A three-year “Catalysing Leadership to improve Women, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Wellbeing” (WNCAW) Project is being implemented in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger and Côte d’Ivoire. The WNCAW project focuses on issues related to vulnerable groups including women, new born, children and adolescents.

The overall Goal of the project is to contribute to Improved Women, New-born, Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (WNCAW) in West Africa.

Project Partners and Sponsor

The project is made up of a Consortium for Mothers, Children, Adolescents and Health Policy and Systems Strengthening (COMCAHPSS), Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) and the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO). The WNCAW project is being funded by the International Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

The Role of Women, Media and Change (WOMEC)

Women, Media Media (WOMEC) will undertake media engagement activities to promote the activities of the project and also step up advocacy on WNCAW. Selected journalists will be trained at both national and sub-national levels to effectively report and disseminate the WNCAW processes and a Community Score Cards (CSC) findings.

Through the network of trained journalists, the project will engage policy makers and hold them accountable to WNCAW commitments and CSC findings in policy development and implementation.

WOMEC will also be active in informing, educating and communicating facts and figures to the public on the WNCAW project on its website.



Maternal mortality:

  • 94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries.
  • Young adolescents (ages 10-14) face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women.
  • Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborns.
  • Maternal mortality is unacceptably high.
  • About 295 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for approximately 86% (254 000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for roughly two-thirds (196 000) of maternal deaths, while Southern Asia accounted for nearly one-fifth (58 000).
  • Overall, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in less-developed countries declined by just under 50%.

  Where do maternal deaths occur?

  • The high number of maternal deaths in some areas of the world reflects inequalities in access to quality health services and highlights the gap between rich and poor.
  • The MMR in low income countries in 2017 is 462 per 100 000 live births versus 11 per 100 000 live births in high income countries.


  • The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years old and complications in pregnancy and childbirth are higher among adolescent girls age 10-19 (compared to women aged 20-24) (2,3).


  • Women in less developed countries have, on average, many more pregnancies than women in developed countries, and their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is higher.
  • A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death is the probability that a 15 year old woman will eventually die from a maternal cause. In high income countries, this is 1 in 5400, versus 1 in 45 in low income countries.

Credit: WHO

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