Unsafe MR, abortion lead to higher maternal mortalityStaff Correspondent
Unsafe menstruation regulation and abortion contribute to keeping the maternal mortality rate high in the country as statistics show an estimated 572,000 women suffer from complications from unsafe abortion every year.
Couples should be aware of family planning methods to avoid unwanted pregnancy and this awareness can help reduce the rates of MR and abortion in the society, health experts said at the launching ceremony of Saving Women from Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe MR project held at a city hotel on Thursday.
According to the statistics of the Association for Prevention of Septic Abortion, Bangladesh, an estimated 653,100 MR procedures and 646,600 inducted abortions were carried out at the country’s health service facilities in 2010.
The 2010 data also show at least 102 deaths resulting from abortion complications took place at health facilities, mainly medical college hospitals and district hospitals.
The number undercounts the true prevalence of abortion-related deaths, as the data does not include the deaths taking place outside the facilities and misclassification or underreporting of abortion-related deaths at those, said the experts.
MR complications are caused by improper use of manual vacuum aspiration, or MVA, equipment, use of non-sterilized equipment, use of a MVA syringe for more than the recommended 50 times, and other unhygienic practices, they said.
The three-year project funded by The Netherlands government will be implemented by non-governmental organisations. It is mainly focused on capacity-building and creating awareness of both health service providers and the people on issues related to unwanted pregnancy and unsafe MR and abortion.
Marie Stopes Society senior director of programme development Kazi Golam Rasul said the project would also emphasise family planning, but ‘We won’t provide the services to women directly’.
Kazi Golam said people would be made aware through the communities to come to health service facilities for safe MR in time, within 10 weeks of conception. ‘It is another reason why people go to unsafe places, as our law does not permit abortion after 10 weeks of conception if the mother does not suffer from any physical complications,’ he said.
It takes only a few minutes to conduct an MR, Kazi Golam said. But, refused by the health facilities, women go to the informal health service sector to get the service, he added.
Health minister AFM Ruhal Haque formally inaugurated the project. He called on the project implementing NGOs to create awareness among the grassroots people and health workers on the issues concerned.
Accidents happen due to field-level health workers’ lack of knowledge about the range of complications that may arise during pregnancy, said the minister.
Director general of health services Khandaker M Shefyetullah also addressed the session.
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