Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

THE Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS)’s Executive Director (ED), Ben Nangombe, says the ministry and partners in health are joined the rest of the World in commemorating World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) today.

MoHSS aims to reduce maternal mortality from 385 (Namibia Demographic and Health Survey 2013) to at least 200 per 100,000 live births by 2021/22 and to reduce newborn mortality from 20 to 10 per 1,000 live births by 2021/22.

WPSD, marked annually on 17 September, was established by the 72nd World Health Assembly in May 2019, following the adoption of resolution WHA72.6 on ‘Global patient safety.’ “The resolution recognises patient safety as a global health priority and promotes the objectives of World Patient Safety Day, namely, to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action to progress patient safety.” Nangombe stated.

Based on Nangombe’s statement, the World Health Organisation urges all stakeholders to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!”.

This year’s commemoration is celebrated under the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care”.

The Health ministry embarked on main objectives in tribute to WPSD, raising global awareness on maternal and newborn safety, particularly during childbirth.

Nangombe stressed that the ministry is set to engage multiple stakeholders and adopt effective and innovative strategies to improve maternal and newborn safety. “Call for urgent and sustainable actions by all stakeholders; to scale up efforts, reach the unreached, and ensure safe maternal and newborn care particularly during childbirth,” Nangombe determined.

The ministry is to advocate the adoption of best practices at the point of care to prevent avoidable risks and harm to all women and newborns during childbirth, he said.

“This year’s theme is in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan which considers “one mother who dies while giving birth as one mother too many” and therefore suggests that everything must be done to prevent it from happening,”the ED informed.

MoHSS called on all stakeholders to join the global campaign by lighting up iconic monuments in orange and organizing local activities and events on and around 17 September 2021.

Nangombe informed that the procedures are to ensure safety for all patients. “Safe maternal and new-born care is just the theme of the year. It does not mean that we are only catering to women and their new-born/s. It’s for all patients,” Nangombe clarified.

The observance comes amidst recent reports of a 23-year-old woman from Otjiwarongo, Fabiola Katjitjivi, being reportedly left unattended at the reception area and ignored by five nurses who were on duty at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital, giving birth unassisted after several hours of waiting for the maternity ward to be prepared.

Reports have it that that when staff members eventually arrived, they told her she was giving the cleaner a lot of work, and allegedly asked why she did not give birth at home. Katjitjivi was released from hospital on Saturday.