Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - To reduce the national high risk of maternal mortality, Banjarmasin local government would impose free maternity expenses in every national hospital or public health service, an official said here Wednesday.

The South Kalimantan National Demography and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) chief, Chamnah Wahyuni, said that the program should have been implemented in South Kalimantan much earlier.

This free maternity program is a government effort to reduce the high maternal mortality rate that has reached 338/100,000 people, and targeted 224/100,000 people.

As for the current infant mortality rate at birth reached 34/10.000 babies, which would be reduced to 15/10,000 infants.

The program was expected to reach low economic poor people, who were able to give birth at any national hospitals or public health center with expert medical personnel.

"The public`s low awareness on maternal health and noting the the midwives are one of the main causes of high mother and baby maternal mortality," she said.

On the initial stage, the free maternity program will exempt from l0imitations.

"We will serve any birth for free, as long as it is carried out at a national hospital," she said.

On the following year after the program is realized , BKKBN will set a limit up a second child.

As a special case in South Kalimantan, BKKBN will also send official midwives to remote hamlets or villages.

Previously, the South Kalimantan governor was also committed to place midwives in the areas, which will recruit experts from Yogyakarta, to meet the program`s needs.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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