Birth in sub-Saharan Africa

© Barbara Grover, 2008

-Giving birth safely remains a privilege of the rich.

This sad fact is nowhere more apparent than in sub-Saharan Africa where 1 in 13 women die of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The risk of dying as a result of pregnancy if you live in the industrialized world stands at 1 in 4,100.*

Worldwide infant mortality rates mirror the maternal mortality rates as the vast majority of infant deaths also occur in the same regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Although the causes of maternal and infant mortality deaths differ, the basic interventions for saving the lives of both mothers and newborns are the same.

Improving maternal health by providing basic support to pregnant women is the single most effective way to lower the staggeringly tragic infant and maternal death rates throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

© Barbara Grover, 2008

Infection following delivery remains a leading cause of death among both mothers and newborns. This risk can be mitigated. Both maternal and neonatal infection rates have been proven to decrease if women are given access to the most basic elements of medical sanitation while birthing: soap, a length of clean string to tie the umbilical cord, a clean razor blade to cut the umbilical cord and a 1m2 clean paper on which to deliver.

World Birth Aid’s central aim is to provide a basic clean birth kit with simple illustrated instructions to those women denied access to a clean birthing environment in refugee camps and impoverished settlements throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

* Maternal mortality in 2005. Estimated developed by WHO, UNICEF,UNFPA and The World Bank. World Health Organization, 2007

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