'Too many moms, kids are dying'

The number of mothers, infants and children dying is on the increase in South Africa. This despite interventions by the health department to limit the high number of deaths.

In a health report released yesterday, entitled Every Death Counts, it is indicated that 95000 lives are lost each year from maternal and neonatal deaths. Half of these deaths are babies who are stillborn - or die before they reach one month of age.

In regard to maternal deaths, pregnancy and childbirth complications were identified as the key factors.

In infants and children, malnutrition, HIV-Aids, newborn and childhood illnesses were identified as the chief causes.

Chairman of the Confidential Inquiry into Maternal Deaths in SA, Jack Moodley, said that many of these lives could have been saved.

"Mothers must be encouraged to attend antenatal classes in order to reduce maternal deaths. If expectant mothers visited clinics and hospitals in their early stages, progress could been seen in curbing maternal deaths."

Mark Patrick, a paediatrician, said: "We need to have a system in place to deal with mortality in children.

"To lose 42000 children a year is too much. Every death should count, no death should go unrecorded." - Zinhle Mapumulo