The maternal mortality rate is considered one of the most important indicators of a nation's development. In the Millennium Development Goals 198 countries renewed their commitment to reduce the maternal mortality by 75% by 2015.
Impact of Maternal Mortality in Developing Countries Host: Every year according to the World Health Organization over 529,000, women worldwide die in childbirth and in pregnancy. For over 20 years, governments, UN agencies and NGOs have pledged to bring down the number of women dying. Maternal mortality rate is considered one of the most important indicators of a nation’s development. Now in the millennium development goals, 189 countries renewed their commitments into 2000 to reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. Joy Phumaphi: Right now, you will find that the pursuits, the development and the promotion of this minimum development group is they are proud to hold and of development projects and this is because we now appreciate that without addressing maternal mortality reduction and strengthening systems to support this essential element of human health. We are not going to achieve sustainable development in the effective economies. Host: In developed countries, WHO’s statistic showed that a mother’s risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is one in every 2800. In Bangladesh, the risk is 1 in 59. The Bangladesh Health Ministries are acutely aware of the problems. Mizanur Rahman: In my country, 130 million people is very technical problem all over country. So in the levels in the country, it is still what we’re trying to go up but still and there is a lot of problems and what about the 90% in the delivery of women in the home which is not at all nicely attended. So what we’re trying to find out this delivery system. Host: The tragedies of maternal mortality don’t end with the death of individual women. The families they leave behind especially the children go on suffering the consequences. Before Majuda’s (ph) death, Bala’al (ph) used to work in a factory. After her death, he remarried and had two more children. But then he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed waist down and his family life deteriorated. Male: After I got married again, in the beginning she love my children a lot. But now she has started causing trouble with them. For wonder, peace and quiet, my daughter has left the house and I've started taking my son with me. Host: Bala’al now supports his family by begging. His younger son, Farouk accompanies him while he begs. Bala’al’s loyalties are divided between his two families. Suneeta Mukherjee: If her mother dies, what happens to her new baby? What happens to her siblings? What happens to the community on some you're not charge would be levied? What happens to the husband? How does he proceed with his life? Who looks after the children? Now the richer people may be able to afford better healthcare and maybe somebody to take care of the children. But the poor people, they’re just getting to worst poverty and it becomes a vicious circle. Host: The death of Bala’al’s first wife, Majuda has had a profound effect on his children. Bala’al’s 13-year-old daughter is now a housemaid and seldom returns home. His 15-year-old son, Masud collects scrap and works fulltime. With their education cut short, their chances for the future remain bleak. Suneeta Mukherjee: Maternal mortality, I mean just imagine, if all mothers died at birth, what would have our lives been. A nation cannot progress with mothers dying in large numbers, 99% of maternity deaths take place in developing countries and most of them are preventable. Host: A few kilometers down the road in the heart of the city is the Dhaka Medical Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Bangladesh. Because 90% of births traditionally happen at home, the Bangladeshi women who do end up here are emergency cases rushed into the obstetric ward when things go wrong. Often though, it’s too late. One in six maternal deaths is caused by eclampsia. Eclampsia or fits is caused by high blood pressure. But it’s easily preventable if detected early. With the majority of Bangladeshi births taking place at home, by the time women are brought to the eclampsia unit here, most lose their babies, many die and others suffer permanent brain damage or paralysis. While maternal mortality is a key development indicator in poor countries, maternal morbidities, the disabilities that result from birth complications are often overlooked. A recent WHO report shows that more than 15 million women worldwide suffer from poor reproductive health and maternal morbidities. In Bangladesh alone, the UN population fund estimate 6 million women suffer from maternal mobilities such as fistula. Sayeba Akhter: When a woman dies, 16 much more women suffer from many disabilities like obstetric fistula that means hole in the bladder and rectum. There maybe prolapse of the uterus, uterus descends and hanged outside. There are maybe chronic pelvic pains. They may suffer from pain. They cannot work properly. They cannot stay with the husband because they have difficult intercourse. And sometimes, that leaves to breakdown of women and many maternal infertility infections to women became infected. Host: Doctor Sayeba Akhter has done more than 250 operations on women with obstetric fistula. Today is 22_year-old Monera’s first operation. Sayeba Akhter: When I talk about the maternal morbidity, maternal morbidity is not a physical or medical problem only. But it has a large social impact. It has impacts on psychological and social entertainment. Many women had maternal morbidities. She cannot continue the proper family lives. She became the outcast of the family. Host: One such outcast is 22-year-old Rena. Over the past eight years, she and her four-year-old daughter have become familiar figures of the Dhaka Medical Hospital. Rena was married when she was 13. By the age of 14, Rena was pregnant and had an obstructed delivery which ruptured her vagina. Her first baby died. Rena developed fistula and lose control of her bowel and bladder movements. She's already had six operations but still not cured. Like many young girls whose pelvic bones are under developed, obstructed delivery left Rena damaged. Rena: My husband’s family was very unkind to me. They say things like what use is this wife. She can't make a family. She can't do anything. What good is she to us? But it was only my husband’s family that was like this.