The Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) late last year combined forces with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch a maternal deaths awareness campaign in Qacha’s Nek district.
This unique project wants to prevent unnecessary deaths in villages around ‘Melikane and Matebeng health centres by encouraging pregnant women to seek medical care and came after a Ministry of Health research revealed Qacha’s Nek as the district leading in maternal mortality.
Simply put, maternal mortality is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.
Over the last three weeks, LNA officials have been in ‘Melikane and Matebeng holding workshops for Village Health Workers so they could be in a position to encourage expecting women to attend clinics in order to save themselves and their unborn children.
I was lucky enough to go with LNA and UNICEF officials to ‘Melikane a fortnight ago where I witnessed and heard some of the challenges women face in that area to access healthcare.
Some of the women narrated how they have to travel for two days or even more to reach clinics and I could understand why they have to think twice before embarking on this arduous and very dangerous journey.
But what was encouraging was the reception to the initiative by the women, and Village Health Workers. I believe with such enthusiasm, the project is going to be a success and ensure a much healthier future generation.
However, what was even more worrisome was to hear about the dangers these women face on their long journey to the clinics as they could be attacked by the criminal element since they would be on foot or using unconventional methods of travel such as donkeys.
The netball motherbody and UNICEF should be commended for doing something to alleviate the plight of these women and I am also happy that the project would be taken to all corners of our country.
Hopefully, this innovation is going to continue running even after the LNA and UNICEF have called it a day because of its importance in saving the lives of our vulnerable members of society.
The netball association and UNICEF have laid the foundation for the nation on which to build on the initiative. Officials from the organisations deserve a pat on the shoulder. It is now up to the government to ensure it does not disintegrate amid the usual complaints of inadequate funding.