Study: More mothers dying each year [Archives:2007/1026/Local News]

February 19 2007

Jamal Al-Najjar
SANA'A, Feb. 16 ) Over 3,000 mothers die each year during pregnancy and delivery due to the deterioration of Yemen's medical care services and economic problems, according to a study presented by the Women National Committee.

The government has issued a Free Delivery decree three times and the issue was first addressed in 1999, but last year there were still deaths involving 365 mothers out of 100,000.

The current study is a follow-up to the third decree issued in 2006 it was done in cooperation with Oxfam.

As part of the decree all women giving birth are exempt from fees in public hospitals and medical centers and the study examined the progress in the governorates of Sana'a, Aden, Hodeida, Shabwa, Amran and Lahj and also the nearby rural areas.

According to the study several reasons stand behind the high rate of maternal death during pregnancy and delivery. The lack of medical care tops the list of difficulties along with the people's poverty and also the mismanagement by health ministry officials.

The study listed the problems with most of the medical centers as follows:

– Shortage of required medical


– Lack of basic medicine.

– Small obstetric departments that

are medically inconvenient.

– Absence of continuous training

to enable the staff to perform

well in emergency deliveries.

– Shortages within the

governmental budget.

– Mismanagement and absence of

active transfer systems.

– Staff not given financial


– Labor services are very weak.

The study points out that the miserable condition in the medical centers of the rural areas force people to go to public hospitals in cities putting a heavy burden on those obstetrical departments. Therefore, 91 percent of normal deliveries and 99 percent of all delivery cases involving caesarean section occur in urban public hospitals.

Concerning delivery fees, the study maintains that the average cost of a normal delivery is YR 2,750 and the cost of ceasaren section delivery is YR 21,800 in addition to transportation costs creating an obstacle for people living in rural areas.

Medicine prices represent roughly 50 percent of the total cost of deliveries. This amount of money is considered very high by most people in hospital investigated by the study. As a consequence 64 percent of the maternal mortality rate occurs at home because of the high costs such as transportation, medicine and the delivery fees in hospitals.

The study confirms that even though the “Free Delivery”” decree had first been issued in 1999 and then affirmed in 2003 and 2006 by Ministry of Public Health