New Ambulances to Improve Maternal Services

The North West Department of Health has bought 10 well equipped obstetric ambulances, which will be used to transport high risk pregnant women to health care facilities.

The ambulances, which cost R5.9 million, are expected to be procured within the 201415 financial year.

The procurement of ambulances follows the launch of the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in May 2012. At the time, he recommended, among other things, the procurement of obstetric ambulances in response to MDG 5: reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health. Despite challenges, the North West Health Department has made some progress. The provincial maternal mortality rate has decreased from 229 per 100 000 live births in 2008 to 145100 000 live births in 2011. The province had also seen a decrease in the infant mortality rate, from 40 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2009, to 30 deaths per 1 000 live births in the same reporting period. The figures are expected to decline drastically following the establishment of 16 maternity waiting homes, to bring pregnant women closer to birthing places two weeks prior to delivery. Maternity waiting homes cater for pregnant women with complications or those that are far from health care facilities.

Health MEC Dr Magome Masike will unveil the ambulances in Rustenburg on Wednesday.

The event will coincide with a two-day Provincial Health Consultative Forum to be attended by health stakeholders in the province.

The aim of the forum is to involve both internal and external stakeholders to participate and aise the department on its policies and programmes targeted at improving the provision of health care services.

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