WOMEN’S Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi is set to tell a global conference on maternal health that Cambodia is not on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal for lowering the maternal death rate.
She will also call for more action on the part of “global leaders” and donors to address the problem, according to a copy of a prepared speech posted on the conference’s website.
Her remarks, prepared for a forum of health and finance ministers from more than 30 countries with high maternal mortality rates at the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington, notes that Cambodia is falling behind its neighbours in ensuring safe deliveries.
The national MDG calls for the maternal mortality rate to be reduced to 140 deaths for every 100,000 live births by 2015.
“With a maternal mortality ratio of 461, Cambodia ranks among the highest in the region, and we are not likely to reach our goal,” she states.
The conference, billed by its organisers as the largest ever conference on maternal health, bringing together 3,500 participants from 140 countries, began Monday and ends today.
In her statement, Ing Kantha Phavi cites factors contributing to Cambodia’s high maternal mortality rate, including the limited availability of emergency obstetric care, newborn care, services to ensure the safe termination of pregnancies, midwives and infrastructure.
“The benefits are clear,” she says of heightened attention to the issue. “Keeping women healthy and educated has human rights benefits for women, as well as education, health, nutritional, and social benefits for their children. Society as a whole benefits.”
Chan Theary, executive director of the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance, said she hopes the conference will help focus action from donors and other partners on the issue of maternal mortality.
“I think we need to have a concrete plan and implement this plan,” she said, and added that increased funding is also required.
However she said she is optimistic that the MDG for maternal mortality can still be reached.
“I think right now the government is giving this issue more attention, and that if donors, government and other partners all work together, we can achieve this goal,” she said.