MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health

In an effort to improve maternal health among women in BiH, Dr. Azra Hadzimehmedovic from Tuzla works closely with all women, focusing especially on young mothers, in a process of transferring knowledge regarding how to have a healthy pregnancy which leads to having a healthy baby. She has piloted guidelines for abortion, designed by Agency for Quality and Certification in Health and supported by UNFPA, focusing on pre and post abortion counselling and teaching young women about the complications related to abortion.In an effort to improve maternal health among women in BiH, Dr. Azra Hadzimehmedović works closely with awomen, especially young mothers.

Sexual and reproductive rights fall within the basic human rights acknowledged by national and international documents on human rights. In addition to current legislation, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall develop a national sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The attainment of MDG 5 will require more support in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some improvements are evident since 2000 in reducing the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births from 5.05 in 2000 to 1.0 in 2007, 2.9 in 2009 and 3.0 in 2010 but then the figure spiked up to 6.3 in 2011. Focus on these figures needs to be maintained for 2012 and 2013 in order to see whether a negative trend is forming in relation to an increase in maternal death in BiH and what the underlying causes might be. The percentage of assisted childbirths continued to be high at 99.9% in 2012.

While BiH has been very successful generally in keeping the maternal mortality rate low it still needs to invest more effort to ensure universal access to reproductive health and reproductive health commodities and it needs to improve maternal health through the establishment of strategic frameworks such as for the prevention of cervical cancer, which is the one of the highest causes of mortality amongst women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Doctors and pedagogues from NGO IBFAN work in the Roma community “Gorice” in Sarajevo to both improve parenting skills of young mothers and to prepare Roma children for school. Skilled professionals have developed the parenting education program, using a holistic approach to young child development, improving the knowledge of parents and their readiness to address the needs of children from birth to age six. Recently, this program has also been extended to some Roma families and displaced persons, excluded from the basic services or with limited access to basic health and social services.Doctors and pedagogues from NGO IBFAN work in the Roma community “Gorice” in Sarajevo to help young mothers and children.

A holistic approach and view is required that would include economic and societal factors that affect reproductive, maternal and child health. In order to ensure further improvement in reproductive and maternal health it is necessary to further educate the BiH population and improve existing healthcare and social protection services. BiH has faced a decreasing birth rate and fertility trend as well as an increasing population mortality rate over the past decade and this will have a significant impact on the country’s population and existing sector policy reforms. Demographic trends will have a considerable impact on the health and social protection sectors and therefore accurate and detailed analysis of demographic indicators is required in order to establish reliable baselines for the development of appropriate population policy.