Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – With over 6 000 pregnant women flocking  into the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital to deliver their babies, concerns have been raised about the high maternal mortality rate at the health institution.

Members of Parliament (MPs) recently called for the improvement of other clinics across the country to ease the pressure of pregnant women flocking to the RFM Hospital. This was raised by MPs during the Ministry of Health annual report debate, which was held in Parliament two weeks ago. Manzini Region MP Busisiwe Mavimbela, while making her submissions on managing health conditions on maternal mortality, said there was a serious concern regarding the high number of women who die while giving birth.


“I heard that the minister has said the number of women dying while giving birth had decreased but we need to put more effort so that we don’t lose more women,” said Mavimbela.
She said the RFM Hospital had been cited to be having the highest maternal mortality rate. She then posed a question to the Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, to find out the efforts put in place to try and assist the hospital in managing the maternal mortality. “I don’t want to delve much into the issue. I have been to RFM Hospital and I know what I am talking about. May there be quick help provided to the hospital, more especially on weekends,” said the MP.

In response, Minister Nkosi said being at the centre of the country was what led many people to visit the hospital. “There is a high number of pregnant women who come to RFM in a state of emergency, because it is in the centre of the country. These are the women who end up passing away while giving birth,” she said. Nkosi said they were engaging RFM Hospital in ensuring that the number of women who died while giving birth was a thing of the past. “We hope that RFM will reach a stage in the future of ensuring that no woman dies while giving birth. We also need to engage them in some of the challenges they face,” she said. In a period of four years, 45 women out of 25 551 deliveries died while giving birth at RFM Hospital. This was revealed by the hospital’s Matron, Sandile Malaza, last Friday in an interview while breaking down the maternal mortality statistic for the past four years.


Malaza said it was true that the number of maternal mortality was high between 2019 to 2022, in comparison with the number of deliveries in each year. “In 2019, four women out of 5 780 who gave birth died. About 10 women out of 6 079 deliveries died in 2020. Out of 6 712 women who gave birth in 2021, 16 of them died while giving birth. Last year alone, out 6 980 deliveries, 15 of them passed on,” said Malaza.He said there was an increase in the number of maternal mortality within the period of four years. “The increase in maternal mortality is a concern as it is at its peak. However, we may not know the main cause of the increase. Government conducts an investigation once discovering that a woman has died while giving birth. We usually submit all the files to government to find out the root cause of that maternal mortality case. There are so many reasons that can lead to death, which could be complications during delivery, our negligence or those who gave birth at home,” Malaza said. RFM Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Benjamin Simelane, said maternal mortality was a serious concern as it formed part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number three, which speaks about good health and well-being for all.


He further stated that there had been an increase also in the number of women giving birth before arrival (BBA) between 2019 to 2022. When unpacking the above statistics of women  giving birth before arrival, Acting Director of Health Services Dr Velephi Okello said the issue of BBA was of serious concern and dangerous to pregnant women. She said most of these women never took the initiative of coming to hospital on time to seek medical attention.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Lutsango
Should Lutsango be included in bandlancane and traditional courts?