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New office to record maternal death stats

New office to record maternal death stats

THE Ministry of Health plans to set up a central office in Phnom Penh to track the number of women who die during pregnancy, in a move aimed at combating the Kingdom’s troublingly high maternal mortality rate, officials said Tuesday.

A centralised bureau tracking maternal deaths will allow authorities to pull together precise data on the issue, Health Minister Mam Bunheng told reporters at a news conference.

“We will order all hospitals and health centres to inform the central office when maternal deaths happen,” said Mam Bunheng. “We will have figures on the number of women who die, as well as where and when these deaths take place.”

Officials are hoping the data can be used to figure out where resources will best be placed.

The information “will support a more systematic approach to building more health centres, midwives and hospitals in communities” where the mortality rate is high, Mam Bunheng said.

The 2008 national census pegged the country’s maternal mortality rate at 461 for every 100,000 live births – one of the highest rates in the region.

In December, officials announced they would build “waiting houses” near rural health centres, aimed at ensuring that pregnant women do not have to travel long distances to receive treatment.