Half of Pakistani women getting pregnant before they intend to

Published: February 16, 2012

According to the study, the infant mortality rate was 77 per cent in Afghanistan and 76 per cent in Bangladesh, for the babies whose mothers had died in childbirth. PHOTO : ZAHRAH NASIR

KARACHI: These findings were shared by Dr Catharine McKaig, who is involved with the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Programme and is working with Jhpiego, non-profit organisation affiliated with Johns Hopkins, which trains professionals in modern reproductive healthcare.

She was speaking at a programme organised on Wednesday by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan in collaboration with Pakistan Medical Association.

McKaig thus talked about encouraging family planning to improve child health. She also talked about postpartum (the period just after pregnancy) family planning. Since there is a higher risk of a return to fertility, postpartum family planning should continue for at least one year after the delivery. To control the pregnancies, she advised the use of contraceptives, breastfeeding the baby and the use of postpartum intra-uterine contraceptive device (PPIUCD).

Another speaker was Dr Jeffrey M Smith, who is a consultant gynaecologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also shared the findings of research conducted in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. He said that research has proven that if a mother passes away in childbirth there is more than 75 per cent chance that her baby will not survive. On the other hand, the baby is almost unaffected if it is the father who passes away.

According to the study, the infant mortality rate was 77 per cent in Afghanistan and 76 per cent in Bangladesh, for the babies whose mothers had died in childbirth.

In his presentation, he specifically focused on labour care and reducing the infant mortality rate during childbirth. His suggestions for improving the chances of survival for childbearing mothers were strict vigilance and allowing companionship to women, ensure supportive second-stage management, manage hypertension during birth and ensuring that the baby gets sufficient oxygen after being delivered.

At the session, doctors lamented that there had hardly been any progress on the Millennium Development Goal 5, which deals with improving the maternal mortality rate (MMR), which is 377 per 100,000 women. They advocated family planning to prevent the maternal and infant mortality rate.

Prof. Sadiqua N Jafarey, the president of the National Committee for Maternal and Neonatal Health, said that a pilot project was being started at Jinnah and Sobhraj hospitals, in which postpartum intra-uterine contraceptive devices will be inserted in women. If successful, the project will also be implemented by the government.

Dr Shershah Syed, the ex president of SOGP, said that the maternal health structure needed to be reorganised completely. More resources need to be allocated to strengthen primary health care services and emergency obstetric care, provide affordable and accessible reproductive health services and encourage people to accept family planning. He said that to achieve the Millennium Development Goal, Pakistan needs to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters for till 2015.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.

Reader Comments (18)

  • afaqui
    Feb 16, 2012 - 8:55AM

    All these western NGO’s are there to bring in their “values” to Pakistan….They are enemies of Islam and Muslims the world over….Never let them in..They have already destroyed their own family system and now act as “advisors”

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  • zehra
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:33AM

    the heading doesnt come up in the article at all, nor are there any facts about it, i guess the heading was a lure for people to read it.

    i feel in our soicety there is utmost pressure on a woman to produce , simply with aray you will have a kid, your hubby will love you more, your inlaws will respect you, you will create a place in the susral etc. education , basic health education is very important, even if other preventions are considered unislamic atleast mom feeding a kid for a year min or max two is the best way to plan a gap as well as to nurture a healthy kid. the government and ngos should try to get maximum support for this atleast in rulal areas too which will be easier then making people agree to take family planning steps.

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  • zehra
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @afaqui really ? thats what you get from the article? how ngos are destroying your culture? saving mothers from death is destroying the culture?breast feeding is not something cooked up in international cultures, it is proven way for family planning and last i checked it is in line with islamic injunctions.

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  • Californian
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:39AM

    Aren’t you going to blame Indians, Jews, and Americans for this?

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  • Noor
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:28AM

    @zehra:
    Agree with afaqui 100%.

    Try viewing a bigger picture.

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  • shahid hameed
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:00PM

    the pakistani women have never been considered equal human beings by their husbands who would let the women make the decision for when to start a family.in our society it’s always the man who makes the decisions relating to the couple’s sex life.the woman has no say,if any woman tried to have a say she would be immediately be labelled a ‘loose character’ woman.such labels are used by men to keep women under their feet and control.

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  • Liberalache
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Hmmm….I wonder whose DNA they’re trying to collect or who the JSOC is trying to target now. We really should keep these foreigners limited to tourism and business from the outside, simply can’t trust them.

