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Mothers at risk: Maternal mortality rate alarms Lakes State doctor

Majok Mon
Malaria and anaemia have a detrimental effect on maternal and infant mortality rates in Lakes State.
21.07.2012  |  Rumbek
Teran Gor Teran, acting medical director of Rumbek’s hospital in his office.
Teran Gor Teran, acting medical director of Rumbek’s hospital in his office.

The infant and maternal mortality rate in the South Sudan’s Lakes State is very high.

According to a statement released by Teran Gor Teran, acting medical director of Rumbek’s hospital, the high rate of maternal mortality is caused by a vast majority of women not coming in for prenatal care.

Therefore a lot of women do not know anything about what they should do to optimise their and their baby’s chances of recovery after giving birth.

Teran adds that most women do not know how they should improve their diet while pregnant and this will often lead to anaemia, which leads to complications during child birth. Anaemia during pregnancy is a major public health problem, especially in developing countries.

Additionally, many mothers-to-be deliver their children with the help of mid-wives who use traditional methods.

We only get 80 expectant mothers per day at the Rumbek State hospital,” Teran says. And we always receive those with complicated deliveries here in the hospital – often we will lose either the mother or the child because they have already undergone prolonged labour in other areas, often far from the hospital.”

A lot of the women with complications loose too much blood and the hospital blood bank is not fully operational.

Malarial mothers-to-be are also a major cause of the high death rate in this area. And, as Teran warns, his hospital has just run out of anti-malarial medication. We need an immediate resupply from Juba,” he says.

The patients most at risk during the next few months when malaria was particularly rampant were mothers and infants.

I urge the government of South Sudan to send us the drugs ordered by the medical doctors in this state,” he adds. Usually we diagnose the patients and they are told to buy anti-malarial drugs in the market because we do not have any here in the hospital.”

Teran also criticises conditions at the hospital. There are no x-ray machines, the blood bank is not operational and the operating theatre is in poor condition too. Neither are there enough beds and any serious cases have to be transferred to Juba. In fact, Teran says, the maternity ward is possibly the best equipped -- it was renovated last year, with Italian aid.

The government of South Sudan needs to invest more money in healthcare, Teran concludes. So far the state government has not done one single tangible thing to improve healthcare services in this state,” he says.