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.