Ensuring the safety of mothers and newborns during childbirth in Namibia

News and Press Release
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© WHO Namibia

28 September 2021

World Patient Safety Day was established in 2019 to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of health care and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm. This year’s World Patient Safety Day was commemorated under the theme '*Safe maternal and newborn care*' with the World Health Organization calling on healthcare facility managers, leaders and health workers around the world to adopt a set of 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 to improve maternal and newborn safety at the points of care, particularly around childbirth.

The goals are to:

  • reduce unnecessary and harmful practices to women and newborns during childbirth
  • strengthen capacity of and support to health workers for safe maternal and newborn care
  • promote respectful care for safe childbirth
  • improve safe use of medication and blood transfusion during childbirth
  • report and analyze safety incidents in childbirth.

Globally, every day, approximately 800 women and 6 700 babies lose their lives due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, nearly 5 400 babies are stillborn daily, with 40% of these deaths occurring in relation to labour and childbirth. Almost all maternal deaths (99%) occur in developing countries. More than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Namibia aims to reduce maternal mortality from 385 (NDHS 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. This was said by the Governor of the Kavango East Region, Honorable Bonifatius Wakudumo when he was officiating at the commemoration of the World Patient Safety Day in Rundu on 17 September 2021. He stated that the government of Namibia through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) will continue to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of patients and health care workers by ensuring that appropriate safety policies and guidelines are in place and consistently implemented. He called on all health Care workers to continue to uphold the MoHSS ‘vision and mission to provide quality health care’.

As part of the patient safety campaign, WHO Namibia supported a series of trainings for 69 nurses, midwives and student nurses in Rundu, Nankudu, Andara, and Nyangana health districts on patient safety awareness and respectful maternity care from 13-16 September 2021. The trainings were facilitated by the Independent Midwives Association of Namibia (IMANA) using the training curriculum which was adopted from the International Confederation of Midwives. The trainings created a platform for health workers to share best practices and challenges related to safe and respectful childbirth at health facility and community level.

The trainings aimed to:

  • raise awareness on maternal and new-born safety, especially during childbirth.
  • highlight the importance of preventing avoidable risk and harm to all women and new-borns during childbirth.
  • increase awareness in ensuring health care safety
  • build the capacity of health care workers in providing respectful maternal care and
  • create a platform for health care workers to share their experiences

There is a great need to continue with conducting similar training to help establish and strength a safety culture in which health workers can freely share safety concerns in order to improve respectful and safety maternity care.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Mrs Celia Kaunatjike
Tel: +264 (0) 61 255 121