Promoting Safer Childbirth

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Despite recent internal conflict, Sri Lanka has emerged as a success story in promoting safer childbirth. The country's significant decline in maternal deaths will be presented today at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) South Asia Day.

... Despite the country's meagre healthcare budget, its maternal and child health indicators are vastly more favourable than what would be expected.

The maternal mortality ratio of Sri Lanka has declined dramatically as a direct result of the availability of midwives and trained assistance at birth - from 340 per 100,000 live births in 1960 to 43 per 100,000 live births in 2005.

Dr. Hemantha Senanayake, from the University of Colombo, said "The most important contribution to maternal and child care has come from Sri Lankan midwives ...

"Every household in Sri Lanka belongs to a designated Public Health Midwife (PHM) area and the norm is for the PHM to provide home-based care. During the past few decades the Government has made a policy decision to increase the number of midwives. The number of women having a minimum of 4 antenatal visits has reached 99%."

Let's hope that with the proposed changes in this country, for maternity care, that women are not denied access to skilled and competent midwifery care for home birth.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448