The article below is published by the World Health Organization, and presents a heart wrenching and sobering reading. Please, read and reflect.
Johannesburg, 4 September -- Almost half of the
600,000 pregnancy-related deaths recorded worldwide occur in Africa
which has only 12% of the worlds population, and only 17% of the global
annual births, says a discussion paper to be reviewed at a roundtable
of African health and development experts and officials scheduled for
Thursday in Johannesburg.
"The main direct causes of maternal mortality in the African Region are haemorrhage during pregnancy, delivery and after-delivery complications (25%); sepsis (15%) unsafe abortion (13%); pregnancy-related hypertension (12%); and obstructed labour (8%)…the indirect causes include malaria, anemia, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS
"Africa is the only region where there has been no improvement in maternal deaths for more than a decade. Indeed, the average maternal mortality ratio has increased from 870/100 000 live births in 1990, to 1000/100 000 live births in 2001", says the paper, prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa based in Brazzaville, Congo.
The paper lists some of the major barriers to appropriate obstetric emergency care (EOC) in the African Region. These include:
These are: delay in seeking care in health facilities, delay in reaching appropriate health facilities, and the delay between a pregnant woman's arrival at a health center and the facility's response in providing appropriate care.
It also identifies three key interventions for accelerated maternal mortality reduction: prevention of unwanted pregnancy and the management of unsafe abortion, promotion of skilled attendance in pregnancy and childbirth, and improvement of access to referral care when complications arise.
It adds that improving access to emergency obstetric care would involve addressing the barriers to quality EOC at all levels through: equitable distribution of services; availability of adequate and skilled personnel coupled with delegation of authority and supportive supervision, and the creation of an enabling environment that promotes staff commitment and morale as well as client utilization.
The roundtable is being held on the sidelines of the 53rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, WHO's Governing Body in the Africa Region, taking place from 1 to 5 September.
Discussion points during the roundtable will centre on:
Reference: Samuel T. Ajibola, Public Information and Communication Unit, World Health Organization - Regional Office for Africa , P.O. Box 6, Brazzaville, Congo, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel:+ 47 241 39378; Fax: + 47 241 39513.
Why You Should Support the "SAVE" Campaign
After reading the WHO report, the question to ask is, on a global scale, WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF THE WORLD TO PREGNANCY RELATED DEATHS? --- the short answer is “little” has been done.