Category Archives: maternal morbidity

Why Family Planning Matters for Maternal Deaths and Child Survival

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Contraception empowers women to plan the number of children they will have.

Tizta Tilahun Degfie, African Population and Health Research Center

Family planning improves child survival and reduces maternal deaths. But the uptake of family planning in Africa is only 33%, nearly half the world average of 64%. The contraceptive prevalence rate in African countries is considerably low despite an increase in demand.

Niger has one of the highest fertility rates globally. Women of reproductive age have, on average, eight children. Niger has a maternal mortality ratio of 553 per 100,000 live births and an under-five mortality rate of 104 per 1000 live births. Mauritius has the lowest child mortality rate in Africa at 12 per 1,000 live births.

In Niger, 13% of children under five years die from various illnesses. The country is one of the top five that account for half of these deaths in the world.

The low provision of family planning across sub-Saharan Africa is cited as one of the main reasons for the region’s high maternal mortality rates. A lack of family planning leads to unintended pregnancies and often means that women deliver their babies with very low skilled assistance. This, in turn, pushes up the rate of newborn deaths.

Access to family planning services, particularly in developing countries, should be improved.

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Ensuring Safer Pregnancies for Kenyan Women in Urban Slums

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Antenatal care is important during pregnancy.
Reuters

Blessing Mberu, African Population and Health Research Center; Kanyiva Muindi, African Population and Health Research Center, and Patricia Elungata, McGill University

Globally, there’s a general decline in the number of women who die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. However in Kenya, it remains high at 488
deaths per 100,000 live births. Maternal mortality is a health indicator of the wide gaps
between rich and poor, urban and rural areas within countries.

The lack of appropriate maternal health services and an almost near absence of public health facilities within the slums has led to the reliance on for profit health facilities.

Most of the health facilities available in the slums face challenges like the lack of skilled personnel and necessary equipment to deal with maternal and child health emergencies.

Transport costs and poverty are barriers to proper utilisation of maternal health care services in the slums leading to deaths of mothers during this critical period.

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Recent Thoughts on Global Maternal Health

As an ardent supporter and advocate for maternal health, I am always happy to share my thoughts about the issue with a wider audience.

I recently shared my thoughts with Merck for Mothers,  a 10-year $500 million initiative supporting women during pregnancy and childbirth.

If you would like to support organizations that work on maternal health and reduces maternal mortality look at a list of 41 NGOs across the globe.

Increasing Caesarean Sections in Africa Could Save More Mothers’ Lives

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Shutterstock

Salome Maswime, University of the Witwatersrand and Gwinyai Masukume, University of the Witwatersrand

Caesarean sections have been lifesaving procedures for hundreds of thousands of women across the world who experience complications during labour. The Conversation

Globally, it’s estimated that just under 20% of births take place via caesarean section – a percentage that’s gone up over the last three decades. This has raised concerns, particularly in high-income countries where generally too many caesarean sections are performed.

But in many African countries women who are medically required to have caesarean sections are not able to access them. This is due to several reasons, the most prominent being weak health systems and a lack of resources.

This needs to be fixed as women in sub-Saharan African suffer from the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world. Close to 550 women die for every 100 000 children that are born. This amounts to 200 000 maternal deaths a year – or two-thirds of all maternal deaths per year worldwide.

Continue reading Increasing Caesarean Sections in Africa Could Save More Mothers’ Lives