Maternal Mortality Rates Need to be Alleviated

According to a recent report released on Thursday, December 10, maternal mortality statistics are horrifying and need to be alleviated by the government.

The National Institute of Population Studies conducted a survey to evaluate Pakistan’s progress towards mitigating maternal mortality rates in Pakistan. However, the report suggests that despite a reduction from previous statistics, the rates are still at a high and need to be alleviated with immediate effect.

IN 1990-91, MMR in Pakistan was 234 per 100,000 live births. It has reduced to 186 and is expected to drop to 138 by year 2030. Similarly, the graph shows provincial data of MMR for years 1990, 2020 and the expected number for the year 2030.

While the provincial and federal governments aim at reducing the rates to the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030, it, however, currently stands at an alarming 186 deaths per 100,000 births.

Although antenatal care (ANC) and delivery care coverage in the country are said to be improving and over the past three decades, ANC coverage has improved dramatically from 26 per cent in 1990-91 to 91pc in 2019, the study however observed that 12 per cent of the deaths among ever-married women aged between 15 and 49 years in the previous three years were due to maternal causes.

Moreover, health facilities have improved from 4pc in 1990-91 to 71pc last year, according to the survey report. Regardless of these improvements, 29pc of live births still take place at home, which puts the lives of both mothers and babies at risk.

Pervaiz Ahmed Junejo, the executive director of the National Institute of Population Studies pointed out that the Pakistan Mat­e­rnal Mortality Survey (PMMS) was the first exclusive nationwide survey on maternal mortality in Pakistan.

“The survey report provides the government of Pakistan and its development partners with data for programme managers and policymakers to take evidence-based decisions to improve maternal healthcare nationwide,” he stated.

Maternal mortality is divided into two categories. Direct maternal deaths result “from obstetric complications of the pregnant state (pregnancy, labour and puerperium), from interventions, omissions or incorrect treatment, or from a chain of events resulting from any of the above. Indirect maternal deaths result from non-obstetric complications aggravated by pregnancy.

The report reveals that the majority of maternal deaths (96pc) were direct maternal deaths with the most causes of death including obstetric haemorrhage (41pc) and hypertensive disorders (29pc).

Although there are efforts being made to alleviate maternal mortality in Pakistan, they, however, are not substantial and the facilities need to be ameliorated for Pakistan to meet it’s Sustainable Development Goal.

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