President Lungu declares maternal, prenatal deaths public health emergency

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President Edgar Lungu has declared maternal and prenatal deaths a public health emergency in Zambia.

The President said the country is losing approximately 10 to 15 women per week due to pregnancy related causes.

He has noted with sadness that in 2018, 786 women died due to pregnancy related complications.

The Head of State has called for heightened interventions to ensure no woman dies while giving birth.

He has also called for a stop to cultural and religious beliefs including other practices which may impede the country’s quest to attain good maternal and prenatal health.

President Lungu said this today when he officially launched the 2019 National Health Week at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka.

He further said it is disheartening that 23 percent of all deaths in the country are due to non-communicable diseases, most of which are preventable.

President Lungu has also expressed concern over high levels of alcohol and other substance abuse by young people in the country.

He said the scenario has potential to ruin the country’s future if Left unaddressed.

And Swedish Ambassador to Zambia, Henrik Cederin said the National Health Week highlights Zambia’s progress towards universal health coverage.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote has urged all Zambians to get screened for HIV and that those living with the virus should get Anti-Retroviral Therapy to achieve epidemic control by 2020.

And Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said President Lungu has expressed political will to promote health of all Zambians.

The theme for this year’s National Health Week is Promoting Health and Well-being towards Universal Health Coverage, my responsibility.