Childbearing becomes unavoidable if the world must continue to exist. However, this has its associated cost, which can lead to maternal mortality, particularly in developing countries. Minimizing this cost has been one the focal points of the world development agenda such as the Sustainable Development Goals. What role can micro factors at individual, household, and community levels play in achieving this?
By Yahaya Yakubu
The inception of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 sought to reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by 75% between 1990 and 2015 as one of its many goals. In 2015, the World, developing regions, and developed regions only reduced the MMR by 44% (from 385 to 216), 44% (430 to 239), and 57% (23 to 12) respectively.
Threat of high morality prevalent in developing countries
Out of the 303,000 global maternal deaths in 2015, 99% occurred in developing countries, with sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia contributing 67% and 22% of the deaths in the developing regions respectively. To reduce this seemingly unabated scourge of high maternal mortality, particularly in the developing countries, the various factors that are associated with maternal death need to be identified. Hence, a systematic review of empirical studies on factors at individual and household levels was conducted.
Identifying the factors associated with maternal death
In their systematic review recently published in Reviews on Environmental Health, the authors show that individual, household, and community factors that are significantly and dominantly associated with maternal mortality in literature are: education, fertility level, maternal age at birth, women status, income/poverty, access to electricity, and access to improved water sources and sanitation.
These factors are therefore necessary impetus for curtailing the seemingly globally unabated maternal mortality. Paying attention to these factors by policy makers is of utmost importance, particularly with the over-ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in focus.
Factors in and around women must be improved
“The world might decide to pump as much funds it can afford into building maternal healthcare centers to reduce maternal deaths, but this can be of no effect if factors around and within the potential victims are not improved,” explains Yahaya Yakubu one of the article’s authors.
Hence, the study therefore gives focal insight to particularly developing countries who account for 99% of the world maternal deaths, on the other dimension of reducing maternal mortality, and on which synergies should be channeled towards, in order to timely achieve the SDGs’ target of maternal mortality.
The study therefore suggests that more effort should be channeled to improving the micro factors by developing countries to pave way for the timely achievement of the SDGs’ MMR target.
Featuring and understanding the individual and household factors that influence maternal death redirect and diversify policies from much concentration on macro factors such building of healthcare centres to a more encompassing policies to include both the health and the non-health sectors.
Read the original article here: