Refers to the health of women during their pregnancy, whilst giving birth and post partum (post delivery).
According to the World Health Organization 303,000 women died in pregnancy and childbirth in 2016.
Astonishingly nearly all these deaths could’ve been prevented. Women shouldn’t been dying in childbirth, words can barely express this sad waste of life.
830 women a day die in pregnancy or childbirth and of that number over 50% of the women are from Sub Saharan Africa.
Approximately 99% of maternal deaths occur in the world’s poorest countries and a higher number of these women are from rural areas.
Pregnant girls under the age of 15 years are at a much higher risk of Maternal Mortality. Increased adolescent pregnancies occur in areas where the girls come from poor backgrounds with little to no education.
The solution for preventing unnecessary deaths in pregnancy is to offer adequate maternity care during the entire pregnancy, on giving birth and as follow up. Here at Life for African Mothers we are trying to bridge the gap and save the lives of pregnant women in Sub Saharan Africa.
The biggest contributing factor leading to Maternal Mortality is, Post partum haemorrhage (severe bleeding).
Post Partum Haemorrhage
Post Partum Haemorrhage is severe bleeding following delivery. It is categorised as the excess blood loss of greater than around 1 pint of blood. Major post partum haemorrhage (PPH) sees blood loss of twice this amount with 24 hours of giving birth.
PPH is one of the leading causes of Maternal Mortality in both developed and developing countries. Tragically there are more deaths from PPH in Africa where medical facilities and medication to control bleeding are often lacking. Post-partum Haemorrhage is treated/prevented with medication called, Misoprostol.
Due to the low cost and stability of Misoprostol it is a medication that is widely used in the developing world to prevent and treat Post Partum Haemorrhage (World Health Organization 2009). In addition, Misoprostol is also in the current WHO Model of Essential Medicines March 2017 Page 46 as a recommended drug for the prevention of post partum haemorrhage:
How we help
We have established a partnership with IHP (International Health Partners) who liaise with a donor company on our behalf to acquire Misoprostol tablets which we send to seven Sub-Saharan African countries, namely: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Cameroon, Malawi, Chad and The Congo. In 2015 and 2016 we sent out over 400,000 tablets treating over 100,000 women. Three to five tablets are required to treat a woman depending on the severity of the haemorrhage. Each tablet costs 17p, however the tablets are given free of charge, thus the only expense is the shipping.
We also supply information leaflets to pregnant women with low literacy levels to help them identify the warning signs of Haemorrhage as well as Pre-eclampsia:
Maternal Health Successes
Access to adequate and skilled healthcare before and after giving birth helps save the lives of women and their babies. Over the last 20 years Maternal Mortality in Sub Saharan Africa has decreased by over 50%.
We are working towards 2 targets:
In 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio stood at 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. We are working towards achieving the UN target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.
1. Only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need
2. Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
3. Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women
2. The maternal mortality ratio – the proportion of mothers that do not survive childbirth compared to those who do – in developing regions it is still 14 times higher than in the developed regions
3. In 2016, 78 per cent of live births worldwide benefited from skilled care during delivery, compared to 61 per cent in 2000. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, the rate in 2016 was only 53 per cent of live births.
Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.
Through the midwifery training and liaising with governments we are improving women’s access to higher education and stressing the importance of continuous professional development.