Men of God have been accused of causing an increase in maternal mortality rate in Cameroon’s Southwest Region.
Atanga Anye Louis
The accusation was made by a public health specialist, Atanga Anye Louis at the end of a two day seminar, aimed at assessing the rate of maternal mortality in the region. During the training that held on November 26 and 27, Atanga Anye Louis stated that one of the reasons for the increase of maternal mortality rate in the region is as a result of the rigid attitude of some clients and pregnant women, who think that medical problems have to be solved spiritually. “Some clients or pregnant women will not want to follow the normal healthcare delivery and what is required of them. They would want to see their Pastors or Men of God and it is actually a challenge,” Atanga said.
He further regretted that, after denying medical assistance, it is only when the case is critical that the church will run to the hospital seeking medical assistance. “We are trying to make the Men of God understand that what is health related, should be directed to health. During our reviews, we have seen so many cases where maybe the baby or the mother ends up dying as a result of a belief that ‘my man of God told me that I am not going to be operated upon’,” he narrated.
The medic also indicated that the Southwest Region has witnessed a slight reduction in maternal and neonatal deaths ever since the new neonatology ward at the Buea Regional Hospital went operational.
According to the Southwest Regional Delegate for Public Health, Dr Zaccheus Ebongo, the situation in the Southwest Region is not different from that in other regions. He explained that as from today, the region has recorded 432 women who died out of 100,000 live births. “Our target is to have less than 70 children who died out of 100,000 live births.”
The Regional Delegate said some causes of the deaths are as a result of excessive bleeding during and after delivery, complications during child bearing, malaria, HIV and AIDS.
To mitigate the mortality rate, the health practitioner, says there is need for awareness and to adopt a multi-sectorial approach and to lobby for more material and financial resources to make sure that the programmes are well implemented from the health area through the district hospitals, regional hospitals, health districts and the regional delegation. “If we put all these stakeholders together and we address all the issues surrounding the direct and indirect causes, we would be able to mitigate the causes of maternal and prenatal mortality within our region,” Dr Zaccheus said.
In a press release, the United Nations Populations Fund, UNFPA stated that, according to Demographic Health survey of 2011, the SWR was fourth in the country in terms of the number deaths of children under 5years and needs follow up and assistance. “It is on this premise that the World Bank Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) is stepping in to provide financial support to enable the SWR in particular and Cameroon as a whole meet up with the specific objectives of SDG3…”
The training was organised by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Southwest Regional Delegation for Public Health.
According the UNFPA, the objectives of the training is to, by 2030, bring the global maternal mortality ratio below 70 per 100,000 live births; eliminate preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries having to seek to reduce neonatal mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births at most and under-five mortality to 25 per 1,000 live births at most; ensure access to sexual and reproductive health care services for all, including family planning, information and education, and ensure that reproductive health is taken into account in national strategies and programs.
By Neville Mesumbe