Ending “Preventable” Maternal Deaths With Limited Resources: Learning From Successful Country Programs
In many low-resource settings, where the vast majority of maternal deaths occur, there is often a significant lack of infrastructure, supplies and equipment to manage complications. As a result, interventions to improve facilities’ capacity to respond quickly and effectively to obstetric emergencies are often extremely difficult to implement.
Two of the leading causes of maternal mortality—postpartum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia—are preventable with timely, high quality emergency obstetric care. However, life-saving interventions for these complications, including blood transfusion and essential medicines, are often unavailable in facilities in low-income countries. Therefore, a maternal death that would be classified as preventable may seem unpreventable to a health care provider working in this context, which can result in frustration and a loss of motivation.
A number of challenges must be addressed in order to ensure that all women receive timely access to high quality emergency obstetric care, even in very low-resource settings. Several low- and middle-income countries have implemented effective interventions to reduce maternal deaths despite resource limitations and other challenges.
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