Oman hailed for lowest maternal mortality rate

MUSCAT, April 24 – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has lauded massive strides made by the Sultanate in maternal healthcare sector, among others. Launching the ‘State of World Population 2019’, released by UNFPA, Asr Toson, UNFPA GCC representative, said that Oman is a showcase for the world to imitate the success achieved in controlling maternal mortality rates in a short span of time. “Oman’s maternal mortality rate is near to zero and the Government of Oman is trying even harder to bring it to zero, thanks to advanced strategic moves towards healthier mother and baby initiatives,” he told the Observer.

Oman’s current maternal mortality rate is 17 for each 100,000 women, which is very low compared with the rates around the world. The ratio of maternal mortality is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management, according to the UNFPA. Between 1990 and 2015, Oman has achieved tremendous progress in controlling maternal deaths which have declined by 44 per cent. The rate was 37.5 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2002, whereas the same declined to 13.4 deaths in 2016, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

The ‘State of World Population 2019’ suggests that the global reproductive rights movement which began in the 1960s transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of women, empowering them to govern their own bodies and shape their own future. Also, the efforts of the reproductive rights movements have dramatically reduced the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, and have cleared way for healthier, more productive lives for untold millions. The report traces advances in reproductive health on the anniversaries of two important milestones.

It has been 50 years since UNFPA began operations in 1969 as the first United Nations agency to address population growth and reproductive health needs. It is also the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where 179 governments called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including voluntary family planning, and safe pregnancy and childbirth services. However, reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy, but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.

“Despite the increasing availability of contraceptives over the years, hundreds of millions of women today still have no access to them, and to the reproductive choices that come with them,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem. “Without access, they lack the power to make decisions about their own bodies, including whether or when to become pregnant.” The ‘State of World Population 2019’ was launched in the presence of Faiqa al Sinawi from the School Health Department at the Ministry of Health which is one of the main strategic partners of UNFPA in the Sultanate.