‘Proactive moves required to combat child mortality’

July 11th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 11 (IANS) The risk of death during pregnancy or soon after childbirth is one in 65 for Asian women, compared with one in 1,800 for women in the West. Also, mortality rates for newborns are almost 10 times greater in Southeast Asia than in developed countries, according to a major new study that urges more proactive steps to cut down mother and child mortality

Researchers at the University of Adelaide audited medical records of 9,550 women and their infants who were admitted to labour wards of nine hospitals across the region throughout 2005.

“The audit found many professional health care workers in South-East Asia implemented best practices for pregnant women and babies… but there were also many cases that diverged from recommended practice,” said Caroline Crowther, a member of the research team.

These included: not administering appropriate antibiotics to protect against infection during caesarean section; too liberal use of episiotomy (surgical incision through the perineum) for women having a vaginal birth, and the use of enemas during labour, both of which were often inappropriately practised.”

The audit has been conducted as part of a major international research effort called SEA-ORCHID (South East Asia Optimising Reproductive and Child Health In Developing countries Project).

Crowther said the SEA-ORCHID Group hopes to improve health outcomes for mothers and their babies in the region by building research capacity and applying research evidence into clinical practice.

The findings of the study have been published in the international online journal PLoS One.

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