Improving Maternal Health: Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Developing Countries

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJMD.2013.07.01.Art001

Authors : Abimbola Patience Folorunso


Every minute a woman dies during labor or delivery. Approximately 529,000 women die from pregnancy related causes annually and almost all (99%) of these maternal deaths occur in developing nations. The highest maternal mortality rates are in Africa, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 16; the lowest rates are in western nations (1:2800), with a global ratio of 400 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Causes of maternal mortality include postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, sepsis, unsafe abortion, ectopic pregnancy, embolism etc. During the past years, increased recognition of these problems has led to the ‘Safe Motherhood Initiative’ by the World Health Organization in 1987, which was integrated into the goal of “Health for All in the year 2000.’’ 45% of postpartum deaths occur within the first 24 hours and 66% occur during the first week. Of the estimated 211 million pregnancies, 46 million result in induced abortions. 60% of these abortions are unsafe and cause 68,000 deaths annually. With appropriate strategy and intensive implementation programs, some countries have made remarkable progress, not including many developing countries. Many developing nations face extreme challenges in the implementation of these strategies including lack of reliable data, shortage in human and financial resources, limited political commitment, pregnant women have minimal access to skilled labor and emergency care. Basic emergency obstetric interventions such as antibiotics. Oxytocins, anticonvulsants, manual removal of placenta and instrumental vaginal delivery are vital to improve the chance of survival.

Keywords: Maternal Health, Maternal Death, Maternal Morbidity, Ante natal Care, Emergency Obstetrics Care, Push and Pull factors, Brain drain


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