Maternal Mortality on the Rise in East Kalimantan
Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi has expressed concern about the high maternal mortality rate in East Kalimantan, blaming provincial authorities of not doing enough to address the issue.
“We are concerned that the maternal mortality rate in East Kalimantan was 90 per 100,000 births in 2010, but in 2011 the rate increased to 106,” she said in Balikpapan on Friday.
The figure is nearly twice the national average. The minister also cited other provinces’ success in getting their maternal mortality rates down.
The high mortality rate, she went on, was also linked to the high total fertility rate in the province, which is nearly twice the national average of 2.6.
“So in East Kalimantan, a single mother has an average of five children. This is too many. The government has a target of getting the TFR down to 2.1 in 2014,” she said.
Nafsiah said cutting the birth rate was not just about population control.
“It’s also about family and social welfare, not just in terms of economic costs, but also health and safety, particularly for mothers delivering babies,” she said.
She added that having too many children was one of the four major factors contributing to the high maternal mortality rate. The other three are underage pregnancy, a short period between pregnancies, and a lack of prenatal health care.
The minister urged the East Kalimantan administration to campaign more aggressively on fighting the province’s high fertility and maternal mortality rates, and encouraged it to improve the quality of hospitals to provide better care for mothers.
East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak said health care had long been one of his top priorities.
“We will boost the quality of all hospitals so they can provide the best, even world-class treatment,” he said.