The maternal mortality (deaths of mothers due to pregnancy or childbirth) rate in Singapore has decreased from 180 per 100,000 births in 1950s, to 40 per 100,000 in 1960s and to 5-15 per 100,000 since 1980s. Singapore has one of the lowest maternal death rates related to pregnancy and childbirth in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world.
The perinatal mortality (deaths of fetus inside the womb or babies around the time of delivery) rate in Singapore has been reduced from 35.4 per 1,000 in 1950s to 27.9 per 1,000 in 1960s, 21.5 per 1,000 in 1970s, 8.9 per 1,000 in 1980s and to less than 5.0 per 1,000 in 1990s. Infant mortality (death from babies less than 1 year) rate showed a parallel decrease from 82.2 per 1,000 in 1950s to less than 6.0 per 1,000 in 1990s. Singapore has one of the lowest perinatal and neonatal death rates related to pregnancy and childbirth in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world.
In 1966, there were only 6 specialists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and in 1976 there were 58. There are now over 5,577 medical doctors (MBBS) in Singapore (1:720) of which 225 (81 public sector & 144 private sector) are qualified registered specialists in O&G as at 31 Dec 2000. Specialist examinations (MRANZCOG, MRCOG, MMED O&G) in conducted in O&G and in midwifery, locally (Nanyang Polytechnic, NUS School of Postgraduate Medical Studies) and by overseas bodies (RANZCOG, RCOG) help to maintain the standard of obstetric care in Singapore. Advanced specialist training (AST) leading to exit specialist certification further enhances the care.\r\n\r\nIn 1967, only 38.7% of the women delivered in Kandang Kerbau Hospital had antenatal care before delivery. In 1975, 70% of the women had their babies delivered at the Hospital had at least 3 antenatal visits. In 2001, almost all mothers ( more than 95%) in Singapore had antenatal care before delivery.
In the 1960s Singapore’s name was placed firmly on the international map when works on trophoblastic disease were published. In the 1970s research in prostaglandins (used for induction of labour) done in Singapore made international impact. Asia’s first “test tube baby” was born in Kandang Kerbau Hospital, Singapore on 19th May 1983. Professor SS Ratnam is the second Asian gynaecologist to have been elected President of FIGO (The International Federation of Gynaecology & Obstetrics). In 1991, the Obstetrical & Gynaecological Society of Singapore successfully organised one of the largest FIGO World Congress attended by 5,000 delegates (with 1,132 accompanying persons), who presented and discussed more than 2,000 papers.