1 519 negligent maternal deaths in 3 years

2012-03-10 16:15

A critical shortage of doctors and nurses trained to deal with childbirth emergencies, and others who ignore standard treatment protocols, meant that 1 519 women died needlessly.

This shocking revelation is contained in the Department of Health’s latest report, called Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in SA, which also found that 4?077 women died of pregnancy-related complications between 2005 and 2007.

Four in 10 of the women who died should have lived because the health workers who attended to them failed to follow standard protocols, including attending to them early and referring them to specialist hospitals.

The report’s findings also revealed that four out of every five women who died due to excessive bleeding after childbirth would have lived if they had been transferred from clinics to hospitals.

Almost half the women who died of pregnancy-related high blood pressure could have lived had their conditions been diagnosed early and their delivery times managed correctly – and this was in spite of the large number of women with the condition attending antenatal classes.

Penina Ochola, country director for the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) in South Africa, said: “It’s a shame that women still die unnecessarily in a country where more than 90% of pregnant women attend antenatal classes and are helped to give birth by nurses.

“Hypertension is preventable and manageable if a pregnant mother reports in early for antenatal check-ups. If quality care is provided at the clinics these deaths can be reduced. Our nurses and obstetricians should be given refresher training to improve skills in diagnostic and management of hypertension during pregnancy,” she said.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi acknowledged that a critical shortage of gynaecologists and specialist midwives at district level contributed to the country’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rate.

The latest official statistics show that the maternal mortality rate almost doubled in the last decade. Statistics jumped from 369 in 2001 to 625 per 100 000 women last year.

Although Motsoaledi blamed HIV and Aids for the increase, he said, “early detection of the problem and referral needs to be improved at our clinics and district hospitals”.

The assessors involved in the confidential inquiry agreed with Motsoaledi, and also expressed concern about the deaths of women at district hospitals and clinics due to high blood pressure complications and uncontrolled bleeding. Nearly seven out of 10 of avoidable deaths of women in these institutions were found to be related to poor diagnosis, delayed referral and sub-standard management.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.