Mid­wives and ObGyn agree to tackle stub­bornly high ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity

The Myanmar Times - - News - My­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com MYINT KAY THI

PRO­TECT­ING moth­ers and ba­bies is still un­fin­ished busi­ness, health­care pro­fes­sion­als say. The Myan­mar Nurse and Mid­wife As­so­ci­a­tion (MNMA) and the Ob­stet­ri­cal and Gy­nae­co­log­i­cal So­ci­ety, part of the Myan­mar Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (MMA), have agreed to work to­gether to im­prove the qual­ity of care for moth­ers and new­borns.

The two or­gan­i­sa­tions signed a joint state­ment on col­lab­o­ra­tive prac­tice on Novem­ber 11 at Se­dona Ho­tel in Yangon, vow­ing to strengthen their re­la­tion­ship and the work­ing prac­tices of nurses, mid­wives and ob­ste­tri­cians and gy­nae­col­o­gists.

The agree­ment calls for col­lab­o­ra­tion on ca­pac­ity-build­ing for mid­wives, pol­icy ad­vo­cacy, deal­ing with health emer­gency pre­pared­ness and re­sponse, and aware­ness-rais­ing on mid­wifery.

Pro­fes­sor Dr Mya Thida, the pres­i­dent of the ObGyn So­ci­ety and the MMA, said, “Mid­wifery ser­vices play the most im­por­tant role in re­duc­ing ma­ter­nal and peri-natal death in Myan­mar. As we all know, ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity and in­fant deaths are still high in our coun­try ac­cord­ing to the 2014 cen­sus. Im­prov­ing ma­ter­nal and neona­tal health is an un­fin­ished agenda, and we need to meet the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals’ tar­gets in 2030.”

She added that the most fre­quent causes of ma­ter­nal deaths were pre­ventable.

Dr Mya Thida said MNMA and the ObGyn So­ci­ety had acted as part­ners in the past and the joint state­ment would strengthen their col­lab­o­ra­tion. “Our two or­gan­i­sa­tions have been pro­vid­ing health­care ser­vices for moth­ers and chil­dren, but there are too few mid­wives for the num­ber of pa­tients,” she said.

“There are about 12,000 mid­wives for 60,000 vil­lages through­out the coun­try. We need more qual­i­fied staff to pro­vide cov­er­age.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health, there are 1.46 health work­ers – doc­tors, nurses and mid­wives – per 1000 peo­ple, far be­low the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s min­i­mum rec­om­men­da­tion of 2.3 health work­ers per 1000 peo­ple.

Daw Yin Mya, the pres­i­dent of MNMA, said, “Work­ing closely in col­lab­o­ra­tion with govern­ment and NGOs will strengthen readi­ness and rapid re­sponse ca­pa­bil­ity for any kind of pub­lic health emer­gency at all levels, as well as pro­mot­ing so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for mid­wifery ser­vices,” in­clud­ing train­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 cen­sus, the ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate was 282 per 100,000 live births at the Union level, the sec­ond-high­est in ASEAN. 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. About 10 per­cent of fe­male deaths among women of re­pro­duc­tive age – de­fined as 15-49 years old – are re­lated to ma­ter­nal health.

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

Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

A mother holds her baby at an IDP camp in Kachin State on June 7.

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