The country’s health authorities are looking for new ways to get more pregnant patients to visit clinics and to see obstetricians in their localities.
The country’s biggest public health agency has launched a new programme called the Rural Births Program, aimed at increasing access to prenatal care and to improving access to OB/GYNs, a spokeswoman for the Health and Family Ministry said.
According to the spokeswoman, the Rural births program is aimed at reducing maternal mortality in rural areas.
“The Rural Birth program is also aimed at helping pregnant women to get prenatal care in their own village,” she said.
“It is also designed to improve access to the antenatal care services in rural communities.”
A spokeswoman for South Africa’s health ministry said the Rural births program would help pregnant women in the country’s north and in the northern-most provinces to access OB/GYNs.
A study released last year by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that women in rural South Africa have the highest risk of complications related to preterm birth and low birth weight.
Women in rural countries have higher rates of antenatal and perinatal deaths, maternal morbidity, maternal pre-eclampsia, and pre-term delivery, according to the study, which was released last month.
South Africa’s Health and Families Ministry said in a statement that it has already increased funding for the Rural Born program to $8.8 million, which is more than double the $5.8-million the agency had originally requested.
But the agency said it is still considering how to allocate additional funds to help more women get prenatal and obstetric care in rural regions.
Under the program, the health authorities have started a new program called the Family Births Initiative, which provides basic health services to pregnant women at home and in rural households, including antenatal services.
There are about 2.5 million pregnant women living in South Africa, according the health authority.
Some of them will receive antenatal, obstetric, and postnatal care through the Rural born program, which aims to provide women with the right to choose whether to have their baby in their community.
Health authorities have said they will also launch a programme called Women’s Births, which will offer obstetric and post-natal services to women in their communities.
Earlier this month, the South African government launched a pilot program to provide antenatal birth and postpartum care for pregnant women, including obstetric services and prenatal care.
More than 40 million pregnant South Africans live in the rural areas where the program is being launched.
In 2016, South Africa had the world’s highest maternal mortality rate at more than 1,100 deaths per 1,000 live births, according an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The Health and Human Services Minister, Pravin Gordhan, said in April that rural South Africans have the second-highest maternal mortality rates in the world, behind countries like Syria.
He said the government is working on a national plan to improve the lives of rural South African women.