Media Coverage

Dawn: Saving Pakistani Mothers

Photo credit: World Bank

In an op-ed at Dawn, Population Council’s Pakistan Country Director Zeba Sathar illuminates the need to care more for women not just as mothers, but for the value they bring in every capacity including the home, family, and society.

According to the State of World Population 2019 report, Pakistan’s maternal mortality rate is down to 178 per 100,000 compared to 276 in 2009. The achievement demonstrates that policymakers and health practitioners can make change happen in a decade. Pakistan increased its spending on maternal care and there have been increases in antenatal visits and institutional deliveries. However, Zeba Sathar points out that one of the major factors of maternal deaths – apart from skilled deliveries – is the number of pregnancies and deliveries women undergo and the associated health risks.

Maternal deaths will continue to increase and women will continue to suffer from lifelong complications from repeated pregnancies if the millions of unwanted pregnancies in Pakistan aren’t addressed. After a certain point, it is not possible to reduce maternal mortality without bringing down fertility rates.

We must act on changing the very foundation of how we regard the rights of women and children. Every young girl married while she is a mere child, every woman who experiences an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy, every girl denied education or a chance to work outside the home due to fear of violence, and all those women and girls who face violence directly in the home and outside ought to be of as much concern as each valuable maternal life saved. Any society that does not pay attention to these aspects of human life is one deserving of pity.

Read more at Dawn.