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12,000 childbirths expected in camps

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By Feston Malekezo:

Some 12,000 babies are expected to be born from 230,000 women who are living in designated camps hosting floods victims in the country, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) and United Nations joint report says.

The report released on Sunday warns that the women face challenges to access health centres and district hospitals, with one maternal death reported so far.

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“Based on the number of people affected, UNFPA estimates 23,000 women of childbearing age and about 12,000 expected deliveries.

“Pregnant women are delivering in the camps with unskilled birth attendants. Four complicated cases have, so far, been reported. Health facilities are far from each other and the flooded roads are impassable to access health care services.United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working with district health offices to distribute condoms to the camps.

“UNFPA is also working with the Ministry of Health and Population- Reproductive Health Directorate to facilitate a comprehensive assessment of the capacity of health facilities to provide safe deliveries. This assessment will start as early as next week,” the report reads in part.

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The report says health workers have also been displaced, creating a situation of non-availability of staff to provide services.

Apparently, the report says disease surveillance was strengthened by training 300 health workers out of the targeted 600 deployed to Phalombe, Balaka, Blantyre, Machinga, Mangochi and Chikwawa districts.

Ministry of Health has, so far, distributed 107,500 mosquito nets to the camps from the surplus of the 2018 Mass Net Distribution Campaign.

At least 15 districts were affected by the floods rendering about 868,895 destitute and 173 camps have been created to house the victims.

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