- General

Maternal Death Surveillance, Response Discussed

The Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) led discussions on the Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) report in Vientiane on Apr 2.

The review of the report on Maternal Deaths 2020 is essential to strengthen management systems at national and subnational levels and to identify the ways to improve emergency obstetric care and antenatal care for women and girls.

There have been significant reductions in maternal and new-born mortality over the last two decades. Laos has reduced maternal death rate by 78 per cent between 1990 and 2015, but the number is still high at 185 maternal deaths per 100,000 according to the UN estimates, resulting mostly from complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth.

“Maternal mortality monitoring is a priority in the National Strategic Plan and Action Plan for Integrated Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health Services 2016-2030. Maternal mortality monitoring will assist leaders, policy makers, budget owners and service providers at all levels to understand the realities of women’s and children’s needs to better address them in the future,” said Dr Khamphao Soudthisombath, the Director-General of Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation (DHR), Ministry of Health.

MDSR promotes routine identification and timely notification of maternal deaths and is a form of continuous surveillance linking health information system and quality improvement processes from local to national level to avoid and respond to the “three delays”: delay in recognizing and seeking care when complications occur, delay in reaching a health facility, and delays in receiving appropriate care within the health facility.

“To end maternal mortality, timely and comprehensive review of maternal deaths followed by prompt response plan and actions is essential. The strong commitment of the Ministry of Health and provincial, district and community counterparts to learn from and improve future response can make a strong impact on reducing maternal deaths,” said Mariam. A Khan, UNFPA Representative in the Lao PDR.

Reducing maternal deaths involves many partners, health department and hospitals leadership, the Lao Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lao Pediatric Association, Lao Association of Midwives, University of Health Sciences, Provincial representatives of health departments as well as development partners: WHO, KOFIH, JICA, WB, ADB, Lao-Lux, Save the Children, Plan International, CHAI, PSI, all who contributed to the discussions.

Quality data, its analysis and remedial actions can accelerate progress towards maternal health targets of the Lao PDR. UNFPA in the Lao PDR will continue to partner with the Ministry of Health and national partners in the areas of family planning, EmOC and skilled birth attendance to meet the government’s commitments to ICPD25 and leaving no woman and no girl behind.

Source: Lao News Agency