The Gender Equality Platform held a press conference to present the findings from the analysis of the current situation and the causes for increased mortality of nursing mothers and newborns
The rate of perinatal mortality in Macedonia has been increasing since 2010, in 2014 it is 14.3 and is almost three times higher than the European average of 5.2. By comparison, the rate of perinatal mortality in Serbia is 8.9, in Croatia 5.7, in Bulgaria 11, and in Turkey 10.2. Infant mortality is also on the rise and if in 2010 it was 7.6, in 2014 it reached 9.9. In Macedonia, increased mortality rates are registered in Dojran (30.3), Berovo (22.3), Gevgelija (18.8), Krushevo (18.5). Additionally worrying is the fact that since 2011 the maternal mortality rate is also increasing. As a result of the reported cases of deaths of women, this trend is expected to continue in 2015 – said Maria Bashevska from Reactor.
One of the main reasons for the increased mortality is the insufficient budgetary funds for preventive health care for mothers and children which each year are reduced and re-used for other purposes, as well as the lack of gynecologists, especially in the municipalities with the highest mortality rate in the state.
The Platform points out that the conditions are particularly bad in the smaller municipalities where there is still no gynecologist. Women from smaller towns and rural areas, due to the lack of gynecologists and dysfunctional maternity wards, do not have access to primary health care in the antenatal and postpartum period. An additional problem is the illegal collection by gynecologists, as well as the co-payment costs borne by women.
The problem of unlawful collections can not be resolved only with repressive and punitive measures that in the past period were applied by the HIF. These measures only deter gynecologists and have not proved successful. To promote the health of pregnant women, it is necessary to eliminate the costs for all women during pregnancy in public health, and to completely abolish the co-payment costs that women pay. – stated Elizabeta Bozhinoska from HERA.
Savka Todorovska from the National Council for Gender Equality pointed out that it is necessary to increase the budget investments for improving the access and quality of services in the public gynecological healthcare institutions, as well as to increase the budget funds and activities of the Active Health Protection Programs for mothers and children, and the HIF to find a lasting solution to the problem of illegal collection for services in the offices of gynecologists and to immediately start co-financing deliveries in private health institutions.
The Gender Equality Platform requires the new Safe Motherhood Strategy to be based on relevant research and evidence and to contain measures and objectives in accordance with field findings, and its implementation to be continuously monitored and evaluated.
The analysis of the mortality of newborns and nursing mothers prepared by the Gender Equality Platform is available in Macedonian here.