High Maternal Mortality Rates in Laos

Introduction

Maternal mortality is also known as maternal death or “obstetrical death refers to the death of a woman during or shortly after a pregnancy” (Arkutu, 1995). Globally the maternal rate was approximated to stand at 345, 000 in 2008 down from 526, 350 in 1980 out of the total deaths, less than 1.0% are in developed countries. Although efforts have been made to curb the problem, some countries still experience astounding maternal mortality rates such as Laos. The paper contains the purpose or goal of a health program, strategies or interventions that are evidence for its efficacy and feasibility, program objective outputs as well as indicators.

Two major problems that will be the centre of this paper include lack of or inadequate IES activities on RH services; no or little effort to distribute information and lack of knowledge on the availability of services, as well as possible adverse consequences of not seeking care as a result of low education level and lack of family and community support.

Purpose and goal of the program

The primary purpose of the program is to reduce direct clinical causes such as haemorrhage, sepsis infection, unsafe abortion, hypertension as well as obstructed labour. It is thus worth noting that the goal is, therefore, to “reduce the maternal mortality rate in Laos”. The factors that result in maternal mortality that can be corrected and changed successfully are taken from the problem of facing women who are pregnant or are potential mothers in the future. This helps in the creation of objectives and the selection of interventions or strategies to curb the problems.

Choosing the best interventions or strategies

Problem 1 is a lack of knowledge on the availability of services, as well as possible adverse consequences of not seeking care. This is attributed to the fact that there is a low education level among these categories of women and a lack of family and community support (Arkutu, 1995).

Strategies: To tackle this problem there is a need to initiate an education program in health that is effective, acceptable and easily accomplished in the target group. For a start, the government or non-governmental organization needs to pull resources together with the desire to teach pregnant women about the available services in health centres for them, the benefits of seeking medical attention as well as the serious consequences of not having such services. For a long term solution, it would be better if girls who have attained puberty in schools were taught the same (Thaddeus & Maine, 1994). This will instil in them the culture of seeking medical attention whenever they are pregnant. It has been established that the family and the community from where an individual comes from play a major role in ensuring that the individual is supported fully when it comes to seeking health attention as well as adhering to the doctor’s prescriptions.

However, it is worth noting that poverty is a hindrance to effectively educating the community, family members and expectant individuals. There is thus a need for the government to pump in money to support such initiatives. Additionally, is called for the affected individuals as well as the community to have in place a livelihood creation program from where income can be generated (Thaddeus & Maine, 1994).

Additionally, it would be better if there is in place a program that will offer expectant mothers home-based outreach services especially to those individuals living in extreme poverty, who experience poor road networks. This will save them from travelling a long distance which eventually aggravates the problem. In a situation where the road network is somehow better and the affected individuals come from lower-income regions, it would be rational for the government to provide free transport services to expectant mothers (Koblinsky, 2003).

Problem 2 is lack of or inadequate IES activities on RH services; no or little effort to distribute information.

Strategies/interventions: relevant stakeholders in the ministry of health in collaboration with a non-governmental organization interested in curbing maternal mortality should join efforts to come up with suitable and applicable IES activities on reproductive health. This is not enough as the same need to be extensively distributed. The latter can be accomplished through various media of communication such as print, radio as well as television in terms of commercials (Costello, 2006).

Program objective, output, and indicators

The major objective of the program is to improve the knowledge and attitude of 80% of females towards seeking antenatal care during pregnancy. Similarly:

  1. Within one year from this intervention, it is expected that above 70% of expectant mothers will be aware of the benefits associated with seeking antenatal medication attention.
  2. Adequate IES activities on reproductive health will be fully developed after six months and the same adequately distributed through various available media such as brochures.
  3. Within 18 months, women in high need areas will have been reached with mobile antenatal services and those having access to a better road network provided with free transport by the government to attend a clinic.

References

Arkutu, A. (1995). Healthy women, healthy mothers: an information guide. New York: Family Care International.

Costello, A. (2006). An alternative study to reduce maternal mortality. The Lancet, 368(9546): 1477–1479.

Koblinsky, M. (2003). Reducing maternal mortality: learning from Bolivia, China, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica and Zimbabwe. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. ISBN: Web.

Thaddeus, S. & Maine, D. (1994). Too far to walk: Maternal mortality in context. Social Science & Medicine, 38(8): 1091–1110.