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‘Maternal death rate still high’

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Despite live birth maternal mortalities in Cambodia have decreased significantly, the rate is still considered high, a UNFPA report released on Wednesday showed. Photo supplied

‘Maternal death rate still high’

The UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) released a report on Wednesday, showing that although live birth maternal mortalities in Cambodia have decreased significantly, the rate was still considered high.

However, the UNFPA said that real progress had been made in the Kingdom since the UN agency’s founding in 1994.

The State of World Population 2019 report shows that maternal mortalities have decreased from more than 900 among 100,000 live births in 1994 to 170 deaths today, and while the contraceptive prevalence rate had increased from 19 per cent in 2000 to 39 per cent in 2014, more needed to be done.

“The modern contraceptive prevalence rate was 39 per cent in 2014, 33 per cent in the city and 40 per cent in the countryside,” the report said. The UNFPA considered the figures as low.

“When a woman does not have a right to choose, her ability to capitalise on her skills and education are eroded, as are so many other key aspects of her life, including the power to decide whether and when to get married and whether and when to become pregnant,” UNFPA representative Rizvina de Alwis said.

Or Vandin, the director-general of the Health Technical Department at the Ministry of Health, said efforts are being made to further bring down the childbirth mortality rate.

“The Ministry of Health, along with the UNFPA, are collaborating on health education for our young people. Our efforts have been made on the recommendations of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and we are further strengthening the capacities of our officials."

“People themselves must also be aware of the risks during labour, and they must come for pregnancy check-ups to maintain the health of the mother and unborn child alike,” she said.

The UNFPA report found that 12 per cent of newly married Cambodian women had unmet needs for family planning services, and there had been a decline in women’s knowledge, particularly those aged between 15 and 17, on HIV/AIDS.

The adolescent (15 to 19 years old) birth rate had increased by 44 in 1,000 young women in 2000 to 57 in 1,000 in 2015, while there was a 29.1 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate among newly married women aged between 15 and 19, the UNFPA said.

The UNFPA said the human rights movement that began in the 1960s had helped millions of women across the world to change their lives by empowering them to govern their own bodies and shape their own futures. But the world must work harder to ensure the reproductive and sexual rights of all people.

“Women and girls still face economic and social barriers every step of the way towards rights and choices."

“The efforts of the reproductive rights movements have dramatically reduced the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, which have paid the way for the healthier and more productive lives of untold millions of women,” the UNFPA said.

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