IPS Examines Maternal Mortality In Mozambique

Inter Press Service examines efforts to curb maternal mortality in Mozambique. The article profiles the work of English medical doctor Peg Cumberland and her team, who have trained “around 400 local people in remote health care” since she came to the country more than 13 years ago. 

“More than half a million women die in pregnancy and childbirth every year around the world, a number which has decreased by less than one percent each year since 1990. About 99 percent of these women live in developing countries, and over half in sub-Saharan Africa,” IPS writes. To attain the maternal health-related Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015, there needs to be a “5.5 percent reduction in maternal mortalities each year, which would be easily reachable if all births were attended to by skilled health workers, trained midwives, nurses or doctors,” according to IPS.

Maternal deaths have been reduced in the area where Cumberland has been training traditional midwives and volunteers to identify problems early and refer women to the outposts or clinics, according to the news service. “For statistics on maternal mortality you need a huge amount of data to determine the drop. And we don’t have that, so I don’t think we could show statistically that it has dropped. But anecdotally from what the communities say, there has been a big reduction, and we’ve had no maternal deaths this year so far,” Cumberland said.

The article includes information about the causes of maternal mortality and includes additional details about Cumberland’s work (Boylan, 9/17).