Putting the spotlight on maternal health

Posted on | mei 9, 2011 | No Comments

Yesterday it was Mother’s day and for many it means getting Mom a card, some flowers or a gift that show her how much we care and appreciate all she has done to make us the people we are today. For mothers in developing countries it is also a day in which they most often reflect on the joys of being a mother, including the joys of birth. However for many mother’s and mother’s-to-be the daily struggles of motherhood are significantly compounded by a lack of adequate nutrition and healthcare.

While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for far too many women in the developing world it is all too often associated with suffering, ill-health and even death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) every day, approximately 1000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The the largest cause for death of mothers is hemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour.

The issue of maternal health, which includes; pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, has been a top global priority since it was made the 5th Millennium Development Goal (MDG). The 5th MDG is to improve maternal health, the goal for 2015 is to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth by three-quarters. Currently in the developing world, the risk of dying in childbirth is one in 48. In addition to the high numbers of mother’s dying in childbirth the issue of maternal mortality also casts a grave spotlight over the high numbers of still-births in developing countries.

According to a recent report published by The Lancet, the prevention of stillbirths could be cut in half at only1 a mere $2.32 (USD) per mother if governments, the private sector and international institutions adopt a package of 10 health interventions, rather than allowing stillbirths to be an almost invisible problem (IRIN).

The 10 interventions listed in the study include:

‘basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care; skilled care at birth; detection and management of foetal growth restriction; detection and management of hypertension in pregnancy; elective induction in post-term pregnancies; insecticide-treated bed nets and intermittent prophylaxis to prevent malaria; detection and treatment of syphilis; folic acid supplementation; and management of diabetes in pregnancy.’

Increased maternal health including skilled birth attendants, and emergency obstetric care are needed in addition to the access to basic information and access to health-care services must be increased globally to see a drop in stillbirth deaths as well ensuring health-care providers have skills, knowledge, and resources.

AUTHOR: Cassandra Clifford
URL: www.bridgetofreedomfoundation.org and http://children.foreignpolicyblogs.com
E-MAIL: Cassandra [at] btff.org


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