Almost 5 000 women died while pregnant or within 42 days of giving birth in South Africa between 2008 and 2010, more than in any of the previous years.
This is according to the Saving Mothers report that summarises findings on the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths in South Africa between 2008 to 2010.
The “big 5” accounted for 86.5% of maternal deaths – Non Pregnancy Related Infections (NPRI) at 40.5% was by far the biggest factor.
The majority of these NPRI conditions were diagnosed before birth (59.7%), but the majority of deaths occurred after the births (60.6%).
Saving Mothers 2008-2010: Fifth report on the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths in South Africa
The report covers the maternal deaths that were reported to the NCCEMD secretariat by 15th April 2011, and that occurred in the triennium 2008-2010. The same definitions used in previous Saving Mothers reports were used in this report.
Health officials in sub-Saharan Africa are finally focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, having spent much of the past decade concentrating on HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The growth of NCDs in developing countries has gone almost unnoticed, having been largely perceived as a problem affecting affluent countries. But NCDs have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death worldwide, with nearly 80 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Maternal mortality – The global picture
The death of a woman who leaves behind a young family has devastating consequences for these survivors, with increased chances of disadvantage, illness and premature death, especially in poorer societies. Maternal death (death during pregnancy or less than 42 days after the end of a pregnancy) is also the outcome measure that causes serious concern to public health authorities and maternity care clinicians. No health outcome shows such large discrepancies between rich and poor nations. The most recent reliable figures show more than hundred-fold differences in maternal mortality ratios (MMR – deaths per 100 000 live births).
|These sentiments opened a discussion that included attempts to define "minor ailments", how to deal with the problems of excessive workload and the lack of staff at clinics.|
Definition of "minor ailments"