A new health survey reveals a stunning 40% drop in maternal mortality in Bangladesh in less than a decade—from 322 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. This progress is due to a number of factors, including improved access to obstetric care and complications, more women giving birth in a hospital, and greater use of family planning. These encouraging numbers put Bangladesh on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal No. 5 by 2015.
EngenderHealth has been part of this positive change. In 2001, more than half of all maternal deaths resulted from complications such as postpartum hemorrhage and eclampsia. Since 2008, EngenderHealth’s Mayer Hashi project has piloted a successful program to distribute misoprostol to pregnant women to prevent postpartum hemorrhage when they give birth at home. The program has also promoted active management of the third stage of labor at health care facilities. The survey shows a 35% drop in deaths from bleeding and a 50% drop for deaths from eclampsia.