Two significant difficulties in Belarus’ past, the fall of communism and the Chernobyl disaster, made progress addressing maternal mortality difficult in the 90’s. Through the 1990’s the rate of maternal mortality increased up to 37 deaths per 100,000 live births1. During the early 2000’s this rate began to dropped and between 2003-2008 averaged 18 maternal deaths per 100,0002. Rates have continued to fall.
Belarus_mother_childSoon after the fall of communism, Belarus made the reduction of maternal mortality a significant national priority. Despite some early challenges, now the country’s maternal mortality rates are on par with much of the rest of Europe. The most recent figures place Belarus somewhere between 3-4 deaths per 100,000 live births34

“The introduction of modern perinatal technologies alongside a series of measures to protect the health of pregnant women has made it possible for the maternal, perinatal and infant mortality rates to be stabilized and reduced”. These programs included a multi-tier response to maternal health. Regional programs were developed to address reproductive health, family planning and reduction of maternal and infant mortality. Perinatal care has been established to address common problems, but also include multiple centers capable of addressing more serious pregnancy related concerns. Maternity hospitals moved towards a rooming-in system for mothers and babies, and breast feeding is widely advocated and supported.

 
Health care officials adapted their program to match the needs of the family and put in place practices which increased father participation in the health and birthing process. Maternity wards were created to be family friendly. Belarus has established a series of women’s health clinics of oncology and family-planning services and access to gynecologists, endocrinologists and mammographers, new types of specialized care throughout their entire country and have add incentives to encourage women to register early for professional care. This has resulted in nearly 100% of all mothers registering for services early in the pregnancy increasing access to needed early medical attention”5.

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),  2000 Health Care and Family Planning paragraph 1 
  2. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table4_reprint.pdf 
  3. World Health Organization, World Health Statistics, Part III, Global Health Indicators, (Published 2012), (Accessed 1 June 2012),  
  4. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012 
  5. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),  2000 Health Care and Family Planning paragraph 1 

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),  2000 Health Care and Family Planning paragraph 1 

  2. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table4_reprint.pdf 

  3. World Health Organization, World Health Statistics, Part III, Global Health Indicators, (Published 2012), (Accessed 1 June 2012),  

  4. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012 

  5. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),  2000 Health Care and Family Planning paragraph 1