Pregnant, rural women to benefit from NHI

2012-04-06 13:52

Pregnant women living in rural KwaZulu-Natal will soon be able to deliver their babies in properly equipped obstetric units without having to travel through the mountains for hours.

The 18 units, which will be introduced as part of the National Health Insurance (NHI) roll-out, will be built in three provincial districts that will pilot the government scheme.

Dr Victoria Mubaiwa, the department’s manager for maternal and child health, said: “The intervention is in line with the vision of the NHI which aims to reduce maternal and child mortality, HIV and strengthen the primary health system among other things.”

KwaZulu-Natal has the highest HIV prevalence among pregnant women and the highest maternal mortality in South Africa. Last year, 323 women died because of pregnancy or childbirth-related complications.

Although this number was down compared to 2010, head of the health department, Dr Sibongile Zungu, said: “It is way too high.

“Most of the women who die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth-related complications could be saved if healthcare facilities were closer to home. We are hoping that by opening these 24-hour units we will (bring) some change.”

» For a full report on other interventions planned for KwaZulu-Natal as part of the NHI pilot, read City Press on Sunday

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