Sister Josephine Achen, Katine, Uganda
We are happy to report back that under AMREF's Stand Up for African Mother's campaign, 2,576 new midwives have been trained. This means that up to 1,288,000 more mothers in sub-Saharan Africa can recieve the care they need while giving birth and during pregnancy.
Women die needlessly of conditions that would be easily treatable if trained staff were available. Women often travel for miles to reach a trained midwife, by foot or on the back of a bicycle, only to die or to lose their child on the way.
Since 2010, AMREF has made a conscious decision to channel its energies into maternal and child health interventions and take the lead in moving the continent towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Although recent evidence suggests global reduction in maternal mortality, AMREF’s view is that this is still a major and present problem in sub-Saharan Africa. We believe that every year, more than 200,000 women die in this region during pregnancy and childbirth for lack of simple, affordable and reachable medical care. Those most affected are women in the remotest and poorest places, where there is little or no access to qualified health personnel and well equipped facilities. As a result, one in every 31 women in the continent is at risk of dying in childbirth, compared with one in every 30,000 in Europe.
Most of these deaths are easily preventable, as they are mainly caused by insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery. Another 15 per cent are as a result of complications that could be taken care of in facilities with emergency obstetric care services. What women in the developed world take for granted – skilled midwives, an obstetrician and operating theatre if needed, and the antibiotics and drugs to ensure that should complications arise, the mother is rapidly brought back to good health – are regarded as great luxuries in Africa.
With all its programs of midwives training, AMREF is working to ensure that no mother dies when giving life. The organization aims to train 15,000 midwives from now to 2015 to contribute towards reduction of maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa by 25%.