Wed, Oct 18, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Asia struggles to reduce childbirth deaths

Thomson Reuters Foundation, BANGKOK

Meanwhile, the maternal mortality rate has been almost flat in the past 25 years in the Philippines, a wealthier nation than Afghanistan. In 2015, there were 114 deaths for every 100,000 births with 2,700 women dying in childbirth, despite an increase in skilled birth attendants and access to anti-natal care.

A law was passed in 2012 insuring access to contraception, sexual education and maternal care, but it has been mired in legal challenges, UNFPA country director in the Philippines Klaus Beck said.

The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country where teenage pregnancies are not falling, which Beck said could also impact maternal mortality with the risk for mothers under the age of 15 in low and middle income countries double that for older women.

“The absence of a legal framework ... to provide access to family planning, particularly for the poorest, has always been a stumbling block for many, many years,” in the archipelago, Beck said.

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