6 Improve maternal health
Where we are?
While maternal mortality (MMR) is falling in Timor-Leste, the rate is still alarmingly high. In 2009, MMR was 557 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Timor-Leste has introduced a national reproductive health strategy and a national family planning policy to tackle this issue. On-going training for health professionals in obstetric care and the implementation of emergency obstetric care is also bringing better services to pregnant women.
Eighty-six per cent of women receive some antenatal care from a skilled provider. As recommended, forty-five per cent of women had an antenatal care visit by their fourth month of pregnancy.
However, only three in ten births are assisted by a trained health professional, while close to half of all births are assisted by untrained friends or relatives.
While a higher percentage of births are attended by skilled health personnel in urban compared to rural areas, recently-established integrated community health posts (SISCa) are providing better health care services for women in remote areas.
One in five married Timorese women use a modern contraceptive, a significant rise on 2002 figures. However, there is a high unmet need for family planning. Almost one in three married women who want to either space or limit future pregnancies are not using contraceptives.
What needs to be done
- Continued focus on developing maternal health facilities, particularly in rural areas
- An increased number of skilled health personnel through education and training
- A national behavioural change communication strategy on reproductive health
- Training progammes for traditional midwives and birth attendants to enable them to assist mothers during pregnancy and emergency childbirths
- Dissemination of family planning education and government policies supporting family planning services, including the provision of contraceptives
Sources: 2009 The Millennium Development Goals, Timor-Leste, RDTL and UN; Millennium Development Goals 2010, RDTL, National Statistics Directorate, Ministry of Finance and ICF Macro, 2010; 2009-10 Timor-Leste Demographic and Health Survey: Key Findings, Dili, Timor-Leste, NCD and ICF Macro; Timor-Leste MDG-F Case Study Evaluation, 2012.
UNDP's work in Timor-Leste
The 8 Millennium Development Goals
- 1 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
- 2 Achieve universal primary education
- 3 Promote gender equality and empower women
- 4 Reduce child mortality
- 5 Improve maternal health
- 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- 7 Ensure environmental sustainability
- 8 Develop a global partnership for development
Targets for MDG 5
- 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
- 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