Pregnancy and Childbirth Killing A Woman Every Minute In Africa

One woman dies every minute in Africa from complications related to pregnancy and birth.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) stats:

 Every minute, at least one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – that means 529 000 women a year. In addition, for every woman who dies in childbirth, around 20 more suffer injury, infection or disease – approximately 10 million women each year.

Five direct complications account for more than 70% of maternal deaths: haemorrhage (25%), infection (15%), unsafe abortion (13%), eclampsia (very high blood pressure leading to seizures – 12%), and obstructed labour (8%). While these are the main causes of maternal death, unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable, or poor quality care is fundamentally responsible. They are detrimental to social development and wellbeing, as some one million children are left motherless each year. These children are 10 times more likely to die within two years of their mothers’ death.

Essentially this means every single day 1,500 women will die unnecessarily during childbirth. More often than not it is preventable. The poorest are obviously most vulnerable.

Pregnant woman at UNICEF-supported health center in Sam Ouandja refugee camp
Complications during pregnancy kill 1400 women per day in Africahdptcar / / CC BY

An when it comes to the babies, over a million newborns die each year, in Africa. That is nearly four every single minute.

When you think about it, the realisation is that while we spend a lot of time talking about communicable diseases, Africa’s next generation is under threat an it is all happening under the radar.

Recently it was revealed that mothers in Zimbabwe were delivering children under the light of a cellphone because there was no electricity. Obviously this has huge implications on health and safety.

Last year it was revealed by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe that 10 women were dying every single day in Zimbabwe during childbirth.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to drag their feet on implementing policy, especially the free maternal healthcare. That was supposed to be in place by May 2012, right?