Friday, March 11, 2011

Maternal Deaths in Bangladesh 40% Down

Maternal deaths in Bangladesh have declined from 322 per 100,000 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 percent decline in 9 years, according to a joint survey from Bangladesh Government, USAID, AusAID and UNFPA. This decrease in maternal and birth-related mortality is the result of several combined factors and efforts: better care seeking, successful family planning programs, improved access to and quality of referral-care, a scale up of emergency obstetric care, and increasing education of girls and women. This is a significant progress in the accomplishment Millennium Development Goal 5 (50%reduction in maternal deaths), and the possibility to completely fulfill this goal by 2015. Bangladesh has already been awarded by UN for its advances in other MDGs, particularly in number 4 (reducing child mortality).

Family planning and maternal health have been two development-related priorities for the government of Bangladesh. Several other international agencies and organizations have worked in these fields for more than a decade, so these results could be obtained. USAID in particular has focused its efforts in Bangladesh in family planning, girls' education, disease prevention and childbirth attention. According to Amanda Glassman, Director of Global health Policy, "the results are also a good reminder that investments in family planning and girls’ education drive much of maternal health outcomes, and that USAID investment in social marketing of family planning and health seems to be paying off in improved health."

- David Nebreda