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Maternal Child and Women's Health Summit

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi: "Maternal deaths simply cannot be allowed."

In August 2009 the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, invited health leaders from all around the country to discuss South Africa's lack of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health.
The findings of three Ministerial Committees on maternal, neonatal and under-five deaths were presented.

The National Committee on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths (NCCEMD)(2005-2007) found that:
  • 1,400 mothers die in the neonatal period every year;
  • There was a 20.1% increase in maternal deaths in comparison with the previous report (2002-2004);
  • HIV was an underlying cause in 23.1% of all deaths;
  • 38.4% of all deaths were clearly avoidable.
The National Perinatal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Committee 2008, found that:
  • 22,000 neonates die each year;
  • 43% of these deaths were 'probably' avoidable.
The Committee on Morbidity and Mortality in Children under Five Years (CoMMiC) found that:
  • 60,000 children die each year;
  • Malnutrition was an underlying cause in 60% of these deaths;
  • HIV was an underlying cause in 50% of these deaths;
  • In each death there were, on average, at least two instances of sub-standard care, either in the home or in health facilities.

Dr Nonhlanhla Dlamini, National Department of Health, makes her point. All three reports made detailed recommendations for reducing maternal and child mortality. Participants then broke into groups to discuss the recommendations and how to implement them.

Read the full meeting report [PDF157KB]

Read the presentations made at the meeting, and other background material

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