Kaieteur News – There is no such thing as a risk-free pregnancy. Each pregnancy carries its own risks. Among the risks are the health and well-being of both mother and child. While most pregnancies in the end turn out okay, there is no guarantee that things will always work out fine each time.
Recently, a mother lost her child during childbirth. She was distraught, her anguish palpable. No one should ever have to go through such an experience. Unfortunately, it happens.
And when things do go wrong, the effects are devastating. Years ago, there was a case of a mother and her unborn child dying due to complications of her pregnancy. A few months ago, a mother succumbed after delivery.
The incidence of maternal deaths is an indicator that most countries try to reduce. Guyana has been no different and had been making progress in the reduction of maternal deaths. The incidence of infants under five years has been declining in Guyana. But do not tell that to a parent who has lost a child. However, Guyana in 2014 had one of the highest maternal rates of deaths in the Caribbean.
The difficulty with the numbers is that after having improved for a period, episodes of maternal deaths can create the impression that the infant mortality rate is on the rise.
Every maternal every death should be taken seriously and should be investigated to ascertain the causes which will help in developing strategies for the reduction of maternal deaths.
In the end, maternal deaths can be reduced, but will never be totally eliminated.
Nor can there ever be complications absent. In fact, what is needed is a public sensitisation campaign to remind expectant mothers that there are always risks to every pregnancy and to drive home the importance of proper pre- and post- natal care.
Every mother knows the anxiety and trepidation associated with pregnancies. There is the happiness in knowing that you will soon give birth to a child, but there is equally the concern about the risks of complications that may arise.
It is something that we should never lose sight of, more especially when there are maternal deaths, and all kinds of assessments are being made as to what went wrong and who is to blame.
It is important that the authorities try to establish the causes of any complications, more so when these complications lead to deaths. There is in place an automatic system of investigating these issues, but there is also the suspicion that this system can be compromised so as to cover up any negligence.
As such, it is important that there is a credible system of evaluating maternal deaths and complications.
This system should enjoy the confidence of the public. The team undertaking the review of these cases should comprise persons who are believed to embrace the highest professional standards.
It can comprise both local and foreign professionals. With technology today, the review process can include persons who are resident overseas, since there are a variety of means of having the data transmitted overseas for evaluation.
Instead of us therefore quarrelling as to the work of the team that is supposed to investigate these deaths, Guyana should be moving towards establishing a mechanism that would enjoy greater public confidence.
And the best way of achieving this is to incorporate a few overseas-based professionals as part of the review process.
But let there be no illusions about the risks involved in pregnancies. There will be risks involved, and those who are pregnant must be prepared for these risks.
This is why it is also important that every pregnancy be registered, so as to ensure that pre-natal care is provided.
This in itself does not necessarily remove risks, but it will help in the early identification of risk factors and dictate the need to take certain actions.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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