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  • John B
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:37PM

    ” a pilot project was being started ….. in which postpartum intra-uterine contraceptive devices(IUD) will be inserted in women. If successful, the project will also be implemented by the government.”

    Why Pakistan is 40 years behind in IUD?

    IUD was the successful implementation of family planing method in developing countries and China and India adopted it in 1970s.

    I think Mullah’s should be brought into women’s health for successful implementation of any development programs as they seem to have greater say in PAK. I mean this in a serious sense. Unless both men and women are educated of the process, women’s maternal health will not be considered seriously by men, who have no idea about women’s health, let alone women.

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  • Feb 16, 2012 - 2:30PM

    @afaqui:
    Oh please get a life you want your women to die at childbirth so that you may marry again
    People like you dont have any respect for women & children especially if its a baby Girl

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  • Rose, WA State
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:54PM

    strong text These women deserve to have better reproductive care and not die in childbirth. Use of modern methods to help mothers deliver healthy babies should be very important. This is about saving lives, both mother and child and not about these other matters.

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  • Acorn Guts
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @afaqui: And what are your values they are trying to destroy? unsafe pregnancies? no countermeasures against STDs? illiteracy and complete obliviousness to safety and education for young mothers? high mortality rates for childbirths? nursing & midwifery malpractice? Let’s speak in your language, healthy mothers produce healthy children (and lots of them) this means more healthy Muslims and Pakistanis! Win?!

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  • STRIVER
    Feb 16, 2012 - 3:56PM

    Mother-in-Laws have a to to answer for……..

    The follwoing should be targeted:
    1. Son: need to be told about the rights of a wife
    2. Mother-in-Laws: need to be told to give time to the young couple and not push them towards mother-father-hood too early.
    3. Father-in-Laws: in some instances

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  • manish
    Feb 16, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @afaqui:
    and what is your culture?
    your family system survives not because it is the best, but because those into it have no way out.

    given a chance how many wives would like to be with husbands like you?

    allow these ladies to think for themselves, and really you will be surprised with the result.

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  • harajuka
    Feb 16, 2012 - 5:02PM

    Because very few Pakistani women believe in taking the pill or using any form of contraception. That is their problem and once they have bred like rabbits they get exhausted!

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  • afaqui
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:15PM

    The questin remians: WHY Western, western-funded, and/or westoxicated NGOs ? why can’t these slaves of the west women in Pakistan can’t do this work..like EDhi, Like khidmat-khalque, like so many great DESI Isdlamic Muslim organisations?

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  • Kamran
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:42PM

    @afaqui: Because there is an agreement in West that women and infant health is a serious issue. That is why there is near zero infant mortality rate and women are given best health facilities during pregnancy, childbirth and later. Sadly this is missing in underdeveloped societies. Also, it requires lots of funding, training and education to start and continue programs for and after pregnancies. Remember Taliban rule in Afghanistan – they stopped training for midwifes.

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  • susan Barrientos
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:15AM

    I don’t know about the Pakistani women but 3 of my 4 pregnancies happened sooner than I “expected” them to. But I would NEVER trade my children for anything. Instead of worrying about “poor Pakistani women” ( all of my friends are Pakistani and they never go complaining about how hard their life is because of a pregnancy that happened unexpectedly) lets worry about our poor women in America. WE are fooled into thinking they have it better here. Muslims see pregnancy as a blessing no matter what. You can send a million NGOs to try and convince them otherwise but to no avail. It is a concept that is ingrained deeply.

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  • susan Barrientos
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:24AM

    @Kamran- if what you are saying is true then why is it that BBC did a report on how Kabul university had mostly women studying medicine DURING the Taliban rule. Let’s not fall into propaganda.
    NGOs are going into Afghanistan and Pakistan with there whole “let’s teach you about birth control, how to fix your hair, how to feel good about yourself” crap. These women have BIGGER concerns. Like how feed their kids, how to make sure their teen sons don’t disappear, how to survive a bomb attack, basic CPR, basic first aid….you want to help these women? Start by educating the men. Open dialogue is needed WITH RESPECT for their Islamic ideologies. Not the mentality of “Islam is backwards, let us enlighten you” Those people will never give up their belief. look at the Bosnians. There were getting slaughtered. Yeah they drank, slept around, did drugs but they didn’t let go of the fact that they were Muslims. If you want to go into a Muslim country and want to help you best learn about and respect the culture.

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