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Better healthcare needed for women & infants

Zuma spoke at the International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health on Thursday.

 President Jacob Zuma says the three biggest killers of pregnant women and children at birth could be dealt with more effectively if government improved its healthcare system.Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says the three biggest killers of pregnant women and infants pre- and post-natal, including HIV, hypertension and haemorrhaging, can be dealt with more effectively if government improves its healthcare system.

The president was speaking at the International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Boksburg on Thursday.

"While HIV and Aids may be a very big contributor to maternal and child mortality, other preventable causes are also at play."

Zuma also told delegates that food security and access to nutrition are vital to curbing infant and maternal mortality.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says health systems on the continent need to be strengthened in order to reduce the rate of maternal and infant mortality.

She says many women and children die in the birthing process, because of a lack of access to prenatal care and because of inadequately trained health personnel.

"Advancement on health outcomes will depend on gender equality, education, access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene, food security, nutrition, and capacity for distribution of essential health commodities".