Many programs and campaigns have been held throughout the world with a view to reducing deaths during births and pregnancy. Regardless of this, many countries still face difficulties in making progress to this course. It is unanimously agreed by many observers that there is will not come a quick solution to this problem. They argue that solution will only come after some strict measures are put in place. Some of which might be; strengthening of health systems in developing countries, training professionals, promoting accessibility to basic and high-class services, and making available some medical supplies, especially those that are basic.
Through her efforts, Sri Lanka demonstrated to the world how quick progress can take place when the important building blocks are made available. The government of Sri Lanka started putting foundation on this issue as early as 1950s when it extended health services to rural areas, inclusive of critical elements that are needed in maternity healthcare (Rannan-Eliya and Sikurajapathy, 2008). There exists a solid health system in the country which provides free health services to the whole population, inclusive of rural areas.
Sri Lanka also heavily depend professionalism when dealing with maternity issues. Many midwives have been employed in government health centers to assist women during birth and they also extend the services to rural areas for mothers who cannot afford to travel to health centers.
The government also adopted a systematic and computerized use of information pertaining to health to help in the identification of problems and offer guidance in the process of decision making. Another important feature that as enormously contributed to the success of health programs in Sri Lanka is the improvement of quality of health services to targeted vulnerable groups.
Taking an African country, in this case Ethiopia, coverage of antenatal care is generally high, even though there is slack in the use of skilled assistance at the time of delivery. Many women prefer to get care services from different sources due to cultural or religious beliefs. There are many cases where women still deliver at home as a result of cultural belief that it is the best practice and also the need to exercise some of the cultural rights of birth.
A case was reported in Ethiopia where pregnant mothers refused to get professional care from male midwives, even though their conditions needed quick assistance (Pankhurst and Richard, 2006). The belief among communities in the country is that male is not allowed to touch the body of a female, especially the reproductive organs, unless the two are a couple. Women believe that it is only God and their husbands who have the rights to see them naked. Some of the women also refused to take medications that they believed did not come from the hospital, that is, they came from a non-governmental organization. It was also reported that religious leaders in the community also provided education regarding reproductive health matters according to the teachings from the Quran and some of the leaders also performed rituals when expectant mothers approached them with social and health problems.
The situation changed when the health personnel in the health center created education and awareness program. Pregnant women were taught about the needs and benefits of seeking skilled care in health facilities pertaining to the effort of reducing mother and child mortality rates during births.
Rannan-Eliya, R.P., Sikurajapathy, L. (2008). Sri Lanka: Good Practice in Expanding Health Coverage. In World Bank.
Pankhurst, Richard (2006). A Historical Examination of Traditional Ethiopian Medicine. Ethiopian Medical Journal.
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