Every year, 4,720 women die of obstetric complications in Bangladesh, of whom 48% die at home or on way to a hospital, said a recent study.
It is important to increase the rate of delivery at health centres to save the lives of mothers and newborns, said obstetric experts at a programme organised by the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Bangladesh (OGSB), marking Safe Motherhood Day on Tuesday.
"At present, only 50% of deliveries take place in health institutions. The postpartum period is very important because 58% of maternal deaths occur within 24 hours of childbirth, and deliveries by skilled hands at a hospital reduce the risk of maternal mortality during and after delivery," said OGSB President, Professor Ferdousi Begum, presenting the keynote paper at the programme.
Speakers on the occasion said the maternal mortality rate in Bangladesh has decreased a lot as compared to that in 1990. However, the desired target has not yet been reached. To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, maternal mortality has to be reduced to less than 70 for every 100,000 live births, which is currently 163 in Bangladesh.
Immediate past president of OGSB, Prof Dr Sameena Chowdhury, said, "We cannot save many critical patients even after they come to the hospital because hospitals do not yet have an obstetrics critical care unit which should be introduced in large hospitals to reduce maternal mortality."
Former president of SGSB, Prof Rowshan Ara Begum, said targets need to be set in each district to ensure 100% antenatal or prenatal care for pregnant mothers, to minimise the risk of maternal death.
Professor Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, present as chief guest, said there is a set-up for providing safe maternity care at community clinics to tertiary level hospitals.
"Pregnant mothers are given antenatal care, like folic acid and iron tablets at 38,000 community clinics. They also report critical cases to district and divisional hospitals. Through this chain – from community clinics to tertiary level hospitals – we hope to succeed in reducing maternal mortality," he added.