Few pregnant women seek maternal health services – minister

One of the main challenges related to  maternal health in Rwanda is the fact that many pregnant women delay to seek antenatal services from health care facilities.
Dr Asiimwe speaks at the conference yesterday. The New Times, John Mbanda.
Dr Asiimwe speaks at the conference yesterday. The New Times, John Mbanda.

One of the main challenges related to  maternal health in Rwanda is the fact that many pregnant women delay to seek antenatal services from health care facilities.

This, according to Dr Anita Asiimwe, the State Minister in-charge of Public Health and Primary Healthcare, leads to death because even after seeing signs of complications, some women ignore visits to health centres.

She was speaking during the first annual scientific conference organised by the Rwanda Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists yesterday.

“Although a lot has been achieved in Rwanda with regard to maternal health, we are still not content with the current maternal mortality rate; it remains very high,” she said.

In 2010, it was estimated that 487/100, 000 women still die during pregnancy and delivery. This number is still high and we should work towards overcoming this.

The meeting was organised under the theme “Saving mothers giving birth.”

Dr Asiimwe noted that even if traditional medicine had done a great job, there was still need to educate women and have them receive better services from proper health facilities.

If pregnant mothers are asked to go to health facilities and they don’t receive the services they are promised, then they are being discouraged which is where medics come in, according to Dr Asiimwe.

About 67 per cent of child mortalit  happen during the neonatal period,  according to the minister, who urged obstetrics and gynaecologists in the country to carry out outreaches in areas without health providers.

 “We still have a few gynaecologists but we can carry out outreaches even with limited number and work with midwives at health centres,” she added.

Dr Eugene Ngoga, the president of the Rwanda Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, said that there are only 30 specialists in Rwanda which constitutes a huge challenge.

He, however, stated that 30 others are currently undergoing training and are expected to complete next year.

According to Ngoga, at least 10 per cent of pregnant women have gynaecological problems such as bleeding and high levels of sugar which all lead to high risk pregnancies.

“Women should, therefore, go for check up and antenatal care from time to time in order to avoid complications during pregnancy,” he advised.

He  urged pregnant women to utilise services of their gynaecologists at proper health facilities.

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