Neonatal mortality rate reduced from 32 to 20 deaths per 1000 births
Namibia has managed to tone down its neonatal mortality rate from 32/1000 live births in 2000 to the current figure of 20/1000 live births, the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), Esther Muinjangue said this week.
Despite the reduction, it is estimated that 54% of newborn deaths are attributed to Preterm birth and low birth weight.
Speaking at the commemoration of World Premature Day, Muinjangue said this number is still too high.
“The premature infants who do survive may potentially face a lifetime of disability or chronic illness. Premature babies are extremely sensitive and require the utmost dedication in their care and support during the neonatal period as their brain, lungs, heart, eyes, ears, and stomach is not mature to adequately deal with life outside the womb,” she said.
“The Office of the President has committed itself to improved outcomes for mother and child health and as a ministry, together with our instrumental partners such as the WHO and UNICEF, we have developed strategies with clear targets for the period 2017 to 2022, to improve the health of mothers, children and adolescents,” she said.
Namibia through the ministry subsidizes the training and studies of Midwives at international universities for a postgraduate qualification in Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science as well as Postgraduate diplomas specializing in pediatric nursing, increasing the number of child specialist nurses in the country, she said.
According to Muinjangue, the ministry will also continue to improve family planning coverage to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and in so doing reduce the number of unsafe abortions which add to the number of babies born too soon.