The Ministry of Health in Zambia has reported a substantial improvement in maternal health, noting a notable reduction in home deliveries from 2021 to 2023. This achievement is credited to a range of targeted interventions and collaborative initiatives implemented within communities.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, MP, revealed that the number of home deliveries has steadily decreased from 790 in 2021 to 467 in 2023. This positive shift underscores the effectiveness of engagement initiatives with political, civic, traditional, religious, and community leaders, alongside the increased deployment of trained community-based volunteers and health assistants advocating safe motherhood practices.
One of the key indicators of improved maternal health is the surge in the number of pregnant women attending their first antenatal care appointment in the first three months of pregnancy.
Minister Masebo highlighted a significant increase from 31% in 2022 to an impressive 61% in 2023. Early antenatal care plays a crucial role in detecting potential complications, promoting healthier pregnancies, and ensuring better outcomes for both mothers and infants.
The Ministry of Health’s commitment to accessibility and quality healthcare services is further underscored by the procurement of blood safety commodities through ZAMMSA for all ten provincial centers in 2023. This initiative aims to guarantee the availability of safe blood transfusion services, especially for mothers giving birth and patients undergoing treatment for conditions like cancer.
Ms. Masebo emphasized the ministry’s dedication to innovation and efficiency, noting the expansion and deployment of automated integrated technologies in provincial blood centers. The extension of therapeutic Red Cell Exchange Services to all equipped provincial centers is a notable step forward in addressing conditions such as Sickle Cell disease and other immunological disorders.
In a bid to enhance reproductive health services for adolescents and young people, over 1700 healthcare workers received training in adolescent health, and more than 1500 young individuals attended the Youth INDABAS organized by the Ministry of Health.
These strategic meetings with community leaders and healthcare managers are designed to curb teenage pregnancies and improve access to vital reproductive health services for the youth.
Minister Masebo further noted that, the Ministry aims to extend these indabas to all 116 districts, continuing the momentum towards comprehensive maternal health and further reducing pregnancy-related risks for women across the country.