High maternal mortality rates are threatening Cambodia’s ability to achieve its Millennium Development Goal of 250 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015, officials and rights workers said yesterday.
Speaking at a conference on women in the capital yesterday, Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi said that improving the maternal mortality rate posed a formidable challenge to Cambodia.
“Maternal mortality rates are still high [in Cambodia] compared with other countries in the region,” Ing Knatha Phavi said.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia, said at the conference that last year there were 461 deaths per 100,000 live childbirths, which represented an increase from the 2008 rate of 437 deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Mothers are dying during childbirth because of a lack of health services, midwives and medicine even though maternal health care services are improving,” she said.
Ros Sopheap added that the number of births supervised by skilled birth attendants was increasing and that more women were seeking prenatal health care.
Kum Kanal, director of the National Maternity and Child Health Centre, said that maternal mortality was “not improving”.
“We’re still experiencing difficulties, despite our best efforts to provide access to proper health care,” he said.