This Article was put out today by Ruetgers:
BRAZZAVILLE, 5 August 2008 (IRIN) – Maternal and infant mortality rates in the Republic of Congo have remained worryingly high despite measures to reduce them, a senior government official said.
“The situation is still worrying,” Emilienne Raoul, the minister of health and social affairs, said on 3 August in the capital, Brazzaville. “We will continue with efforts aimed at reversing this level of maternal mortality.”
Some 510 women out of every 100,000 die during childbirth in the Congo, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). “The fight to lower maternal and infant mortality will remain a preoccupation in the coming years,” the minister added.
At least 86.2 percent of the deliveries in the Congo are supervised by skilled health personnel, but maternal mortality remains high. “While maternal mortality fell from 890 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 … the government feels this is still too high, as are infant and childhood mortality rates,” UNFPA said.
The high number of deaths is attributed, among other factors, to the lack of community training on safe maternal and neo-natal care, poor quality of care and post-partum depression.
There is also a lack of sufficient equipment and medical personnel in health centres, coupled with low-quality care during obstetric operations.
So far, the government has adopted two national health plans to reduce maternal, neo-natal and infant-related deaths.