In Africa, 200,000 mothers die each year in pregnancy and child birth.
AMREF’s ‘Stand Up for African Mothers’ campaign aims to train an additional 15,000 midwives in Africa by 2015 which will contribute to reducing maternal deaths in Africa by 25%. A skilled AMREF-trained midwife can care for 500 women a year including the safe delivery of 100 babies.
The healthcare that women in the developed world take for granted – skilled midwives, an obstetrician, an operating theatre, sterile and equipped with the right tools and treatment, should complications arise – are all great luxuries in Africa.
As a result, one in 39 women are at risk of dying in childbirth or pregnancy compared to one in every 30,000 in Europe.
Women in poor and remote communities, far from the nearest health services are most at risk and young women and girls are in the most danger. In many communities, girls still marry when they are very young and contraceptive advice is poor or non-existent. Many of the worst complications in pregnancy are suffered by teenage mothers – giving birth is a physically traumatic experience for a girl whose body is still developing.
The deadline set by the United Nations for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is just round the corner, yet Africa is very far from meeting many of the health-related targets. MDG 5 which aims to improve maternal health is way off track. Only 2% of current development aid spending is focused on maternal and child health. Yet investing in women and their health strengthens families, communities and countries. Family budgets, local productivity, and national wealth flourish where maternal health is prioritised.
Dr Teguest Guerma, Director General of AMREF, who is in London to launch the campaign said,
“African women are at the centre of the social and economic development chain. The death of a mother while giving birth is a big setback for African society. Through the training of more midwives, AMREF is helping to deliver an immediate, sustainable solution. A healthy Africa needs healthy mothers, and African mothers need African midwives. If we are able to tackle the health issues facing women and children, we will have taken a very big step in improving the health of the whole community and the entire African continent”
Global Campaign patron, Graca Machel Mandela said “I am thrilled to be part of this very important initiative, which contributes to the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of reducing the maternal mortality in Africa. Of all the goals, this one is the most shamelessly lagging behind. Let’s work together to reverse the situation and make childbirth a matter of joy.”
This critical campaign will be launched by Dr Teguest Guerma and Her Excellency Mrs Joan Rwabyomere, High Commissioner for Uganda in the UK. Mrs Rwabyomere will be adding her experienced, committed and passionate voice to the call to Africans in the Diaspora in the UK to ‘Stand Up for African Mothers’ now.