SUCCESS STORY: Indonesian maternal mortality rate decreases by 17 per cent

Posted: 20 May 2004

Efforts to reduce maternal mortality in Indonesia have paid off, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Health. Maternal deaths have fallen by 17 per cent since the launch of the programme, Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH).

Haemorrhaging in childbirth has also fallen steeply. Experts had predicated a postpartum haemorrhage rate of 18 per cent, but the actual figure was below 2 per cent.

Director General of Public Health in the Ministry of Health Azrul Azwar attributed the decline to an increase in the number of trained mid-wives.

Data from the Ministry of Health shows that 61,000 midwives were spread throughout the country in 2003, increasing the number of births attended by skilled midwives from 43.2 per cent in 1997, to 66.2 per cent in 2003.

The Programme was started in West Java, in Cirebon and Kuningan regencies and Cirebon city, which had high incidences of maternal mortality.

The programme is now being replicated in East Java, North and South Sumatra, South Kalimantan and West Nusa Tenggara.

The $21 million MNH programme aims to improve performance and quality, change behaviour and promote new policies.

JHPIEGO country director, Abdulah Choli, hopes that the programme's positive outcome could help achieve the government's aim of reducing the mortality rate to 125 per 100,000 births, by 2010.

The MNH programme, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and carried out by the Ministry of Health and Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Reproductive Health (JHPIEGO).

Source: Jakarta Post reported in Push Journal, 18/May/04.