Maternal health is one of the most glaring inequalities in the world today.
The lifetime risk of an African woman dying of complications related to pregnancy or childbirth is almost 300 times greater than a woman in a wealthier country. Africa has the world’s highest ratio of women – 1 in 16 – who die in pregnancy or childbirth.
About 80% of maternal deaths are due to common complications, such as hemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, and/or obstructed labor.
Many of the 250,000 maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa each year could be prevented, if only women had access to medical care. An AMREF-trained midwife can save up to 80% of women at risk.
Health services are often inaccessible and women cannot afford them. Many women in developing countries do not receive pre-natal care during pregnancy, 50% give birth without a trained attendant, and 70% do not receive post-natal care.
Maternal death or disability is not just a personal, family or community tragedy. Poor maternal health is a serious threat to Africa’s economic development. If there are no interventions to reduce the current rate of maternal deaths and disabilities in Africa, $45 billion worth of productivity will be lost over the next ten years.
How AMREF is improving maternal health
AMREF has trained half a million community health workers and midwives, who literally provide a life-line to women and their families in poor and remote communities.
We are working with communities to improve the different factors that have a direct and indirect impact on maternal health. This includes:
- Improving access to health services including family planning, safe obstetric care, and training midwives
- Preventing and treating malaria in pregnancy
- Improving mothers' nutrition
- Raising awareness of personal and food hygiene, basic sanitation, and improved access to clean water as essentials for good maternal health
- Prevention, care, and treatment of HIV AIDS through awareness raising about the illness, HIV counseling, anti-retroviral therapy and control of 'opportunistic' infections, including TB and sexually transmitted diseases
- Protecting women's reproductive rights, including promoting women's rights to make informed choices about family planning and childbirth, and protection against gender-based violence
In Southern Sudan AMREF is running midwifery courses to provide desperately needed skills, and in Msorwa, Tanzania AMREF is training women in maternal health issues – reducing the death rate from 39 in 2004 to 7 in 2006.
With your help, we can do more.
We can train more healthworkers and midwives to provide good quality care to pregnant women and mothers. We can improve access to basic health services to ensure safe motherhood becomes a reality for African women. Support AMREF in improving the lives of women across Africa.
Projects and stories
- Jijenge reproductive rights project, Tanzania
- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS, Kenya
- Kawempe commercial sex workers, Uganda
- Training midwives, Southern Sudan
- Violence against women, South Africa
- Busia Maternal and child survival, Kenya
- Ganze Girls Education Project, Kenya
- South Omo Maternal and Child Health, Ethiopia
- Angaza HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing Services, Tanzania
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