The most recent Human Rights Watch newsletter ran an item entitled 'South Africa's Failing Maternity Care' (http://www.hrw.org/). The experience of Abeba, and other women interviewed by HRW, makes for extremely disturbing reading. According to teh recent HRW report the ratio of death from childbirth are four times more likely than ten years ago. This is a shocking statistic, especially considering that one of the UN Millennium Development Goals is the improvement of maternal health. There is so hope, however, as HRW suggests that measure to improve oversight and accountability in public hospitals and among health workers could reverse this trend.
This item has also been covered by Times Online, 'Healthcare system fails pregnant mothers'. http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2011/08/08/healthcare-system-fails-pregnant-women It makes the important point that:
"Women do not know their rights, and often don't know that they can complain because of that the health system doesn't benefit from this information."
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that plans to overhaul the healthcare system were passed last week and new posts had been created:
"We need health workers that respect the basic rights of patients, and these new posts will provide competent people who will be responsible and accountable for instances of abuse."