Opinion Piece Urges Scale Up Of International Efforts On Maternal Mortality

The Hill: Fighting the epidemic of maternal and newborn mortality with ‘Big Belly Homes’
Bentoe Zoogley Tehoungue, director of the Family Health Division at Liberia’s Ministry of Health

“…In Liberia and across sub-Saharan Africa, pregnancy can be as dangerous as many infectious diseases or cancers. … In Liberia, postpartum hemorrhage and sepsis remain key killers among mothers, while asphyxia and sepsis are the leading causes of deaths among newborns. Globally, 300,000 women die every year — some 839 every day — from pregnancy-related complications like postpartum hemorrhaging. That’s about the same number of women that die every year from cervical cancer. Yet, the issue of maternal mortality does not spark the kind of consistent, impassioned attention devoted to other pregnancy-related concerns … But maternal mortality has the potential to generate a rare island of consensus in the sometimes stormy waters of reproductive health issues. … If we truly value life — of both mothers and the children they are carrying — we should be dramatically escalating an international effort to ensure maternal mortality is a rare event, rather than the tragically common occurrence it is today” (9/18).

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