The Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 4, 1998
May 4, 1998
VOL. 27, NO. 33


Hopkins Helps Mother Friendly Movement In Indonesia

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

In Indonesia, for every 100,000 live births, an estimated 390 to 650 women die during pregnancy or childbirth. In the United States, giving birth is up to 81 times safer; just eight mothers die during the same number of births. A Mother Friendly Movement program to narrow this gap is now under way in Indonesia with the help of the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and a grant of $748,000 from the United Nations Population Fund.

"According to the United Nations, each day some 1,600 women, many of them teenagers, die in pregnancy and childbirth. That is the equivalent of a death every minute," says Jose G. Rimon, project director at the Center for Communication Programs, which provides technical assistance, training and financial support to reproductive health organizations in more than 65 countries. "In Indonesia, we will use television and other mass media channels to link to local mobilization efforts to let women, men, youth and families know about such risk factors as the danger signs in a pregnancy and the importance of getting pre- and post-natal care. We will also tell them where to go for treatment and services."

A major focus of the project is overcoming the three delays that lead to maternal death: delay in decision to seek emergency care, in transporting women to an appropriate care facility and in getting proper care there.

Indonesia's State Ministry for the Role of Women is implementing the Mother Friendly Movement. Over the past two years, it has mobilized support from high-level policy-makers, non-government organizations and community groups. The government also has established a program to place 60,000 midwives in villages as the linchpin of the overall strategy to reduce maternal mortality.

In addition to using the mass media, the 18-month project will continue advocacy efforts and help develop interpersonal communication materials and provide grants to communities for local initiatives. The project will focus on priority provinces where the potential impact is greatest, namely, South Sulawesi, East Java and North Sumatra.