Ma­ter­nal death claims 1:5

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

A re­port has found that an av­er­age of 2800 women in Myan­mar die an­nu­ally due to com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to preg­nancy and child­birth, the sec­ond­high­est rate in ASEAN.

NEARLY 3000 Myan­mar women die an­nu­ally due to com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to preg­nancy and child­birth, ac­cord­ing to a Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion re­port launched yes­ter­day based on data from the 2014 cen­sus.

The “The­matic Re­port on Ma­ter­nal Mor­tal­ity” found that such a fate be­falls an av­er­age of 2800 ex­pect­ing moth­ers each year, with one in five deaths among young women due to ma­ter­nal health com­pli­ca­tions.

U Myint Kyaing, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary for the min­istry, said at a re­port launch event that the ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate amounted to 282 women per 100,000 live births at the Union level, the sec­ond-high­est in ASEAN.

“This is why we need to make a sur­vey on ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity – to know why the rate is high,” he said.

Every day, about eight women in Myan­mar die from pre­ventable causes re­lated to preg­nancy, child­birth and post-natal care in the early weeks fol­low­ing de­liv­ery, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

About 10 per­cent of fe­male deaths among women of re­pro­duc­tive age – de­fined as 15-49 years old – are re­lated to ma­ter­nal health.

Re­gion­ally, the ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate de­clined 69pc be­tween 1990 and 2015 in South­east Asia.

The most im­por­tant fac­tors con­tribut­ing to high ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity are iso­la­tion and de­pri­va­tion. Ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity is higher among poor and un­e­d­u­cated women, who have a more lim­ited abil­ity to recog­nise preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions and to ac­cess care.

The re­port noted that ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates dif­fer be­tween Myan­mar’s states and re­gions, as well be­ing sig­nif­i­cantly lower in ur­ban ar­eas and for women giv­ing birth in a health­care fa­cil­ity that can pro­vide ba­sic and emer­gency ob­stet­ric care. Most ma­ter­nal deaths are caused by treat­able con­di­tions such as bleed­ing or in­fec­tion.

“The dif­fer­ence will per­sist be­tween vil­lages and ur­ban. The best way [to lower ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates] is to raise aware­ness us­ing not only doc­tors but also nurses and mid­wives. Sec­ondary ed­u­cat­ing, from one per­son to an­other, is also im­por­tant,” said Dr Soe Lwin, an ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy spe­cial­ist.

Janet E Jack­son, coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA), said a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates could be achieved if more women had the choice of giv­ing birth to fewer chil­dren.

“Each ma­ter­nal death is a tragedy. Each ma­ter­nal death has a story to tell. This is the tool that will en­sure that every ma­ter­nal death is counted. Once we know the true mag­ni­tude of ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity and its causes, the Myan­mar health sys­tem will be more able to em­ploy prac­ti­cal ways to ad­dress its causes,” Ms Jack­son said in a state­ment.

Health ex­perts said greater pub­lic knowl­edge about re­pro­duc­tive health, in­clud­ing the im­por­tance of birth-spac­ing, is needed to lower Myan­mar’s ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate.

In ad­di­tion to women with high child­birth fre­quen­cies, other de­mo­graph­ics at par­tic­u­lar risk are very young women, whose bod­ies are not ready for child­birth, and women over 40. Women over 45 are four times more likely to die in child­birth, but age it­self is not the only fac­tor.

The re­port says that “ma­ter­nal health­care ser­vices are not reach­ing all the pop­u­la­tion groups that they should: Women with lim­ited ed­u­ca­tion, in low-in­come fam­i­lies and liv­ing in poor com­mu­ni­ties are more likely to be marginalised from ac­cess­ing and re­ceiv­ing ba­sic and emer­gency ob­stet­ric care”.

The re­port calls for poli­cies and in­ter­ven­tions that sup­port safer con­di­tions for moth­er­hood, es­pe­cially in de­prived com­mu­ni­ties and in re­mote ar­eas.

“Most of the women from the re­mote ar­eas don’t know about re­pro­duc­tive health,” said Dr Myint Zaw, project co­or­di­na­tor of the re­pro­duc­tive health­care pro­gram for the Myan­mar Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates are high­est in Chin State, and Aye­yarwady and Magwe re­gions, and low­est in Tanintharyi Re­gion, Nay Pyi Taw and Yan­gon Re­gion.

MYINT KAY THI

PYAE THET PHYO

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