News / Asia

    Indonesia Struggles with High Maternal Death Rate

    Participants at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: Women Deliver)
    Participants at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: Women Deliver)
    Sara Schonhardt
    Despite political and economic progress over the past decade, Indonesia still struggles with one of the highest rates of maternal death in the developing world. This is largely due to a lack of access to health and family planning services - something the country's health minister is working hard to improve. She believes giving women more control over their reproductive health is crucial.
     
    On Wednesday, Indonesia’s Health Minister, Nafsiah Mboi, will address thousands of activists and policymakers attending a global conference on women’s health in Kuala Lumpur.
     
    The discussion will focus on ways countries can  accomplish one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by improving women’s access to family planning services.
     
    Mboi says improving women’s access to family planning services in Indonesia is difficult because of its geography. More than 17,000 islands comprise the archipelago, only 6,000 of which are inhabited.  Another difficulty, she says, is political. Health services are controlled by local governments.

    But, Mboi said, she is committed to meeting the needs of each region.
     
    “We have added health facilities, puskasmas, and the puskasmas have been equipped with much better equipment, have better trained midwives, but still a lot needs to be done because Indonesia is so big,” she explained.

    Family planning

    Mboi said family planning is a top priority where women's health is disadvantaged by too many births.  In others, she says the priority should be toward prevention and health promotion.
     
    She also said improving access to services is necessary to reduce cases of excess bleeding, hypertension and infection during child birth, the main causes of maternal death in Indonesia.
     
    “I believe family planning is inter-related with reproductive health and rights,” Mboi said.
     
    Not everyone agrees. In the Philippines, for instance, opposition from leaders of the Catholic Church has delayed the implementation of a controversial law that would provide free access to contraception and family planning services.
     
    Criticism

    In Indonesia, Mboi has received harsh criticism from conservative officials and religious leaders for her efforts to increase condom use among at-risk groups. Since taking over the health ministry last year, she has softened her advocacy of certain types of contraception and focused more on family planning generally as a means of ensuring safe, healthy and wanted pregnancies.
     
    Despite the challenges, she says Indonesia needs to take a more participatory approach to family planning that will involve local governments and religious leaders. It also needs to ensure family planning is included as part of a national health insurance scheme to be rolled out in 2014.
     
    A recent report by Save the Children on the situation facing the world’s mothers ranked Indonesia 106 out of 130 developing countries, below China and Vietnam, but above the Philippines and East Timor.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora