Maternal mortality: Still much needs to be done

Dhaka, July 16 – Bangladesh has made a significant progress in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 569 in 1990 to 176 in 2015 with an average annual reduction of 4.7 percent but still much need to be done, shows a recent survey, reports UNB.

The survey findings were shared at a national award giving ceremony for Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) Service held at a city hotel on Sunday.

The ratio of skilled birth attendants also increased from 12 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2014 and of these 37 percent are institutional deliveries, according to the survey findings.

To achieve success in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), MMR should be brought down to 70 percent or less by 2030.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim attended the function jointly organised by the Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) and Unicef. Director General of the Directorate General of Health Service Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad presided over the event.

This year, 56 officials were awarded in recognition of their contributions to the field of EmOC services.

The Health Minister said safe maternity is a constitutional right of every mother and they are working to ensure the safe maternity for all mothers.
“We’ve to inspire all to ensure the safe maternity for all mothers. It’s the responsibility of doctors, nurses and all of us to help each other to achieve this goal,” said Nasim.

The senior health officers have to ensure the work of other workers and staff under his authority and also have to inspire them to work better, he added.

Minister Nasim said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced ‘Nirapod Matri Dibos’ since 1997 for the betterment of the mothers but Bangladesh, after assuming state power Nationalist Party (BNP), in 2001 banned the day. “And now the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) resumed observing the Day after returning to power.”

Posing a question to BNP, Nasim said, “What kind of mentality is this?”

The minister said there is no such country in the world where any specific day is changed with the change of a government. “It was not any political initiative rather it’s an imitative taken for the betterment of mothers.”

Talking about Mukta Moni, the minister said the little girl was fighting with ‘tree-girl’ disease but her parents did not find the proper doctor for her. “Now, the Prime Minister has taken responsibility to bear her treatment cost and the doctors of our country will help her get back to normal life (for Mukta Moni).”

On recruitment of new doctors, the minister said they would appoint another 5,000 doctors immediately.

The best performing EmOC facilities, including medical college hospitals, district hospitals were awarded this time.

To encourage the tremendous efforts of heath service providers to improve the maternal health services, every year the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Unicef organise EmOC award giving ceremony.

UNFPA Bangladesh Reprehensive Iroi Kato, Unicef Bangladesh Representative Sara Bordas Eddy, Canadian High Commissioner Bemoit-Pierre Laramee, Korean Ambassador Ahn Seong-doo, Additional Secretary PH and WHO, MoH&FW Roxana Quader were present at the function.

Sara Bordas Eddy said the ratio of MMR is still high but it is possible for Bangladesh to cut down the ratio of MMR before 2030.

Korean Ambassador Seong-doo said 15 mothers are dying every day in Bangladesh which can be avoided by taking necessary measures.