Landlocked in the heart of Sub Saharan Africa and with a population of roughly 11.8 million, Chad has endured years of war, political turmoil, internal conflict and violence. The country’s economy is affected by climatic change and the influx of refugees. Communication systems are severely limited during the rainy season, especially in the southern portion of the country. The total fertility rate is very high and contraceptive use remains very low, which poses serious demographic consequences for the near future. The maternal mortality rate decreased by 5% from 1990-
Chad was the first country that Life for African Mothers got involved with. In 2005, Angela Gorman a Senior Neonatal ICU Sister in Cardiff, UK responded to an episode of PANORAMA which was set in Chad’s main maternity hospital, where at least one woman a day was dying, many for the want of cheap available medication to treat or prevent pregnancy related complications.
Click Here to view the PANORAMA episode ‘Dead Mums don’t Cry’:-
Angela decided to take action and contacted the BBC who put her in touch with Dr Grace Kodindo the medic behind the programme. Angela helped to raise funds, sourced and shipped the lifesaving medications and visited the hospital which was the focus of the programme in Chad. The BBC PANORAMA then followed the original program up with ‘What happened next’. Click Here to view.
In 2006, from this initial work, the maternal mortality charity Hope for Grace Kodindo was created which was later changed to Life for African Mothers to reflect the expanding list of countries the organisation works with.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the third largest country in Africa with a population of 68 million. Considered to be the richest country in the region for natural resources, its population is among the poorest. The country has suffered years of conflict and instability, which continues in the Eastern provinces. Despite a nationwide push to improve maternal and infant mortality, the DRC remains one of the worst countries to be pregnant. The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 30 women. The Maternal Mortality ratio decreased from 900 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 780 per 100,000 in 2011. This has not been reduced to 693 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
LFAM is currently sending medications to hospitals and clinics in Bukavu region in the east and Lubumbashi in the south east of the country. It is not always easy to transport the medications and some ingenuity is needed. LFAM is fortunate in having good links with other organisations to assist and in a challenging environment, DHL does its best!
We also work with Les Reparateurs based in London which assists us to deliver hand knitted baby clothes clothes and blankets. Les Reparateurs is committed in caring for orphans and distribute clothes to hospitals and health centres. Check out LFAM’s partners in The Congo video for full coverage on the distribution.
Prepared as a background document for The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011 – launched June 2011
Disclaimer: While all efforts have been made to verify the information in this document, responsibility for the contents and presentation rest with the author(s).
The views and opinions expressed in the document do not necessarily correspond with those of the State of the World’s Midwifery 2011 Editorial Committee.