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Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA)

Launched by the African Union (AU) in 2009 the CARMMA campaign aims to reduce high rates of women dying in childbirth (maternal mortality) and children dying before they reach the age of 5 years due to preventable causes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that worldwide 1500 women die every day due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Similarly 10 000 babies die per day within the first month of life and an equal number of babies are born dead. Although Africa is home to only 10% of the world’s population, it contributes to almost half of all child deaths worldwide.

For Soul City, CARMMA is an important campaign to be part of. The following are the key components of CARMMA in South Africa:

  • Strengthen and promote access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, with specific focus on family planning services.
  • Promote early antenatal care and attendance/booking.
  • Improve access to Skilled Birth Attendants by:
    • Allocating dedicated obstetric ambulances to every sub-district to ensure prompt transfer of women in labour and women and children with obstetric and neonatal emergencies to care.
    • Establishing maternity waiting homes.
  • Strengthen Human Resources for Maternal and Child Health by:
    • Providing training on Essential Steps in Management of Obstetric Emergencies (ESMOE) to doctors and midwives.
    • Intensifying midwifery education and training.
  • Improve child survival by:
    • Promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months.
    • Providing facilities for lactating mothers (boarder mothers) in health facilities where children are admitted.
    • Promoting Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for stable low birth weight babies at all levels of care.
    • Advocating for appropriate care and support for pregnant women and lactating mothers in the workplace.
    • Improving immunization and vitamin A coverage.
    • Intensifying management of severe malnutrition in health facilities.
    • Intensifying case management of sick children through:
      • Improving home management of diarrhoea including oral rehydration, and strengthening community recognition of serious illness in babies.
      • Strengthening implementation of integrated management of care for infants (IMCI) in all primary health care facilities
      • Strengthening clinical skills for the management of severe diseases including pneumonia and diarrhoea in referral facilities
  • Intensify management of HIV positive mothers and children by:
    • Improving access to treatment for both mothers and children
    • Improving management of co-infections, particularly TB and
    • Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV
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