Maternal Health a key concern

by tybmmjourno

Maternal Health, a key concern

Maternal health is a very important issue. It  is on an increase as million women die due to pregnancy. The Millennium development goals (MDG) has therefore included this as one its goals for the development of the nation. Around 358,000 women die every year due to complications during pregnancy. Most of these deaths can be refrained as there are a number of medical interventions. According to the MGD report of 2010, the maternal mortality rates were very high in Southern Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri-Lanka and Pakistan.  There is not a single reason to this. These developing countries face a vast number of problems. One of the main reason is poverty. Poverty increases sickness which eventually leads to a decline to access of healthcare. Moreover, women in these countries undergo gender-based discrimination and are deprived of their right of equal status to men. Hepatitis, diabetes, malaria, infections, malnutrition, and anaemia also indirectly leads to maternal mortality.

But, it can be abated by investing in health system.

Nepal, the world’s 93rd largest country, has maternal mortality as one its major issue. In Nepal, a woman dies every four hours due to pregnancy-related problems. According to the 1996 Nepal Family Health Survey maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to be 539 per 100,000 live births, which was the highest among the South-Asian countries at that time. Some of the causes for maternal mortality are marriages at an early age, frequent births etc. The custom of early child marriage is prevalent in the remote areas of Nepal. This leads to women  conceiving when they are not mentally ready. Prenatal care is a necessity to reduce maternal mortality. Financial problems, delay in medical assistance, cultural beliefs, transport are some of the reasons that lead to maternal mortality. Moreover women in Nepal,  are pressurized to do the household chores and work in the fields which demands physical strength.

The Millennium Development Goals(2010) shows that more rural women have received skilled assistance during delivery, as compared to the women in the urban areas. In Southern Asia, for example, urban women were three times more likely to receive professional care at childbirth in 1990 but  by 2008, they were only twice as likely to receive such care, indicating some improvement.

Family planning can ensure a decrease in maternal mortality. Due to lack of education it is challenging for Family planning services to reach to the poorest areas.  Surveys held in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa indicate that contraceptive use to avoid or delay pregnancy is least among rural women, among women with no schooling and those living in the poorest areas of the nation.But, The Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2006 showed Nepal’s Maternal Mortality Rate as 281 per 100,000 live births, a decrease by almost 50% (Suwal, 2008). For this significant progress and commitment towards improving maternity health goal under the MDG-5, Nepal was honoured at the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Review Summit. Also, in many countries like Nepal, the provision of safe abortion has been legalized as an interventional approach for reducing maternal death.

Maternal mortality is a serious issue which needs to be dealt with effectively. And therefore countries like Nepal, where there is huge disparities in class, can reduce the maternal mortality rate by creating awareness to use contraceptives, legalizing safe abortion, giving financial incentive for women who deliver babies in health institutions etc, Also, the need for education should be emphasized.Millennium Development Goal, improve maternal health, targets to reduce maternal mortality by 75% and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.  But the developing countries are yet slow to meet the targets.



nepal- maternal health