Magazine Examines Maternal Mortality In Africa; Ghanaian TV Series Aims To Improve Maternal Health

The U.N.’s Africa Renewal reports on maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, citing a U.N. report released in May 2012, “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010,” which “show[s] that maternal mortality has declined by 41 percent in the past 10 years in” the region. The magazine highlights a number of ongoing initiatives to improve maternal mortality on the continent, including “Every Woman, Every Child, initiated by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2010,” and the African-led Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), which “was set up by the African Union in partnership with UNFPA.”

“But in the midst of such progress, the reality remains that every year more than a million children are left motherless,” Africa Renewal writes, noting, “Globally, one in 30 women still dies from complications of childbirth, and half a million of them die from preventable causes, reports the UNFPA.” The magazine examines several factors affecting maternal health, such as high fees for childbirth services, a lack of access to nearby health facilities and a lack of knowledge about the health risks of birth among pregnant women (Ameny, 2/11). In related news, theGuardian reports on “Ghana’s Maternal Health Channel — a glossy TV series that is part drama, part documentary, part discussion — which [was] launched on Wednesday … to improve maternal health rates.” The newspaper notes, “The documentaries tell powerful real-life stories that highlight why so many women die in childbirth, what is wrong with the health services, the effect of the rural/urban divide, cultural impediments to progress and family planning” (Hirsch, 2/13).