Botswana has shown limited progress towards achieving a reduction of maternal mortality ratio.
This was said by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti on the commemoration of the World Patient Safety Day, observed annually on 17 September.
The day aims to raise global awareness about patient safety and call for solidarity and united action by all countries and international partners to reduce patient harm.
Minister Dikoloti noted that while Botswana is striving to reduce maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030, the evidence on the ground shows that the country is off track and will not meet the set target before it expires in 2030.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time period. It depicts the risk of maternal death relative to the number of live births and essentially captures the risk of death in a single pregnancy or a single live birth”.
In his address, Dikoloti noted that the country’s maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 133.7 deaths per 100,000 live births which then increased to 166.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019.
In 2017, Botswana set Maternal Mortality Rate targets of 54 deaths per 100 000 live births by 2030 and intermediate target of 71 deaths per 100 000 live births by 2025. A report commissioned in 2017 showed that a substantial proportion of maternal deaths in Botswana are preventable. As of 2017, among upper-middle countries, Botswana had the ninth highest maternal mortality ratio at 143.2 deaths per 100 000 live births. But if the current maternal death trend continues, Botswana is likely not to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 by 2030.