"No Woman Should Die While Giving Birth". A Discussion on the Progress Made and Limitations on Achieving the MDG5 in Namibia

Essay, 2015

9 Pages, Grade: B


Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Background to the Millennium Development Goals agenda

3 Background to the Namibian Health Status

4 Programs and policies developed for the attainment of MDG5 in Namibia

5 Way forward


1 Introduction

The fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG5) calls for improving maternal health and focuses on two specific objectives: the reduction of global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by two third and the universal access to reproductive health by the year 2015 (United Nations, 2013).

Recent data shows that globally the Maternal Mortality Ratio has seen a significant decrease from 400 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 260 per 100,000 live births in 2008 (Zere et al, 2011). Despite this world progress, some 300,000 women died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth whereby 62% of the deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa (United Nations, 2014).

Access to a comprehensive package of reproductive health services has seen an improvement with 83% of pregnant women attended by a skilled health worker at least once during their pregnancy in 2012 compare to 65% in 1990 (United Nations, 2014).

According to the United Nations (2014), there remain extreme differences in maternal mortality among countries with almost one third of global deaths concentrated in India (17%) and Nigeria (14%); with Sierra Leone being the Country with the highest MMR (1100 per 100,000 live births ) while Belarus has the lowest (1 per 100,000 live births).

Namibia is one of the affected sub-Saharan countries. It is estimated that, everyday a woman dies in Namibia due to complications related to either pregnancy or childbirth.

The Maternal Mortality ratio has increased from 225 per 100,000 live births in 1992 to 271 per 100,000 live births in 2000 and 449 per 100,000 live births in 2007/2008 (WHO, 2009).

This data has put the Country on a balance scale to initiate and develop policies and programs for the acceleration of the reduction of MMR against set targets and reverse the trends to achieve 75% reduction in accordance with the MDG5 target.

The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze policies, strategies and programs that were developed in Namibia to meet the global and country targets for the attainment of the MDG5. Also to evaluate the progress made, discuss challenges and identify way forwards for local and global response.

This essay will review the Millennium Development Goals agenda, the Namibian Country health status in the context of MDG 5 and the policies, strategies and programs developed to mitigate Maternal Mortality and access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. A discussion on progress made and limitations experienced will pave the way forwards to the local and global response to achieve this most important goal.

2 Background to the Millennium Development Goals agenda

In September 2000 a total number of 189 United Nations General Assembly member states adopted the Millennium Declaration (MD) after which eight smart, measurable, achievable, realistic goals/targets were developed - the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are implemented by developing Countries with assistance from their developed member Countries (NPC,2013). The eight MDGs are

MDG1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

MDG2: Achieve universal primary education

MDG3: Promote gender equality and empower women

MDG4: Reduce child mortality

MDG5: Improve maternal health

MDG6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

MDG7: Ensure environmental sustainability

MDG8: Develop a global partnership for development.

A particular emphasis has been put on health related MDGs (4, 5, &6) because of the essence they carry for the global sustainable development. Every individual irrespective of their race, age, sex has a right to good health and well-being. A mentally and physically stable Nation will enhance economic growth and prosperity.

In this paper I draw attention on Namibia, a very interesting and complex Country that has incorporated the health related MDGs in the National Policy Frameworks for Social and Economic Development (WHO and MOHSS, 2010).

3 Background to the Namibian Health Status

Namibia is situated in the Southwest part of Africa covering an area of 824,000km2.

The country population is 2, 1 million with an annual growth rate estimated at 2.5 with sparsely population of which the majority live in the six Northern Regions where the density is higher than the national average of 2.2 per square meter.

Namibia is classified as upper middle income Country however the most inequal society in the World (MOHSS and WHO, 2010). Despite the small population, the Health and Demographic Survey conducted in 2007 indicates that the Country experiences critical socio-economic and health challenges that pose a threat to his national development plan agenda. In 2008, the employment rate was estimated at 37%, third of the population was estimated to be poor with 34% only having access to sanitation (NDHS, 2007).The health system inherited from the Colonial Government remained fragmented with services concentrated in the urban areas .The Ministry of Health and Social Services is the custodian of the Namibian health and wellbeing. Its mandate is to deliver quality health care services to the Namibian people. The Ministry operates in 9 National Directorates and 13 Regional Directorates. Primary Health care is the guiding principle for health care delivery in the Country. Health services are organized from outreach points (1,150), Clinics and Health posts (285), Health centers (30), District Hospitals (34), Intermediate Hospitals (3) to National referral Hospital (1).

According to the same survey (NDHS, 2007) ,Maternal Mortality Ratio has doubled from 249 per 100,000 live births in 1992 to 449 per 100,000 live births in 2000 despite the increased in Skilled Birth attendance (80%) and Antenatal care coverage (95%).

This pick was attributed to the high HIV prevalence rate (18%) among pregnant women as an indirect cause and to direct major causes including hypertension disorders, obstructed labour, haemorrhage and post-partum sepsis. All of them being preventable causes, the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Namibia together with development partners WHO and European Union have developed programs and strategies to reduce the trend of MMR from 449 per 100,000 live births to 50 per 100,000 live births and achieve the MDG5 by 2015. In 2010, Namibia reported a Maternal Mortality Ratio of 200 per 100,000 live births, an infant mortality rate of 46 per 1000 live births and child mortality of 69 per 1000 live births (CIA, 2014; UNICEF, 2010). The skilled birth attendance is reported at 95% (target achieved?) while universal access to reproductive health shows little progress. The contraceptive prevalence rate stands at 46.6% (MDG target 100%) and Teenage pregnancy at 15% (MDG target 0%) (UNDP, 2012).

At this trend, there is need for drastic reduction of MMR in Namibia and improvement of access to reproductive health services to achieve the MDG5 set targets.

Programs and strategies were developed for this purpose. The progress made, challenges and limitations in these programs are discussed in the following section.


Excerpt out of 9 pages


"No Woman Should Die While Giving Birth". A Discussion on the Progress Made and Limitations on Achieving the MDG5 in Namibia
University of Manchester  (HCRI)
Global Health
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woman, should, while, giving, birth, discussion, progress, made, limitations, achieving, mdg5, namibia
Quote paper
Dr Leonard Kabongo (Author), 2015, "No Woman Should Die While Giving Birth". A Discussion on the Progress Made and Limitations on Achieving the MDG5 in Namibia, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/305672


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