0848 GMT July 23, 2019
An international health official has hailed Iran's efforts in reducing mortality rate among pregnant women and their babies, saying the country has exceeded some of the development goals set by the United Nations.
"Presently, maternal deaths in Iran has reached 19 per 100,000 live births, which is 'great and amazing' compared to other Asian countries," Dr. Safieh Shahriari Afshar, the head of the regional executive committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in South Asia, told Iran Daily.
The IPPF official said maternal death rate in Bangladesh is 830 per 100,000 live births, while the same figure averages 300-400 in Afghanistan.
Shahriari Afshar noted that neonatal mortality in Iran stands at 19.5 per 1,000 live births, adding that death rate among children below one and five years of age is 13.6 and 15.8 per 1,000 live births respectively.
She said Iran has succeeded in exceeding some of the objectives laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2015, all 191 UN Member States agreed to try to achieve SDGs by 2030, which constitute 17 goals with 169 targets.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Goal 3 stipulates that the global maternal mortality ratio should be reduced to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
It further says that preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age should end and all countries should reduce neonatal mortality to at least 12 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality to a minimum of 25 per 1,000 live births.
Shahriari Afshar, who is also a member of Family Health Association of Iran, said the association is cooperating with Iran's Health Ministry, Iran Drug Control Headquarters, and State Welfare Organization to achieve the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Family Health Association, which was established in 1995, is a full member of International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Shahriari Afshar said the association seeks to provide health services and training to people from all walks of life to ensure public health, particularly among the vulnerable strata.
"These vulnerable strata include physically and mentally disabled people, child labor, street women, AIDS patients, addicts, the homeless, etc."
She said the association has set up centers for supporting AIDS patients and street women over the past years.