|Image taken for MSF by Sarah Elliott, showing a successful emergency|
birth in Burundi - I love the woman's smile.
Every year, some 287,000 women die [globally] from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Most are young, active and healthy. And for every woman who dies, another 20 women suffer from chronic ill health or disability due to conditions such as obstetric fistula.*
Across the world, in every country and every population group, approximately 15 percent of pregnant women develop complications that are potentially life-threatening. But the fate of a pregnant woman is very much dictated by where she gives birth in the world. In fact, 99% of maternal deaths occur in poor countries, where – for many people – medical services are out of reach or simply unaffordable
A common assumption is that improving access to emergency obstetric care is too costly, but MSF’s experience shows that this need not be the case.
Bidisha is a 2013 Fellow for the International Reporting Project. She is reporting on issues of global health and development.