Why Too Many Mothers Are Still Dying At Childbirth in West Africa

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Maternal mortality rates in West Africa are among the highest in the world. One in every 30 Nigerian mothers die in childbirth compared with one in every 30,000 in Sweden.

This is still much better than it used to be. In Sierra Leone in the early 1990s, more than 2300 women were dying for every 100,000 babies that were born alive. In Nigeria, 1100 women were suffering the same fate. The situation in both countries has improved dramatically in the past 25 years. Sierra Leone has more than halved the number of maternal deaths to 1100 for every 100,000 births, as has Nigeria – where the rate is 576 women for every 100,000 births.

But this is still way out of kilt with developing countries. In Sweden, there are four deaths for every 100,000 births. In the US, there are 28 for every 100,000 births.

Since 1990, maternal deaths worldwide have dropped by 45%. This has been partly as a result of countries adopting the eight Millennium Development Goals. As part of meeting the goals, member countries committed to cut maternal mortality by 75% by the end of December 2015.

But the drop has been marginal in most West African countries. Several attempts have been made to reduce the rate in the region through programmes such as the Safe Motherhood Initiative – but there has been limited success. Not all cases of maternal mortality can be prevented, but in most – especially in poorer countries – many women are still dying unnecessarily.

Source: allAfrica (link opens in a new window)

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