Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan blames women in childbirth for maternal mortality

The chairman of the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, Elmira Basithanova, during the press conference concerning the topic of improving maternal, child and reproductive health, said that the women themselves were guilty of maternal mortality, because they did not see a doctor on time. In her opinion, 45-50% of deaths occur as a result of the indifferent attitude of pregnant women to their health.

This accusation, not confirmed by any statistical data, caused shock among specialists. A Tashkent specialist with a doctorate (he did not want to publicly identify himself) in an interview with ACCA journalist noted that “it is difficult to judge if the data provided by the chairman of the Women’s Committee is true, because there are no open data on the website of the Ministry of Health or on the website of the State Statistics Committee, which could confirm or deny these figures”.

According to him, from a professional point of view, the logic of a senior official is more likely to reduce the criticism by citizens of the entire healthcare system of Uzbekistan. “The accusations against pregnant women sound very strange and not entirely correct, since working as Deputy Minister of Health, Ms. Basithanova was directly responsible for educating women in the field of sexual and reproductive health,” the expert notes.

According to the World Health Organization, the causes of maternal mortality are bleeding (45%), infections (12%) and late toxicosis (5%). And according to the order of the Ministry of Health, there are only five definitions of maternal mortality; the list does not contain the wording used by the head of the committee.

Recall that earlier human rights activists in Uzbekistan reported cases when women in childbirth had to sleep on the floor. In particular, in the maternity hospital of Kasan district of Kashkadarya region, the whole October mothers with newborns spent three weeks on thin mattresses. The same situation was recorded in Markhamat district of Andijan region.

Earlier, ACCA published material on the situation in maternity hospitals in Uzbekistan. So, during eight months of this year in Samarkand region 354 babies under the age of one year and thirteen women in childbirth died. ACCA editorial staff also became aware of an attempt to hide the criminal negligence of doctors. Three million soums ($316) were promised to the relatives of the deceased newborn child after they filed an application with the Prosecutor General to institute criminal proceedings against the doctors of the maternity hospital of Kasan after the infant died.


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