6 Improve maternal health

Where we are?

16.5% of women claim that they were not offered any health advice for pregnancy

The maternal health status in Kosovo is considered to be among the poorest compared to the neighboring countries and rest of Europe. 12 Maternal deaths have officially been registered in 2009. (Perinatal Situation in Kosovo for 2000 – 2009). It is estimated that around 43.3 mothers die in 100,000 births. In the meantime, access to health personnel during birth is at a relatively high level with 98.0% of births attended by skilled health personnel. Quality and access to antenatal care not fully satisfactory.

Where does Kosovo stand

In 2009 it is reported that the number of antenatal visits has been more than 4 in 78.1% of the cases, whereas only 4.2 attended only 1 visit (Antenatal Care in Kosovo: Quality and Access, UNICEF, 2009). Most antenatal visits were ultrasound which is not the proper and quality care. Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities receive poorer quality care.

Correlation between poor health services and maternal mortality ratio is quite strong. Reports reveal some concerning information in terms of quality of services where 16.5% of women claim that they were not offered any health advice for pregnancy; there is still a high percentage of cases (from 15 to 45 percent depending on region), where the decision for an antenatal visit is made by somebody else instead of the pregnant women, and 12.9 percent of women confirmed that they smoked during pregnancy.

This particular Goal on mother’s health is difficult to measure considering the quality of data available. Most of these data are outdated as they go back to 2003. There are several ongoing researches by UN Agencies. The results of these researches will be available at a later date. Maternal mortality ratio shows an increasing negative trend from 2000 to 2009 where the number of maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 births is doubled to 43.21. Although data suggests that there was a decline from 2004-2007, it cannot be determined since the reporting and quality of data is still disputable.  The percentage of women practicing forms of contraception has increased from 2003 to 2006 by 8%. However, the increase is still far from universal among all women in Kosovo. Further advocacy, education about the use as well as supply of contraceptives is necessary.

Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education