Maternal Health: Keeping Mothers Alive

Last week I posted about Maternal Health (or lack thereof) in third world nations. The stastics of maternal mortality are heartbreaking, leaving families, communities and nations lacking in a vital element – mothers.

Thankfully, there are a lot of people working to change this.

Millennium Development Goal # is to improve maternal health. This goal has been broken in to two targets:

Target 1:

Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.

The fact is that most maternal deaths are avoidable but due to poor health systems and an absence of anti and post natal care many women die during or after birth in third world countries. The UN sites Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa as being the most dangerous areas for birth but are pleased to announce that the rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed.

Target 2:

Achieve universal access to reproductive health

Good news! More women are receiving antenatal care but unfortunately inequalities in anti nata care (during pregnancy) are still large (just one in three rural women in developing areas receive the recommended antinatal care). Apparently progress has stagnated with efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy (a risky age to deliver a child) which is believed to be perpetuated by poverty, lack of education and low use of contraception (lowest among poor, uneducated women). The UN believes that “inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health.”

Compassion runs a wonderful program, Rescue Babies Now, aimed specifically at supporting women through pregnancy right up to the child’s fifth birthday.

Maternal mortality ratios per 100,000 live births, by region (2005)

Per cent distribution of maternal deaths in Africa, by cause (1997-2002)

Information thanks to:

United Nations

Colour Sisterhood

UNICEF

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