WHO Reports 1,500 African Women Die Each Day From Pregnancy Complications, Childbirth
The WHO on Thursday announced that the maternal mortality rate in Africa has failed to decline over the past decade, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/7). For every 100,000 live births in Africa 1,000 women die Luis Sambo, the WHO director for Africa, said. The WHO reports that 1,500 African women die each day from pregnancy complications and childbirth because they have no access to emergency care, Xinhua reports (Xinhua, 5/8).
Sambo made the announcement during a meeting of health ministers from the African Union aimed at finding ways to reduce maternal and infant mortality (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/7). VOA News reports that growing concerns over swine flu "overshadowed what had been an Africa-wide gathering to raise awareness about one of the continent's most serious public health challenges, the intolerably high rate of maternal and infant mortality" (Heinlein, VOA News, 5/7).
"When the lives of mothers are so cruelly and unnecessarily lost in childbirth and related complications, the future of our nations is jeopardised," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said during the meeting (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/7).
In addition to calling for new strategies to improve access to healthcare, Xinhua reports that African health experts "recommended greater surveillance of traditional medicine and taboos, which have a negative impact on maternal, neonatal and infant health" (Xinhua, 5/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.