MATERNAL MORTALITY Pakistan for several decades had a very high rate of maternal mortality, estimated in 1980 by the World Bank at 600 for every 100,000 live births Although the rate was considerably less than that of some of the African countries, Pakistan’s performance is poor compared to that of several Asian countries The rate for India was estimated at 500, for the Philippines at 80, and for China at only 44 The rate declined by a modest amount after 1980, mostly as a result of improvements in health care and some increase in the level of female education It was estimated at 500 for the year 2000 Maternal deaths occur for a combination of reasons: frequent births, and births at a very early age or at a very late age In countries with a high incidence of maternal deaths, the period between a woman’s first pregnancy and her last may span more than half her lifetime Pakistan’s failure to address this problem reflects the failure of policy in a number of areas It has still to launch an effective family-planning program; the access to family-planning services is limited to a very small number of women No attempt has been made to deal with the issue of poor female health in a comprehensive way

Finally, the social status of women remains very low

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