PESHAWAR, July 27: Speakers at a dialogue on Friday called for better public awareness about adoption of modern techniques to reduce maternal mortality rate.

The dialogue on ‘Saving mothers in communities’ organised by Mercy Corps and Khwendo Kor was chaired by EDO (health) Dr Abdur Rahid Khattak at a local hotel.

Project coordinator Dr Saeedur Rehman and National Coordinator of Mercy Corps Shoaib Ahmad were the main speakers, while representatives of the relevant government departments, including Dr Amin, Dr Shahida, Nazra Syed, Walayat Shah and Fatima, also shared their views on how to save mothers.

The speakers said annual maternal mortality rate in Pakistan was 276 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

They said a vast majority of maternal deaths (27.2 per cent) was caused by postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and that skilled birth attendance was critical for reducing maternal mortality and mortality including that associated with PPH.

The speakers said 65 per cent of births in the country were delivered at home with 52 per cent of them being attended by traditional birth attendants (TBAs).

They said internationally, more that 350,000 women died every year of preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

According to them, the millennium development goal 5 focused on improving maternal health by reducing maternal mortality ratio and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

Project coordinator Dr Saeed said Mercy Corps and Khwendo Kor would jointly work for reducing maternal mortality caused by postpartum hemorrhage by addressing policies and practices in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

He said the project would be implemented in the districts of Quetta, Gwadar and Kech in Balochistan, Bagh and Bhimber in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Lower Dir and Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Khyber Agency of Fata.

Dr Saeed said the purpose of community advocacy dialogue from was to engage key influencers, community and district representatives and stakeholders to gain their support as policy implementers for maternal and neonatal health and for prevention of PPH.He said through advocacy interventions at district level, voices and opinions of poor and marginalised women would be promoted in decisions related to policy and practices impacting their health.

Mr Shoaib of Mercy Corps said special programmes would be carried out for increasing public awareness of modern techniques to reduce maternal mortality rate.