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More Attention Needed On Critical Role Of Skilled Birth Attendants For Maternal, Newborn Health

Washington Post: My son was born in our car. He was still safer than if he’d been born in 21 other countries.
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast

“…In the United States, 99 percent of all births happen in some form of controlled medical setting, often with a midwife or obstetrician present. But in many developing countries, less than half of all births occur under the supervision of what the World Health Organization calls a ‘skilled birth attendant.’ … According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are now 21 countries in which fewer than 50 percent of all births are attended by someone with medical training — down from 28 countries five years prior. Globally, maternal mortality has decreased 45 percent from an estimated 523,000 deaths in 1990. Newborn deaths are down, also, from 24.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006, to 19.2 deaths per 1,000 live births this year. These improvements are profound. But the number of mothers who die as a result of pregnancy and newborns who do not live past one month are still shockingly high. … [E]very baby deserves the care of someone [with medical training] to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery for mother and baby — at home, in a medical facility or, in some cases, in an old car” (10/14).

Global Dispatches: My Wife Gave Birth to Our Son the Passenger Seat of Our Car, So This Episode is about Maternal and Newborn Health
In this episode, Goldberg discusses his child’s birth with his wife and interviews Luc de Bernis, senior maternal health adviser at the U.N. Population Fund, about maternal and infant health worldwide (10/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.