Experts for creating awareness to prevent maternal mortality
DHAKA, Jan 26, 2022 (BSS) - Asmani Begum, aged about 23, of Alambiditar village under Gangachara Thana in Rangpur, who was nine-month pregnant, started to feel stomach ache suddenly.
Thinking that her labour pain had begun, Asmani called a local midwife for help and started waiting for the appropriate time of delivery by staying at home.
After a while, when her bleeding started profusely, she could not understand what to do. Neither her family nor the midwife could make the right decision of taking her to the hospital.
Finally, Asmani was taken to the local health center as her situation got worse. However, by that time her condition became critical and she succumbed to death.
The on-duty doctor there said, “It would have been possible to save the life of Asmani if she was taken to the hospital or health center immediately after her bleeding started as doctors and health workers have been trained up to handle such problems.”
Doctors said many women are dying during and after childbirth due to such complications. But, the mothers lives would have been saved if awareness was created regarding pregnancy and delivery complications, they opined.
Eminent Gynaecologist Dr. Farhana Dewan said “Mothers die only for two main reasons -- convulsions and bleeding -- during or after childbirth. Convulsions can often occur before and after delivery and that is why regular check-up during pregnancy is important."
Dr Dewan, former Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, opined that it is possible to diagnose whether the expecting mother have any such problem only through check-up.
"Anyone with a suspected convulsion must be admitted to hospital for safe delivery as her death risk is much higher,” she said.
"Besides, bleeding can occur during pregnancy or during or after childbirth,” she said, adding, “So, the mother should be admitted to the hospital instead of trying for home delivery, as doctors in the hospital can take the necessary steps which the skilled or unskilled midwife making deliveries at home does not know.”
However, it is possible to save the life of a mother if she is taken to the hospital or health center as soon as convulsion or bleeding occurs, added Dr Dewan, who is currently working in Central Hospital.
Around 5,200 women die every year in Bangladesh due to complications during pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery, according to statistics of UNICEF.
Most of the mothers die during delivery at home without a doctor or a skilled midwife. In addition, many mothers die due to unavailability of maternity services at hospitals, clinics and health care centers as per schedule.
UNICEF’s adolescent and maternal health expert Abu Sadat Md Sayem said, "Maternal mortality rates can’t be decreased at a satisfactory level as many women in villages don’t go to hospital or health centres, even though sufficient facilities for pregnant women, delivery or childbirth prevails there.”
The government is very much aware of this and that is why it is working in various ways to address the issue, said Dr Azizul Alim, Program manager of Maternal Health Program of Department of Health.
Mentioning that the government provides special training to health workers to reduce maternal mortality rate, he said, “The government has such services in remote areas also and for this, people need to be aware and go to the hospital or health center instead of preparing for delivery at home as all kinds of arrangements exists there.”
Azizul Alim said, “We are working with a number of collaborating partners and they train our workers and conduct researches.”
For example, he said, when a mother dies during childbirth, they prepare a report in detail explaining the cause of death and based on that report, various plans and measures are being taken.
“The government is working sincerely and scientifically to reduce the maternal mortality rate,” he said, mentioning that the government is also providing maternity allowance to the poor and destitute mothers, in 56 districts, so that they can eat properly during pregnancy or receive healthcare services.
In order to reduce the maternal mortality rate, a mother has to follow the rules and be aware of going to the hospital and health center from the period of pregnancy to childbirth, opined the concerned people.