Laos maternal death rate falls but still at high level: report

VIENTIANE (Xinhua): The maternal death rate dropped by 78 per cent between 1990 and 2015 in Laos, but the number is still high at 185 maternal deaths per 100,000, according to United Nations estimates.

Most maternal deaths in Laos result from complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth.

A recent workshop on the issue reviewed the Maternal Death Surveillance and Response report and the goal to reach zero preventable maternal deaths by 2030 through cooperation between the Lao Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The review of the report on maternal deaths was seen as essential to strengthen management systems at the national and sub-national levels and to identify ways to improve emergency obstetric care and antenatal care for women and girls, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday (April 7).

Director General of the Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation under Lao Ministry of Health, Khamphoua Soutthisombat, said maternal mortality monitoring will assist leaders, policymakers, budget owners and service providers at all levels to understand the realities of women's and children's needs to better address them in the future.

Maternal Death Surveillance and Response promotes routine identification and timely notification of maternal deaths and is a form of continuous surveillance linking health information system and quality improvement processes from local to national level.

UNFPA Representative in Laos Mariam A. Khan, said "to end maternal mortality, timely and comprehensive review of maternal deaths followed by prompt response plan and actions is essential... The strong commitment of the Ministry of Health and provincial, district and community counterparts to learn from and improve future response can make a strong impact on reducing maternal deaths."

UNFPA will continue to partner with the Lao health ministry and national partners in the areas of family planning and skilled birth attendance to meet the government's commitments and leave no woman and no girl behind, the daily quoted the representative as saying.

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