‘Zambia Records 70,000 Maternal Deaths Annually’

Over 70,000 maternal deaths are recorded among adolescents in Zambia annually, statistics have revealed.

Girls below 15 years are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties.

A research conducted by Advocates for Youth, 2007; UNICEF, 2008; Guttmacher, 2009 also revealed that HIV infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections, child marriages and Poverty levels had continued to increase.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Mary Otieno said the number was likely to increase due to the lack of knowledge on the use of family planning methods.

She said this during a media training workshop in Kabwe organised by UNFPA aimed at assisting media organisations cover sexuality, reproductive health and family planning issues.

She said Zambia was one of the countries in the world with the highest fertility rates but, unfortunately, had the highest maternal mortality rate which called for concerted efforts among stakeholders.

Ms Otieno said there was need for the media to educate the masses on family planning and help to reduce maternal death among adolescents and women at large.

“Although UNFPA has taken a lead in implementing the Cairo consensus, its scope and depth requires the participation of a broad coalition of actors, the non-governmental organisations and the government, “she said.

Reproductive health specialist Stephen Mupeta at the same function called on journalists to write objectively about issues to do with sexuality to move the agenda forward to attain the 8th Millennium Development Goals MDGs.

Dr Mupeta said media personnel must research thoroughly in a bid to educate the public in an informed manner.

He said there were many challenges which women went through when it came to the use of family planning, hence the need for the media to air the challenges.

He added that people should not blame women when they fall pregnant as in some cases it was beyond them.

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