HA NOI — Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien has called for obstetricians to pay more attention to health checks and diagnosis of pregnant women to anticipate potential problems and limit the death rate.
Tien's call followed statistics showing a high percentage of deaths in child-bearing mothers, including a 34-year-old woman and her new-born baby in Kinh Bac Hospital in the northern city of Bac Ninh on April 20.
The ministry's research showed that her death was the result of amniotic fluid embolism which could not have been predicted.
The National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has cured only a few cases, yet it has the equipment.
Another pregnant woman who died in the central province of Quang Ngai on the same day suffered from cardiovascular disease.
If the patient was moved to a central hospital, she may have been saved, he said. "The proper management of patients and moving them to appropriate hospitals could limit mortality rates," said Tien.
In the fourth month of pregnancy, women with cardiovascular, lung and liver problems can suffer heart failure, lung oedema or brain haemorrhage.
In the last month of pregnancy, women also face the likelihood of placenta previa bleeding and a burst uterus, both of which need intensive care.
A good obstetrics doctor must diagnose and make timely decisions if a pregnant woman showed signs of likely problems, said Tien.
The doctor could decide the woman should deliver in a central hospital or a local one and that she should have a caesarean rather than a natural delivery.
"The country's obstetrics and gynaecological care is quite good, however, deliveries can be problematic," he said.
The most recent death was on Friday when a 33-year-old woman died in the Mo Duc District Hospital in central Quang Ngai Province.
Yesterday, the two midwives in the case were suspended from work.
The present maternal mortality rate is 69 per 100,000. In 2002, the rate was 165/100,000. — VNS