Report: Maternal death is avoidable

Providing emergency obstetric care to pregnant women in humanitarian crises saves lives, a Médecins Sans Frontières report released ahead of International Women’s Day says.

The report, “Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis,” says about 1,000 women die every day due to complications stemming from pregnancy or childbirth. Conditions worsen in times of conflict or crisis owing to fractured, inadequate or nonexisting health services.

Five main causes of maternal death are identified: hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorder and obstructed labor.

So how can death from these causes be prevented? In times of conflict, MSF says providing comprehensive health care services may not always be feasible. What it does instead is to focus on services that will have the most impact on preventing death, including spreading the word out to women that free maternal health services are available at MSF facilities.

For displaced pregnant women in settlements, a network of health posts is set up throughout the refugee camps. These posts may not be able to handle complicated obstetric care, however, so women needing such services will be referred to the nearest hospital.

The report further details the ways MSF was able to provide emergency obstetric care to pregnant women in fragile states, areas hit by natural disasters and in places where the rate of maternal mortality is alarmingly high.

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About the author

  • Aimee Rae Ocampo

    As former Devex editor for business insight, Aimee created and managed multimedia content and cutting-edge analysis for executives in international development.