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Dec 8, 2005

Min of Health: too many pregnant women are dying

Story PictureA two day workshop called “Making Motherhood Safer” began today in Belize City. Co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization, participants include midwives, hospital and health centre workers. The workshop is designed to determine ways of improving the care delivered to Belizean mothers from the first stages of pregnancy, through delivery, and following the birth of their babies. Latest statistics reveal that there have been an increasing number of maternal deaths over the last three years, with ten mothers dying from complications in 2005. This afternoon Dr. Natalia Largaespada says the main cause of death is eclampsia, a condition that requires early monitoring of a woman’s blood pressure and diagnosis from as early as the twentieth week of pregnancy. However, Largaespada maintains that only fifteen percent of all Belizeans are accessing healthcare when they find out they are pregnant.

Dr. Natalia Largaespada
?When we are talking about access, we are talking about choices. When we are talking about choices, we are talking about level of education, we are talking about gender issues. We are talking about the role that if it is a woman that has already had children?we all know that mothers, the father comes first, the son comes first. Everybody else in the family comes first and then leaves for last the woman. So definitely those issues are interfering with the access to the services.?

?We do have some harmful practices, early onset of sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, multiple partners, not taking care of the pregnancy, partners not supporting the woman during pregnancy, childbirth, post-natal period which is critical, but the services are there. We do have limitations in resources, medical supplies and human resources, but the basics are there and we must use them. So for all women that miss one or two periods, don?t wait anymore, go to the hospital, to your health centre. We have a battery of tests that we run and that would give us valuable information of the baseline so we can give a proper follow up of that pregnancy.?

The “Making Motherhood Safer” workshop ends tomorrow with the presentation of the National Plan for the Reduction of Maternal and Perineal Mortality and Morbidity.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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