The Lesotho Netball Association (LNA), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) this week launch a three-day maternal death awareness campaign in Qacha’s Nek.
The launch is set for Wednesday in Milikane village and the campaign, which includes a netball and ladies’ football tournament for schools, ends on Friday.
According to LNA public relations officer, Matsepo Mohau, research conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that Qacha’s Nek has the highest maternal mortality rate hence the decision to begin the campaign in the district.
“After studying some research from the Ministry of Health, it came to our attention that Qacha is the most affected area and especially the villages of ‘Milikane, Matebeng and Lebakeng because they are in the remote areas and far from clinics,” Mohau said.
“On Wednesday, we will be holding a workshop for village health-workers while the games will commence on Thursday and end the following day. We will be sharpening village health-workers’ skills as we want them to help local communities understand that clinics are the only safe places for them to give birth.
“We have established that pregnant women from these villages are reluctant to go to clinics, with some saying they are far away. So we are trying to give them something to encourage them to visit these clinics and at the same time, we will be working with the Ministry of Health to educate them on how to take care of themselves and their children.”
Mohau said of the sports tournament: “Because we know everyone cannot be involved in netball, we will also have a ladies’ soccer tournament and here we will be working with Qacha District Football Association.”
Asked if a lasting solution to the problem could be found, Mohau said: “We are aware that this might be a short-term solution but I think it will depend on how the programme goes because if it becomes a success, then it will not be difficult for us to convince UNICEF, as our sponsors, to invest more into it. Again, we can also make some recommendations to the Ministry of Health on how to deal with the situation.”