The Republic of Congo’s government has launched a nationwide weeklong campaign of action aimed at tackling the country’s high rates of infant, juvenile and maternal mortality.
“I seize this opportunity to fight maternal and infant mortality, my primary concern,” Health and Social Affairs Minister Emilienne Raoul said at the launch of the campaign in the town of Ouesso, some 800 km north of the capital, Brazzzaville.
According to a 2005 demographic and health survey, 781 of every 100,000 births resulted in the death of the mother. The same survey showed the infant and juvenile mortality rates to be 75 and 117 per thousand respectively. The survey also showed that there had been no improvement in these indicators since 1990.
Across the country during the week of action, impregnated bed nets are to be distributed, while children are to be treated for parasites, given vitamin A supplements and pregnant mothers given birth kits.
The government used the occasion of the week of action to give birth certificates to 2,012 as yet unregistered children in indigenous communities.
“Our children have this right because they are citizens just like the Bantu,” said Paul Ngama, head of one such family.
Indigenous communities, sometimes referred to as Pygmies, account for about 10 percent of Congo’s three million inhabitants.