Key body says our health best gauged with advanced nations’


Some of the journalists during one of the sessions

The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (Ecsa-HC) experts told a major conference -- which opened in Arusha on Saturday  -- that our figures and those of Mauritius are best compared with statistics of developed countries because they are too different from those of other sub-Saharan countries.

They agreed with Seychellois delegates that hosting one of their future forums in Seychelles could help health providers to see what we are doing right, in a bid to correct situations that needlessly claim lives and defy many solutions adopted decades ago.

Dr Odongo Odiyo – an expert at helping women deliver – said 38% of mothers who die when getting babies lose their lives because of bleeding which can be avoided through medicine needed by all women in labour which many doctors fail to give, “and caressing of the womb by medics or if too busy, by the woman herself or her spouse”.

The first part of the conference is being attended by senior journalists and ministries of health public relations officers whom Ecsa hopes “will work better than they do together” in the future to help doctors educate women and especially men and that pregnancy is not a simple process but one that should be taken seriously given the risks it carries.

“Many men often begin their irresponsibility by making the women pregnant without prior planning, expecting the ladies to carry the unborn baby and bring it home where the guys are simply waiting to celebrate,” said Dr Odiyo.

The delegates in a group picture. Dr Odiyo is in white suit front row

“Death often hits hard at that time if mourning suddenly replaces celebrations,” he said, adding that men have a responsibility to urge their women to seek medical attention immediately if any bleeding occurs during pregnancy, and that even at childbirth only a litre of blood is lost, unless the many that are suddenly lost in gushes when World Health Organisation recommended drugs are not given during delivery.

“All mothers can potentially bleed to death hence the precautions, and out of any one that dies, 10 who lose blood but survive suffer permanent health damage with some becoming vegetables when their brains are blood-starved.”

He said medical centres which are not prepared enough for emergencies – with necessary medicine and good stocks of blood -- should not dare help mothers deliver.

After a survey in three countries showed only 5.7% of doctors follow the right procedure during delivery, Ecsa has devised a chart that can be displayed in labour wards to remind medics the key steps that must be followed to safely help a mother deliver.

Some delegates said the fact that Seychellois women get only two to three children on average may be a major contributor to low death rates compared to countries like Uganda which are celebrating a drop to 6.7 babies on average from a higher figure.

They said ‘women die daily at childbirth in such countries’ is just a song people are used to hearing without raising concern until one close to them passes away”.

“Childbirth is not a joke and women should be allowed to rest before getting more children,” said a delegate who lost a sister during labour recently.

Some said Seychelles’ readily available family planning services help cut the number of unwanted pregnancies.

“In fact many say family planning alone can help achieve all millennium development goals,” said a trainer.

Seychelles is represented at the conference by Dr Egbert Moustache of Ecsa and journalist George Thande of the National Information Services Agency.