KUCHING: New strategies should be formulated to further reduce maternal mortality in the country, Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud says.
He said this could be done through sharing ideas and experiences at meetings such as the 24th Asian and Oceanic Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AOCOG) being held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.
Opening the congress on Thursday, Taib said the maternal mortality rate in Malaysia had decreased from over 700 deaths in every 100,000 maternities in 1947 to about 29 deaths per 100,000 maternities today.
“Even though the figures may appear impressive, we are continuously facing stagnation and challenges to further reduce these numbers,” he said.
Taib also said the leading cause of deaths in Malaysia had changed from post-partum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia to thrombo-embolism and other medical disorders in pregnancy.
He said the reduction in occurrences of former causes of death was mainly due to national efforts in producing standard guidelines and training in managing medical problems locally.
Over 1,000 obstetricians and gynaecologists are attending the four-day congress jointly hosted by the Asia and Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AOFOG) and the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM).
AOCOG 2015 congress president Dr Ravi Chandran said a community fellowship programme was introduced at this year’s event, allowing 24 young gynaecologists from 12 countries to work alongside Malaysian healthcare providers in rural areas.
“The programme ran for a week prior to the congress. It gave participants the opportunity to experience the healthcare system we have in place,” he said.
He added that the participants were also able to enjoy the Gawai Dayak festival at a traditional homestay in Mongkos at the end of the programme.
At AOCOG 2015, healthcare professionals are able to share the latest scientific developments, best practices and innovation in improving women’s health.
Core topics to be discussed include safety in childbirth, high-risk pregnancy, medico-legal issues, infertility and contraception.
During the opening ceremony, the AOFOG Fellowship was conferred on Prof Pak-Chung Ho from Hong Kong and Dr Ng Soon-Chye from Singapore for outstanding contribution to women’s health.
Young Scientist Awards were presented to Dr Iori Kisu and Dr Ayumi Taguchi from Japan and Dr Wing-Hung Tam from Hong Kong.