In a world where some two billion people do not have access to basic health care, simple things can have an enormous impact.
Earlier this week, I wrote about realities of childbirth in rural Ethiopia, of seeing a woman in agonizing labor, a woman suffering from obstetric fistula, and the dream of another young woman, Zanab, of becoming a fistula doctor.
Adet Health Center is only 40 kilometers from the city of Bahir Dar but the road is muddy, narrow, and full of pot holes, so the journey takes an hour and a half.
IntraHealth worked with Ethiopian community organizations to set up Mothers’ Support Groups, so that women living with HIV can support each other in living healthy lives and, if pregnant, taking steps to ensure their babies are born virus-free. This is the story of Meaza Asefa, a Mothers’ Support Group member.
Last week, Time published “The Perils of Pregnancy: One Woman’s Tale of Dying to Give Birth,” a poignant photo essay and article on the grim reality of women dying in childbirth in Sierra Leone. I read the piece with mixed emotions. The images, the tone of the Time article contrasted sharply with everything I heard last week during Women Deliver 2010 conference: family planning use is increasing, child survival is improving, and there have been steady declines in the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes, according to a recent Lancet article.
Maternal mortality has always been one of the most difficult indications of progress to measure.
Exciting news: India is among the leading countries in reducing maternal mortality in the last 15 years.
I just returned from Bangkok, Thailand where over 400 professionals representing 13 countries in the Asia and Middle East Region came together to wrestle with the complex issue of scaling up family planning and maternal and child health best practices.