Hope for expecting mothers
The Programme to Accelerate the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Namibia (PARMaCM), is providing amongst other things, maternity waiting homes in Ohangwena Region, which are almost complete, and in the Omusati, Zambezi and Kunene Regions, which are scheduled for completion during 2015. The design and construction schedule of the maternity waiting homes was agreed with the Namibian Government following broad consultation with Namibian stakeholders. Without suitable prenatal accommodation options, women from rural areas in particular, all to often elect not to come to maternity wards to give birth, or only do so once complications have set in.
Although Namibia is on track to reach most of the targets set for other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), on MDG 4 (Reduce Child Mortality) and MDG 5 (Improve Maternal Health), Namibia is behind target. From 2010 to 2014, the infant mortality rate was 39 deaths per 1000 births, including 20 neonatal deaths and the target for MDG 2015 is 19. The maternal mortality rate was 358 deaths per 100,000 births and the MDG target for 2015 is 56. Major contributing factors include inadequate antenatal care, no health care at births especially for first time mothers, and late arrivals at maternity facilities, often only after complications have set in. At maternity waiting homes, expecting mothers will receive antenatal care, monitoring in a safe environment and timely transfer to the maternity ward. This care is accompanied by information on post-natal care and immunization. First Lady Madame Penehupifo Pohamba broke ground last year for the construction of the first maternity waiting home in the Okongo district in the Ohangwena Region. This facility is now almost complete and will accommodate up to 80 pregnant women The construction of the maternity waiting homes is a joint partnership between PARMaCM, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the European Union and the World Health Organization.