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Health - January 30, 2022

More attention needs to protect mothers, newborns

Staff Correspondent: Though antenatal services are now available even in the country’s remote areas, many mothers have been deprived of getting such services due to various reasons, resulting mortality of mothers.
According to statistics of Bangladesh Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey (BMMS-2010), daily 20- 25 mothers suffer from long term complexity in one way or the other after delivery; about 120,000 babies die within 28 days of their birth annually; 57% of under- five babies die within 0-28 days; about 75% of newborns die within seven days of their birth and half of them die within 24 hours of their birth.
About 20 mothers die due to pregnancy related complications daily, most of those can be prevented by taking timely services and measures, said the Survey.
According to UNICEF, bleeding and anaemia are responsible for nutritional related 25% death of mothers, and adolescent motherhood is one of the reasons behind this in Bangladesh.
Child mortality can be reduced if babies are breastfed. According to child health experts, breastfeeding in proper way can reduce child mortality by 20%. Besides, it can increase disease prevention capacity of children.
According to information of Institution of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN), at present 64% of babies are breastfed till six months of their birth. That is to say, 36% babies are being deprived of breastfeeding. Prof. Dr. SK Roy, Chairperson of Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation, said the children deprived of human milk are more vulnerable to infection and frequently they suffer from different diseases. So it is essential to take steps for breastfeeding babies.
It is possible to ensure safe delivery and birth of healthy babies if steps are taken to provide improved and regular healthcare to all the pregnant mothers. As a result, mortality rate of mothers and newborns are reduced. More nutritious and balanced foods should be given to mothers during pregnancy than normal time.
Early marriage, unplanned pregnancy, malnutrition of adolescent mothers, anaemia, bleeding during pregnancy, lack of proper treatment is cited as obstacles to safe motherhood. So, it is needed to be attentive to women before their pregnancy if we want to prevent death of newborns and mothers.
According to Family Planning Department, it is possible to combat the most of deaths among newborns and mothers, caused after delivery, by ensuring proper post-delivery health services.

“Because, 50% deaths of newborns take place within 24 hours of their births, while about 75% happen within seven days of their births. Most of deaths among mothers take place due to bleeding, convulsion and infection after delivery, and most of deaths take place within 24 hours after delivery. Hence, it is important to ensure post-delivery services in the interest of saving mothers’ and newborns’ lives”.

Professor Dr. Sultana Jahan, former chairman of Gynaecology Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said preventing post-delivery infection can become very easier if arrangement is made to give proper training to village level midwives on healthy delivery.

She thinks that such preventable deaths of mothers can be reduced to a large extent through ensuring antenatal checkup of every pregnant mother and by building a well system of delivery in the country.

Mortality rate of under-five children has been declined satisfactorily due to various steps taken by the government. Health services for pregnant women, during delivery and post-delivery time increased to 43% in 2016 from 5% in 2001. Delivery at health centres increased to 47% in 2016 from 23% in 2010.

As per Vision 2021, a target has been fixed to bring mortality rate of mothers down to 1.12% through 4 th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Programme by 2022.

In a bid to attain the target of reduction of mothers’ mortality rate, Bangladesh’s efforts for infrastructural development at all level and ensuring quality of services and enhancing its scope is going on. In Bangladesh, mortality rate of mothers has been reduced by 40% in the last one decade (2001-2010).

Health and Family Welfare Ministry is now working to achieve the target of point 3.2 of SDGs, which calls for solving the problem of preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children by 2030.

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