The Republic of South Africa launched the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa on 4th May 2012, on the eve of the annual International Day for Midwives.
South Africa’s maternal mortality currently stands at 310 per 100,000 live births, but the government intends to reduce it to about 270 per 100,000 live births within 2 years of implementing the CARMMA strategies.
The launch of the CARMMA in the Republic of South Africa was unique. Various good practices were exhibited, and a planning meeting was held immediately afterward to operationalize the commitments made during the launch.
Maternal, perinatal and underfive mortality in South Africa remains high. According to the National Department of Health’s Report of the Health Data Advisory and Coordinating Committee for November 2011, the ratios are:
- maternal: 310 per 100,000 live births
- under five: 56 per 1,000
- infant: 40 per 1,000 and
- neonatal: 14 per 1,000
The 2015 MDG target for maternal mortality ratio and under-five mortality rates is 38/100,000 and 20/1000, based on the 1998 Demographic and Health Survey base line of 150/100,000 and 59/1000 respectively.
Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, the Honorable Minister of Health of the Republic of South Africa, led the CARMMA launch activities. He described the CARMMA launch as a great day for the Republic of South Africa, as it joins other AU Member States in the program. Dr. Motsoaledi also indicated that maternal mortality statistics are generally hard to gather in Africa, making the monitoring of interventions difficult.
Dr. Motsoaledi stated that as South Africa joins other African countries to reduce maternal mortality, it is also launching its strategic plan for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Women’s Health (MNCWH) and Nutrition in South Africa (2012 - 2016). The plan’s aims are:
- Addressing inequity through targeting of under-served areas;
- Developing a comprehensive and coordinated framework for the provision of Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Women's Health (MNCWH) & Nutrition services;
- Strengthening community-based MNCWH & Nutrition interventions;
- Strengthening provision of key MNCWH & Nutrition interventions at PHC and district levels and at the district hospital level;
- Improving the capacity of the health system to support the provision of MNCWH & Nutrition services;
- Building human resource capacity for delivery of MNCWH & Nutrition services;
- Strengthening systems for monitoring and evaluation of MNCWH & Nutrition interventions and outcomes.
Other speakers and personalities at the launch included former First Lady of South Africa and Human Rights Activist, Mrs. Graca Machel; the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E. Adv. Bience Gawanas; African songstress and UN Rollback Ambassador, Mrs Yvonne Chaka Chaka; the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Xingwana; the Premier of KZN, Dr Mkhize; members of the national and provincial legislatures and representatives from UN agencies.