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Maternity centres help to reduce maternal mortality

News from Nicaragua | Thursday, 18 September 2014 |

Casa materna in Ciudad Sandino

Casa materna in Ciudad Sandino

According to the World Health Organisation(WHO) Nicaraguan maternity centres (casas maternas), mostly in rural areas, have played a significant role in reducing maternal mortality. In 2005 maternal mortality was 85 per 100,000 live births. That number fell to 50.6 in 2012. In 2005 only 34.7% of pregnant women received prenatal care, a figure that rose to 55.8% in 2012. Women can live in the maternity centres for up to two weeks before and after delivery. During this time they have access to doctors as well as training in nutrition and hygiene for themselves and their babies. There are 107 maternity centres, most of them run by the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry has announced that the ‘healthy backyard’ programme will be extended to maternity centres. The programme was launched in 2012 to encourage low income families to grow their own vegetables and fruit as a way of tackling malnutrition. The maternity centre gardens will grow fruits and vegetables including spinach, onions, beets, eggplant, papaya, ginger. Some will also grow medicinal herbs to promote natural medicine.