By Hawa Amara
Mamaye, in collaboration with focus 1000, last Thursday engaged the media on maternal and new-born baby health issues that are still of grave national concern.
During the workshop, which attracted both the print and electronic media, executive director of Mamaye, Mohamed B. Jalloh, said the organisation’s core aim was to engage Africa on the survival of African women and new-born babies.
He noted mamaye uses grassroots strategies and digital tools to showcase the work of partners striving to save the lives of mothers in Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, adding that although more women and babies now survive in Sierra Leone than previously, yet 200 women die while giving birth and 11,000 new-born babies lose their life each year.
He said Mamaye craves to save lives of mothers and babies and that their campaign targets every pregnant woman, family, youth, man, government and the community.
According to director of programmes Focus 1000 Dr. Abu Pratt, the basic health fact and statistic was that teenage child bearing is still on the increase and that 3 out of every 10 teenage girls, aged 15-19 years are already mothers or are pregnant with their first child.
He maintained that the under-five mortality rate is 140 deaths per 1000 live births and infant mortality is 89 deaths per 1000 live births, while neonatal mortality is 36 per 1000 live births.
Basically 40% of all infant deaths take place during the first 28 days of life, he said, adding that newborn babies die largely due to birth asphyxia, neonatal infections, hypothermia and low birth weight.
Dr. Pratt noted that skilled attendance during delivery and skilled post-natal care attendance during first 24 to 48 hours, offers the best survival lifeline for both mothers and newborns.
He said that each year children are dying because of unhygienic and unsafe environments, ingestion of unsafe water, and inadequate availability of water for hygiene, plus lack of access to sanitation and birth space.
He also emphasised that children are dying as a result of communicable diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, malaria, as well as HIV/ AIDS, poor breastfeeding, and malnutrition.
He called on the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to utilise sufficient and effective personnel and partnerships to rally against specific diseases, and to plan and implement strategies that can reach the poor, as well as target human and financial resources and modified health systems for the benefit of children and mothers.