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Maternal Health Crisis

09.21.10 Maternal Health Crisis

While reading the New York Times, I came across this troubling article.  

There is a new clock in Times Square.  It is near the national debt clock, but in my view, it is much more grim.  This clock shows every time a mother dies in childbirth somewhere in the world.  Amnesty International put up the clock and continues a campaign to lessen the rates of maternal death worldwide.  According to the article,

"Every 90 seconds, on average, a woman dies in childbirth somewhere in the world. That is nearly 1,000 women a day. It adds up to 358,000 women a year, according to the most recent estimates made by United Nations agencies and the World Bank.

That is a lot of death, considering that much of it could be prevented with better medical care."

Clearly, this is a human rights issue, and we are all connected in the struggle to help mothers birth their babies safely.  The article points out:

"When it comes to mortality rates — measured as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births — the United States ranked 50th on a United Nations list of countries, behind nearly all other industrialized nations and even behind not-so-prosperous ones like Serbia and Slovakia. In some respects, the American situation has worsened in the last two decades, said Nan Strauss, an Amnesty researcher."

Amnesty International released a report last year called Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.  The report outlines a crisis in maternal care in the U.S., with one-third of all pregnant women in the country suffering from pregnancy-related complications, and between two to three women dying each day during childbirth.  Most commonly effected groups include minorities, those living in poverty, Native Americans, and immigrants.  The report calls for "rapid and comprehensive federal leadership" to improve prenatal care in the United States.  


Maternal mortality needs serious attention from world leaders, policy makers, health care providers and the public.  Mothers and their babies hang in the balance-- as this new clock sadly, but powerfully, shows. 

image:   by USAID_IMAGES

Posted in: Maternal Health
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