Dec 26, 2012

Madagascar Addresses High Rates of Maternal and Infant Mortality

AUTHOR:Irin NewsSOURCE:Irin News

In a recent article from IRIN News Madagascar has made significant progress in reducing maternal mortality from a high of 710 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 down to 240 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010. Obviously, the number of deaths remain too high but the country's progress must be applauded. Part of its success has been the training of traditional midwives called 'matronnes' who previously did not advocate for mothers to deliver in a health facility. Typically these deliveries took place at home where oftentimes complications occurred from the giving of herbal drinks which led to convulsions, ruptured uterus, etc. These women did not have the opportunity to be in an environment where skilled birth attendants could potentially be capable of handling emergency care. Presently, these matronnes have been able to convince mothers to deliver in health centers and they are being incentivized to do so. Of course, Madagascar faces other hurdles in the health system--namely, a weak infrastructure, lack of equipment, supplies and most importantly-- well-trained staff. The government adopted a national plan to reduce maternal/neonatal mortality in 2008 whereby free services including cesarean sections, to encourage mothers to deliver in health centers. Unfortunately, Madagascar has the highest fertility rate for adolescent women in Africa. Since the fertility rate directly impacts on maternal mortality a greater focus on contraception counseling and famiily planning must be implemented. Life for Mothers emphasizes the need for a holistic and comprehensive strategy to reduce maternal mortality which is not limited to providing a skilled birth attendant at delivery at a well-functioning health center (proper equipment and supplies), reducing fertility rates, but also ensuring that mothers can access these services in spite of challenging conditions (poor roads, absence of vehicles and funds for transport). To read the entire article please click here:

Did you know?

The risk of a woman dying in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 22, as compared to 1 in 7300 in developed regions.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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