MDG 5: Improve maternal health

Uploaded by AusAIDvideo on 11.02.2010

NARRATOR: East Timor is one of the countries in our region
trying to address high maternal death rates.
WOMAN: There has been great progress made
in the last seven years since independence
in terms of providing basic health infrastructure.
It's still very rudimentary if you compare it with Australia, of course.
NARRATOR: Australian-born former first lady Kirsty Gusmao-Sword
worked to establish the Alola Foundation,
which is making a difference
by increasing awareness of antenatal and postnatal care.
With the assistance of Australian government funding,
other programs are in place to train more doctors and midwives.
Another complication is the high birth rate,
with an average of seven children per woman.
KIRSTY GUSMAO-SWORD: Timor has one of the highest rates
of infant and maternal mortality in the world -
something like 200 times the rate of under-five mortality
compared with Australia.
Alarming statistics.
WOMAN: It's, kind of, insurance.
If a woman has six children
and then has a difficult birth with the seventh and dies of an infection
because she couldn't get proper midwife assistance,
then at least the father still had six children.
WOMAN: The quicker we have jobs,
the quicker we educate our young women
in primary schooling, in high schooling,
we will be able to then see a new cohort of young women come through
with different needs that are not so focused on having big families.
NARRATOR: It will take time,
but East Timor is heading in the right direction.