“According to the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) State of the World’s Children Report 2008, Bangladesh has the worst maternal mortality rate (MMR) in South Asia at 570 per 100,000 live births.
In comparison, the rates in neighbouring India and Pakistan are 450 and 320 respectively, the report states.
According to Bangladesh’s 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, 21,000 mothers die annually of pregnancy and childbirth-related causes, principally because skilled birth attendants account for just 13 percent of all deliveries in Bangladesh, according to government health experts.
The problem is particularly pronounced in rural areas, where more than 75 percent of the country’s 150 million inhabitants live.
“Eighty percent of maternal deaths happen in the countryside,” said Sabera Khatun of the department of gynaecology and obstetrics at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka. “Medical facilities have not reached the rural areas as extensively as they should.”
Most women die of haemorrhaging, followed by anaemia, hypertensive disorders, obstructed labour and abortion, explained Ferdousi Begum of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.”