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Maternal mortality rates "not making sufficient progress"

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Maternal mortality rates "not making sufficient progress"



MANILA, 24 March 2009 (IRIN) - Thousands of Filipino women continue to die due to complications related to childbirth, according to health specialists.

A study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the State of the World Population 2008, states that 230 women die for every 100,000 live births, compared with 110 in Thailand, 62 in Malaysia and 14 in Singapore. Photo: UNFPA Philippines. Maternal mortality remains a key challenge for the Philippines

Causes of maternal deaths are haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and complications of unsafe abortion – most of which are preventable with proper diagnosis and intervention, health specialists said.

“The maternal mortality ratio [MMR] in the Philippines is listed as the Millennium Development Goal [MDG] least likely to be achieved by 2015,” Vanessa Tobin, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative for the Philippines, told IRIN. The country has an adjusted maternal mortality ratio of 160 per 100,000 live births against a goal of 55-60 deaths per 100,000 live births.

“We are not making sufficient progress,” she said.

Crucial to reducing maternal deaths is having a skilled attendant present during a delivery.

“Only 60 percent of the births in the Philippines are supervised by a skilled birth attendant, who can be a physician, a nurse or a midwife with 18 months to two years of adequate training. What is not accepted in this definition is a traditional birth attendant [who have had no formal training],” the UNICEF official said.

“The intermediate goal to reach the MDG is to have a skilled attendant present during every birth. Until that happens, we will not be able to reduce the number of maternal deaths in this country,” said Tobin.

Based on results of national health surveys, Hendry Plaza, UNFPA programme officer for reproductive health, says: “We will only [achieve] 140 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. We are still statistically off-track from the MDG of 55 deaths per 100,000.

“Concerted efforts need to be taken to accelerate and promote cost-effective interventions, such as easy access to emergency obstetric care; increasing the number of births in health facilities; and universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning,” says Plaza.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 October 2010 19:25 )