One Of The Lowest Maternal Mortality Rates – Minority Cultural Practices May Contribute To Slightly Higher Rates
Maternal mortality in Finland has been among the lowest in the world for many years ((WHO)). “Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Women have access to contraception and skilled attendants during childbirth, including obstetric and postpartum care” ((Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, County Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 – Finland, 1-20, US Government, 16 Nov 2012)).
100 Percent of births are attended by a skilled physician, however some antenatal care is limited to certain populations. In 2007 Finland instituted their first national action plan aimed at addressing maternal mortality. It is extremely comprehensive and address access to care as well as nutrition, STD’s early detection of domestic violence and addressing the needs of minority women and those with disabilities ((CEDAW, Finland CEDAW Report 2007, 2007 p. 9)). Since then rates fell even further with only 1-3 women losing their lives in any given year. Based on the 2007 CEDAW report there is a reference to the Roma migrants possibly not gaining full access to the health care system, even though it is available to them.
The Fins have a long history of supporting their mothers. One of the early traditions started over 75 years ago when the state began to give expectant mothers a box filled with necessities to prepare for the new baby. The box included clothes sheets and toys and is frequently used as a crib for the first few months. Initially it was used just for the poor, but shortly after formating the program was extended to all mothers. One of the key benefits of the program, beyond the initial support itself, is that receiving the box helps connect health care workers and mothers early on in the pregnancy to ensure that all is well. It is wonderful example showing how even small state supports can have enormous impact on the mother and child’s health through shared interests ((BBC)).