fbpx
Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more 11 Disruptive Startups Selected for Cohort 3 of the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) Accelerator Program powered by Startupbootcamp AfricaRead more Africa Data Centres breaks ground on new Sameer facility in NairobiRead more Coffee with a human face: A union that improves livelihoods for Ugandan farmersRead more Trends Predicted to drive the retail industry in 2023Read more Vantage Capital exits Pétro IvoireRead more Afrobarometer charts path for Round 10 surveysRead more Unified communication and collaboration trends for 2023 (By David Meintjes)Read more 2023 starts with BIG IMPACT on Bizcommunity!Read more

Addressing maternal mental healthcare in Africa

show caption
Affecting around 20% of pregnant women in LMIC, mental health issues like depression and anxiety are common during pregnancy./Press Release Photo
Print Friendly and PDF

Aug 15, 2022 - 10:15 AM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 15, 2022/APO Group/ — Affecting around 20% of pregnant women in LMIC[i], mental health issues like depression and anxiety are common during pregnancy and the first year after birth, with consequences for both mothers and their infants.

Africa’s health systems, and particularly mental health infrastructure, may not be adequately serving women on the continent, who often experience intense suffering, if left untreated.

“A period of heightened emotions, and often great joy, pregnancy also brings anxiety and uncertainty into women’s lives. It’s a tumultuous time during which roles and relationships shift.

“For many women on the continent, already burdened with poverty, GBV and with limited access to quality healthcare, concerns about how to cope with the physical changes and side-effects that accompany pregnancy and whether they will have enough support once their child is born fuel these anxieties,” says Cynthia Makarutse, Content Lead for the Africa Health 2022 Congress.

“Women who are breadwinners may worry about how to continue providing for their families, while others may wish to terminate their pregnancies yet find themselves unable to safely do so through the public healthcare system[ii]. The prospect of miscarriage is also a source of worry,” she explains.

Pregnancy can trigger or worsen mental health conditions like anorexia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), drug or alcohol use, and panic attacks[iii]. Furthermore, women facing mental health challenges may be stigmatised for it by their communities or even by their healthcare providers[iv].

“The inadequacies of our health systems may be fuelling mental health concerns among pregnant and birthing mothers,” Makarutse expands.

“Poor communication between HCWs and their patients; invasive methods; disregard for pain and personhood; medical neglect; obstetric violence and a disregard for privacy are among the pressing problems the sector must address to re-establish confidence and trust in Africa’s maternal healthcare systems.”

Themed around ‘Post-pandemic medical obstetrics – updates, consensus & controversies’, the 4th Medical Obstetrics Conference at this year’s Africa Health Exhibition on the 28th of October promises a day of insightful discussion, with some of the continent’s leading authorities sharing their expertise on ways to narrow the critical gaps in our current obstetric and maternal healthcare paradigms.

The session on ‘Community Obstetrics’, moderated by Dr Coceka Mnyani, will see Dr Lavinia Lumu, Specialist Psychiatrist at Akeso Crescent Clinic explore ‘Mental health disorders in pregnancy’; celebrated Professor Sue Fawcus of UCT addresses the question, ‘Did the Covid pandemic undo the progress made in reducing maternal mortality in South Africa?’; and Dr Tamsyn Baillie Stanton discuss ‘The role of the emergency physician in reducing maternal mortality’.

The talks will be followed by an interactive debate, providing attendees the chance to engage with these renowned speakers.

“We need to build a resilient, compassionate healthcare system in which pregnant mothers are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve. Africa’s pregnant and birthing mothers must have access to high quality care, and appropriate medication.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but it will likely take further concerted efforts, and robust collaborative interventions, to ensure that the suffering of pregnant women with mental health disorders is adequately addressed,” Makarutse concludes. Source: APO Group

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.