Dec 27, Colombo: According to report handed over to the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Sri Lanka's rate of maternal deaths due to child birth is the lowest in South Asia.
According to the report, 112 maternal deaths have been reported in 2016 and the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) - the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in a given period-was 33.8.
The 2016 Maternal Death analytical report was presented to Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Rajitha Senaratne by Director Maternal and Child Health of Family Health Bureau (FHB) Dr. Priyani Senadeera and Public Health Specialist Kapila Jayaratne yesterday (26).
While the maternal mortality rate in Sri Lanka has remained the same for the last 7 years, direct maternal death rate had increased in comparison to previous year, and it marks 55 percent of the total maternal deaths reported.
Post-viral hemorrhage, heart disease, and gastrointestinal mucosal bleeding have been identified as the main causes of death.
Out of the 112 maternal deaths, 68 percent were results of various delays. Other reasons were not seeking medical advice at the appropriate time and not making regular visits to hospitals.
According to the report 43 percent of mothers have died due to not receiving proper medical treatment and 20 mothers have died due to lack of a proper family planning system, the Health Ministry said.
The Health Ministry also said that delays in Health staff have directly or indirectly contributed to the death of 44 mothers.
The report pointed out that 55 percent of the reported maternal deaths could have been avoided.
At the meeting with the Health Minister a number of policy decisions were taken on the measures that would be required to prevent such deaths.
It has been decided to broadly scrutinize each maternal death by a non-fault-finding commission with the participation of all health staff in the fields, hospitals, district and national levels.
Sri Lanka Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists will provide main technical support to the commission and Association of Sri Lanka Anesthetists Doctors and the Association of Judicial Medical Doctors of Sri Lanka will also provide technical assistance.
Director General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Deputy Director General of Health Services, Sunil De Alwis and Director General of Health Services Hemantha Beneragama, Chairman of the Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Sri Lanka, Prof Deepal Weerasekara Specialist Dr. Ramya Amarasena representing the Association of Anesthesiologists of Sri Lanka and medical officers participated in the occasion..