Crowdfunding challenge 3: Discuss maternal mortality


Talk about maternal mortality where you live and elsewhere: why such a difference from one place to another? Most maternal deaths in Africa are preventable,  SAHFA wants to help reduce excess maternal deaths with JamboMama!

We’ll give you a head start:

  • Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • It was estimated that in 2015, roughly 303 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.
  • 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
  • Maternal mortality is higher among women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
  • Young adolescents and women over 40 face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than women between 20 and 40.
  • Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by about 44%.
  • Between 2016 and 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the target is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.

Maternal health mirrors the gap between the rich and the poor, and low status of women

Less than 1% of maternal deaths occur in high-income countries. The maternal mortality ratio in developing countries is 239 per 100 000 births versus 12 per 100 000 in developed countries. Also, maternal mortality is higher in rural areas and among poorer and less educated communities, where a woman has low status, more so when she is pregnant, therefore more vulnerable and less productive. Approximately 830 women die every day of pregnancy and childbirth related causes. The countries in which these deaths occur are mostly in least developed regions. Roughly 550 women live in sub-Saharan Africa and 180 live in Southern Asia compared to 8 in high-income countries.

The major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are:

  • Severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
  • Infections, usually after childbirth and undetected infections during pregnancy
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
  • Complications from delivery

How can women’s lives be saved?

  • Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is unattended. Injecting oxytocin immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.
  • In Africa, where many rural women suffer from severe anaemia also caused by malaria, even mild bleeding can be deadly.
  • Infection after childbirth can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced and if early signs of infection are recognized and treated in a timely manner. In rural Africa, tetanus remains a threat for the new mother and newborn child.

Other factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth are:

  • Poverty
  • Distance or difficulty of transport from home to place of safe, modern delivery care
  • Lack of health literacy regarding pregnancy and childbirth, leading to non-recognition of danger signs
  • Inadequate services; poor quality, not adapted to the mother (different language, different birthing practices)
  • Cultural practices, including harmful practices such as excision, child marriage and food taboos severely affecting the mother’s health; traditional explanations of certain danger signs and customary remedies may prevent the woman from seeking medically sound advice.

How can you help?

Visit our crowdfunding campaign, and make a donation. And of course, spread the word! Thank you!

This post is also available in fr_FR.

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