24 May 2009

Tanzanian women dying in alarming numbers

What can I say. Heartbreaking. Horrifying.

13,000 deaths annually in Tanzania due to what are knows as the 3 delays: delaying going to the hospital, the time lost getting to the hospital and delays once at the hospital in getting treatment. Many hospitals have no obstetricians. Only 20% of Tanzanian women give birth in hospitals, and usually this is only if they need a caesar. Most women cannot afford to go to the hospital, instead giving birth at home or at a local clinic. Women in Africa, in general, have the highest death rate in pregnancy and birth. Nearly 536,000 women die annually. A shortage of qualified doctors has left thousands of women without help during birth. According to the New York Times:

"It is not uncommon for a woman in labor to arrive after a daylong, bone-rattling ride on the back of a bicycle or motorcycle, sometimes with the arm or leg of her unborn child already emerging from her body.

Some arrive too late. In October, a mother who had been in labor for two days died of infection. In November and December, two bled to death. Doctors say they think that more deaths probably occur outside the hospital among the many women who try to give birth at home.

A few minutes’ walk from the hospital is an orphanage that sums up the realities here: it is home to 20 children, all under 3, nearly all of whose mothers died giving birth to them."

This is unacceptable. Half a million African women do not need to die every year.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.