Indonesia to provide poor with safer maternal care

The Indonesian government announced it would fund deliveries performed by skilled birth attendants for three million poor women in 2011 in a bid to reduce the maternal mortality rate.

 

Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said many maternal deaths could be attributed to the use of traditional unskilled birth attendants. “We will fund local governments to provide resources and services, such as skilled health professionals, and up-to-standard hospitals and health centres,” she said, opening a conference addressing the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Under the current health system, only 5 percent of Indonesia’s five million poor pregnant women receive government assistance for deliveries, according to the ministry.

 

The nation of 240 million is off-track in meeting its target to reduce the maternal mortality rate to 102 per 100,000 live births by 2015, the Indonesia Maternal Health Assessment reports. The current rate is 228 per 100,000 live births, six times the rate in neighbouring Malaysia.