SMC) event at Outapi over the weekend, Geingos said fewer children are easier to support than a handful, especially for economically struggling mothers.
Speaking from first-hand experience as a teenage mother, the first lady also encouraged society to support pregnant women, especially those whose babies are unplanned.
“We must be conscious of when we have children and how many children we want to have. For some of us who do not plan our babies it is not a happy time at all. So we need all the support we can get,” said Geingos.
SMC is an annual event organised by Ongwediva Medipark and the Office of the First Lady to sensitise expectant mothers on their health and that of their unborn children in order to improve pregnancy outcomes.
When the event first kicked off at Medipark last year, 250 mothers were screened with over 60 percent of mothers detected to have significantly low levels of haemoglobin in their blood, which results in anaemia.
Managing director at Ongwediva Medipark Tshali Iithete noted that although there has been an improvement in infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, much still needs to be done.
Iithete said there is a serious concern of high incidences of babies born with low birth weight (2.5kg).
Geingos also encouraged mothers to refrain from baby dumping and instead hand their unwanted babies to the authorities to find them mothers. She said there are women who cannot conceive but are desperate to have a baby.
Iithete encouraged the private sector to partner with the government to provide further efficiency in the delivery of care and services.
“We see ourselves as a ‘turbo’ in the overall engine to propel and realize the implementation of our national development goals,” said Iithete.
The screening of SMC took place at the Outapi Regional Hall on Saturday.
• Additional reporting by Don Kaimbi, senior information officer and regional head for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Omusati.