| .TEHRAN The most tragic event in the family|
is the death of a mother, said Hossein Malek-
Afzali, the chairperson of the National Congress
on Family Health held here December
Annually, a total number of 525,000 women die
in the world, of which less than 1% occurred in
the developed world. African and Southeast Asian
states have the highest maternal death rate,
Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Iran has
dropped to 25 per 100,000 deliveries in the current
Iranian year of 1387 (began March 20,
2008) from 200 per 100,000 deliveries in 1978, he
announced, adding This rate shows a 16 times
decrease in MMR in 30 years.
The decline has been largely due to the improvement
of public health and increase in womens
literacy rate around the country especially in
rural areas, Malek-Afzali added.
Referring to the fifth goal of the Millennium Development
Goal, to reduce the maternal mortality
ratio by three quarters before 2015, Malek-Afzali
said, Iran is obliged to drop its MMR to 10 per
100,000 deliveries in the next eight years.
He further laid stress on the necessity of encouraging
young persons to get married and removing
the barriers on their ways, adding Improving
womens literacy rate leads to a great
development in their independence.
In 2000, the United Nations and its member
countries set eight goals for development, called
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
These goals set an ambitious agenda for improving
the human condition by 2015.
The maternal health Millennium Development
Goal (MDG) 5 aims to improve maternal health.
There are two targets: one to reduce maternal
deaths and the other to provide universal access
to reproductive health. Little progress has been
made over the past two decades and MDG 5 is
Maternal deaths represent the greatest indicator
of inequity between rich and poor women. In
the poorest parts of the world, the risk of a woman
dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth is about 1 in 6. In Northern Europe the risk is about
1 in 30,000.
In order to attain the maternal health MDG a
concentrated, sustained, long-term investment
in health services and health infrastructure is required.
This includes having skilled birth attendants
who have supplies and equipment, improving
access to family planning services and action
to address the issue of unsafe abortion.
Improving the status of women and promoting
their rights are also critical. Ensuring access to
reproductive health and family planning services
for all could help avert up to 35% of maternal
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