Indonesia Still Haunted by High Number of Maternal and Post-Natal Deaths

By : Jakarta Globe | on 11:56 AM January 29, 2014
Category : Health

HIV Clinic 04_preview Nurses at work in the HIV integrated care unit of Cipto Mangunkusumo government hospital in Jakarta on November 30, 2012. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Indonesia is facing setbacks in achieving its Millennium Development Goal of reducing the maternal mortality rate, due to a lack of health services for women during pregnancy.

Indonesia’s goal under the MDGs was to bring post-natal deaths to 102 per 100,000 live births by the end of 2015. But the rate stood at 359 deaths per 100,000 live births as of 2012, according to the Indonesian Demographic and Health Survey from last September. The maternal mortality rate increased from 220 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“Severe post-natal bleeding has been the main cause of maternal mortality in Indonesia,” said Dwiana Ocviyanti, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital, at a talk sponsored by Sari Husada, a producer of milk for women and children.

Severe bleeding — which could lead to death in 10 minutes — is avoidable if the mother gets regular checkups during her pregnancy.

“This highlights a lack of access to health services during pregnancy or during birth,” said Dwiana, noting there were still many areas in Indonesia that did not have access to physicians or midwives to aid in childbirth.

Pre-eclampsia, or seizures during pregnancy, and infection are also significant causes of post-natal death, Dwiana said.

“Prenatal checkups are important, especially during the third trimester,” said Widjaja Lukito, a lecturer of nutrition studies at the University of Indonesia, at the Sari Husada discussion.

In the third trimester, a pregnant woman should perform a blood check to discover whether she is anemic or has high blood pressure, he explained. Anemia during pregnancy can affect the woman’s flow of blood to her brain, while high blood pressure could lead to severe blood loss during birth.

“Reducing the maternal mortality rate is not a single institution’s job. Education and awareness are two important issues we should build on and develop together,” Dwiana said.

However, the SDKI survey, conducted by the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN) and the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), shows an improvement in maternal services as 96 percent of women received prenatal care in 2012, up from 93 percent in 2007.

The survey shows that the number of maternal deaths was the highest in the 25-to-29-year age group, with 467 deaths per 100,000 live births. Basten Gokkon

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