FACT SHEET: Mother & Child Mortality

  • Every minute a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth. That’s over 500,000 deaths every year.

  • Annually, one million newborns die within their first 24 hours of life due to lack of quality care.

  • In Timor-Leste, a mother has a one in 35 chance of dying in childbirth or from pregnancy complications compared to Australian women who face a one in 13,300 risk.

  • 1 500 mothers and 10 000 newborns die every day due to complications that could have been prevented just with the presence of a skilled birth attendant.

Every (1) of these mothers and babies matter.


Here is some more info on the issue:


Why Are Mums Dying?


Causes of maternal death (1997–2007)

The availability of skilled birth attendants is critical in improving child and maternal survival rates. Many of these deaths can be prevented through the presence of a skilled birth attendant or hospital care.



Why Are Babies Dying?

Forty-three per cent of under-five deaths are attributed to the five diseases: pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles. In Australia, these diseases account for just two per cent of deaths of children under five.

It is estimated that malnutrition is an underlying cause of 53 per cent of all under-five deaths.



To put all these numbers and statistics into perspective, as Australians we have a one in 13 000 chance of suffering fatal birth complications. In Niger – the nation with the world’s highest maternal death rate – women’s chances of death are one in seven**. One in seven! Think about your girlfriends, sisters, mother… one in seven is a very high ratio. Some communities in countries with similar statistics won’t name their children until they reach five. Why? It hurts less that way.


Baby Cindy

BUT.. the good news is:

“In 2006, for the first time in recent history, the total number of annual deaths among children under-five fell below 10 million, to 9.7 million. In 2007, the figure dropped to 9.2 million. As of September 2009, it’s at a record 8.8 million. So in three years, we’re seeing 900,000 less children die each year from preventable causes.”



The difference in many cases is the level of healthcare available. Mums and babies are dying from preventable causes such as haemorrhage and anaemia. Organisations like The Mercy House are caring for the health of mothers and their babies. Check out the photos of little Cindy and Felista who were born while their mothers were living at The Mercy House during the last couple of months – these babies are being born chubby – and with a bright, healthy, safe future ahead of them! I just love that. The Sunflower Effect (click here for more info on the new blog project) is raising money, by adding all our little donations and efforts together, to help the amazing people at Mercy House provide the necessary health care, education and opportunities to prevent these unnecessary deaths from happening. Working together, we can and are making a difference.

Baby Felista

The reality is, as women and/or mothers we’re the most likely group to feel compassion for these women and their children – enough to want to do something about it. Unfortunately, most of us can’t fly over and work in the fields for months on end or donate large amounts of money.

We must not feel powerless.

We are raising money – through The Sunflower Effect – to help enable The Mercy House Kenya to provide life saving services for more mothers and babies.

Each day I’ll include three fun and simple ideas – things you can do to fuel the momentum of positive change. You might want to do one, two, three of them or none at all – but they’re food for thought 🙂

Here are today’s tips:


1. Visit the Mercy House site and learn more about their work – even read the stories of the women and babies living there!


2. Share the above statement from Compassion (about improvements in child mortality) on facebook and Twitter. It’s such an encouraging piece of info.


3. Would you like to donate to The Sunflower Effect? All donations are tax deductible and are managed through donation site Razoo.com. Money goes directly to The Mercy House and we can watch our progress on the little metre in the left margin of this blog. Razoo has set a $10 minimum.. if we all gave $10 we’d be there in no time! Click here to donate to The Sunflower Effect on Razoo.


Tomorrow I’ll have more tips and ideas on how you  can make a difference, one life at a time.

I posted this little quote to facebook earlier today but I want to include it here because it’s so appropriate:

“To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self..to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…This is to have succeeded.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

On that note, I’ll see you tomorrow!


Joni x


Thank you very much to NewInternationalist magazine and http://rescuebabiesnow.org for some of the information in this post.



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