Collaboration, the Key to Reducing Maternal and Newborn Deaths in Indonesia

Jakarta, March 28, 2018At an Evidence Summit to Reduce Maternal and Newborn Mortality, The Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) recommended the establishment of a National Committee to Accelerate Maternal and Newborn Mortality Ratio Reduction to Minister of Health Nila F. Moeloek. This and other recommendations for reducing maternal and newborn deaths were generated through a literature review, supported by the United States Government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), of over 7,000 studies and research findings on such deaths in Indonesia.

The Evidence Summit, supported by USAID and implemented from June 2016 to March  2018, convened the Government of Indonesia and stakeholders in health education and services to reach consensus on how to reduce the country’s maternal and newborn mortality rates. The Summit is a follow up to the Reducing Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Indonesia report, published by AIPI and the U.S. National Academy of Science in 2013, also with USAID support. The report discovered a lack of valid data and information on maternal and newborn deaths in Indonesia spanning several decades and identified the major causes of such deaths.

The Evidence Summit process has also confirmed that these causes have not changed significantly since the release of the 2013 report. Causes include: unequal access to quality health services; delay in receiving emergency assistance; inadequate knowledge of reproductive health; unintegrated data and health information system; and also regulatory issues, i.e., the Law on Marriage no. 1/1974, which sets the legal minimum age for a woman to marry at 16 years old.

AIPI’s recommendation for a National Committee reflects that efforts to reduce maternal and newborn deaths need to involve stakeholders from the government, higher education institution, health services and communities. AIPI also provided recommendations on place of labor and delivery, collaboration from health care providers, community participation and development of knowledge management system. “Maternal and newborn deaths have complex causes, and therefore, the efforts to reduce the numbers require collaboration from various sectors, such as health professionals, government and community,” said the President of AIPI, Prof. Ir. Sangkot Marzuki.

Acting Mission Director USAID Indonesia Ryan Washburn said: “The United States Government, through USAID, supports the Government of Indonesia and other health sector partners to accelerate progress in reducing preventable maternal and newborn deaths. We are extremely proud to support this Evidence Summit, which is bringing together the priorities of ending preventable mother and newborn deaths and improving the availability and use of scientific evidence.”

The National Committee would serve as a communication forum for researchers, practitioners and policymakers to align research priorities and policy agendas. AIPI is committed to support the committee by continuing to collect, review and disseminate

scientific evidence to strengthen priority actions and policy recommendations to reduce preventable maternal and newborn deaths. AIPI will also continue to convene and engage relevant stakeholders to reach consensus on these actions and policies. This is important since a lot has been done to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rate despite insignificant result. Evaluation on MDGs in 2015 showed that Indonesia is still far behind, with maternal mortality rate 305/100.000 to the target of 102/100.000. On the other hand, neonatal mortality rate is stagnant for almost a decade, 20/1.000 in 2003 to 19/1.000 in 2012.