KUCHING: Malaysia needs to improve awareness and accessibility to healthcare to further reduce the country’s maternal mortality rate.
There are now about 26 deaths per 100,000 live births in the country compared with above 50 in 1990.
Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM) secretary-general Dr Thaneemalai Jeganathan said the number of deaths decreased drastically from 1990 to 2000 due to efforts of the Health Ministry.
“We realised then that our maternal deaths were very high. The ministry came out with training programmes for nurses and action plans, such as what to do if a mother encounters bleeding.
“Subsequently there has been a decrease but it is an ongoing process. We are trying to bring it down further,” he said at the 24th Asian and Oceanic Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AOCOG) here on Saturday.
AOCOG 2015 president Dr Ravi Chandran said reducing maternal mortality was a complex matter involving socioeconomic and education status of women, awareness, accessibility and infrastructure.
“When the figure is very high, usually at first it drops quite rapidly, then it gets more and more difficult to reduce the number because it is no longer purely a health issue,” he said.
Dr Jeganathan said ideally the number of deaths should be zero because every life was precious and even developed countries where the rate was less than five deaths were still working to bring it down to zero.
“That should be our aim. No mother should die while delivering a baby,” he said, adding that OGSM was working closely with the Health Ministry to reduce the mortality rate.
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