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Health Experts Examine Maternal Mortality In Africa At Conference

Inter Press Service reports on a discussion among health experts at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics’ (FIGO) 19th World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Cape Town, South Africa, about maternal mortality rates in Africa. More than 2,000 gynecologists, obstetricians and other health workers are attending the conference, which runs from Oct. 4-9.

“We can unfortunately say that the overall situation in sub-Saharan Africa with regards to maternal health has not improved,” she said. “Of the 529,000 maternal deaths world wide that die each year during pregnancy and child labour, half lived in sub-Saharan Africa,” Dorothy Shaw, FIGO’s president, said.

FIGO launched its 2009 world report on women’s health at the conference. Health workers also discussed the factors that contribute to the continent’s high maternal mortality rate. Pregnancy- and labor-related injuries that do not result in death were also highlighted (Mannak, 10/5).