Deputy PM praises Gawanas and Penehupifo

WINDHOEK; The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation has praised Penehupifo Pohamba and Bience Gawanas for helping to establish the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said this while speaking here on Monday during the Africa Day celebrations.

CARMMA was launched in Namibia in 2009, and the deputy minister said its launch saw an immediate decrease in mortality rates among women giving birth in the country.

She said former First Lady Pohamba and Gawanas played a major role in the launch of CARMMA in the country that year.

“Pohamba was instrumental in setting up the office,” she said.

She went on to say Gawanas’s achievements amongst others were to mainstream poverty alleviation as an important agenda.

Gawanas was elected as the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Social Affairs in 2003, in Maputo, Mozambique.

Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that CARMMA is an important element in the empowerment of women in Namibia and in Africa.

CARMMA was initiated by the African Union Commission to address the challenges of maternal mortality in African countries.

The organisation aims at mobilizing local resources, skills and enhancing accountability measures towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals 5, which aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters.

The National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of Namibia in 2013 states that the maternal mortality ratio was 385 maternal deaths per 100 000 lives, lower than 449 maternal deaths in 2006-2007.

The NDHS noted that the risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth are increased by women’s lack of empowerment, education and access to economic resources, as well as poor nutrition and heavy physical work loading during pregnancy.

“Most maternal deaths could be prevented by ensuring good-quality maternal health services, such as antenatal and postnatal care, and skilled assistance during childbirth including emergency obstetric care,” read the NDHS of 2013.