By the time you read through this post, at least one woman in Sub-Saharan Africa will have died from avoidable complications caused by pregnancy. It is not without reason that the United Nations has defined "Maternal Health Care" as one of the Millennium development goals: 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, and about half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Worldwide, maternal hemorrhage contributes a whopping 25% to the 358,000 and more women who die annually in pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery, excluding accidental or incidental causes. (WHO). Bleeding after childbirth (postpartum haemorrhage) therefore is the single most important health issue facing obstetricians and other skilled birth attendants in countries with limited resources.
Professor Mahmoud Fathalla, past president of the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FIGO) once said “women are not dying of diseases we can't treat… They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.” We all have to realize that maternal mortality is not just an issue for public health experts. It is a human right scandal. The women who die are our wives; they are our sisters, our daughters, and our mothers. They all have a right to quality maternal healthcare regardless of race, income or ethnicity.
Please join our expert panel discussion to discuss the situation in your country, taking a clue from the example of Nigeria, and help us collect protocols, guidelines, tools and technologies that can save lives. Panelists are:
• Chiamaka Uchegbulam, MD, is program director at the Girl Child Education and women Health Development Foundation (GEWHDF), a nonprofit that promotes girl education and women health in rural areas. Dr. Uchebulam’s work includes identifying young girls from poor background to help them achieve their dreams through education as well as raising awareness and advocating for antenatal care in remote places.
• Paschal Okoye, MD, works at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Federal Teaching Hospital of Abakaliki in the Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Dr. Okoye has worked on community health research on awareness, attitude, and practice of cervical cancer screening (PAP SMEAR) among women.
• Meg Wirth is the founder of Maternova Inc. and Maternova Research which focus on ideas and technologies saving mothers and newborns. Meg has researched and written extensively on maternal and newborn health and is particularly interested in speeding the pace at which low-cost, effective innovations are spread globally.
Thank you in advance. Looking forward to this discussion.
Obioma Chijioke-Akaniro, MD
Scientist, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria
Founder, The Girl Child Education and women Health Development Foundation (GEWHDF)