Monday, January 19, 2009


East Timorese at severe risk in childbirth

January 19, 2009, smh

WOMEN in East Timor are 380 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in Australia, says a report that highlights the huge discrepancies in maternal health care across the region.

The UNICEF 2009 State of the World's Children report shows one in 33 Laotian women, one in 35 East Timorese, one in 55 Papua New Guinean, one in 97 Indonesian and one in 100 Solomon Islands women will die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications, compared with one in 13,300 in Australia and one in 5900 in New Zealand.

"It's extraordinary in a country an hour to the north of Australia in this day and age, to have women bleeding to death in childbirth at such a high rate," said UNICEF Australia's chief executive, Carolyn Hardy.

Some basic interventions could fix the problem, Ms Hardy said, listing among them provision of skilled attendants for delivery, educating women and girls to know more about their health, and improving basic sanitation.

Connie Levett