Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mothers At Risk: Maternal Mortality Rates in Sierra Leone come under the Spotlight

The Washington Post reported in a moving article on Oct 12th on the dangers of giving birth in one of the poorest nations in the world. In Sierra Leone the mortality rate during childbirth are approximately 1 in 8 women, by far the highest in the world. In the United States, the mortality rate of giving birth is 1 in 4,800. “More than 500,000 women a year -- about one every minute -- die in childbirth across the globe, almost exclusively in the developing world, and almost always from causes preventable with basic medical care,” reported the Post. “The women die from bleeding, infection, obstructed labor and preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. But often the underlying cause is simply life in poor countries.”

The Post article outlines the reasons why living in a poor nation causes high mortality rates, highlighting the lack of decent hospitals or doctors and the fact that families cannot afford medications. Furthermore, a lack of education and poor infrastructure lead to women choosing to have an unassisted home birth or not coming in for post-birth treatment. These conditions are exacerbated by the fact that rising maternal mortality rates is rarely addressed in foreign aid and charity organizations, which tend to be focused on global diseases such as malaria and HIV. While there is no fast and easy solution to this problem, it’s good to see the media acknowledge what’s being tagged as the “Invisible Death” of childbirth mortality.

1 comment:

Kamla said...

It is shocking that the world is completely indifferent to such tragedies.

But there are shining examples of good work. Consider India’s NTR Memorial Trust, for instance.

India’s NTR Memorial Trust’s has set a global benchmark in 257 Andhra Pradesh villages in maternal mortality. Eminent people like M Rama Babu IAS (retd), G.Suryanarayana and T Venkateswara Rao are impressed that UN Millennium Goals have been surpassed in less than two years of the launch of Thalli Bidda Samrakashana Padhakam. The programme, providing end-to-end healthcare services free of cost to rural pregnant woman, is being run in association with four leading medical institutions.

The distinction has been achieved by minimising the maternal deaths to two in 15,000 deliveries in 257 villages. This was achieved in the shortest possible time of 24 months between December 2006 and December 2008.

The programme is being run in association with four leading medical institutions in Andhra Pradesh: Mediciti in Medak, Dr Pinnamaneni Siddartha Institute of Medical Sciences at Chinaowkapalli in Krishna district, NRI Medical College at Mangalagiri in Guntur district and GSL Medical College, General Hospital in East Godavari district.