Improving Maternal Health


Improving Maternal Health no

• Most maternal deaths are preventable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known.

• All women need access to high quality care in pregnancy, and during and after childbirth.

• It is particularly important that all births are attended by skilled health professionals

• Timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death for the mother as well as for the baby

• To improve maternal health, barriers that limit access to quality maternal health services must be identified and addressed at both health system and societal levels

Challenges to Maternal Health

• Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is unattended

• Injecting oxytocics immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.

• Infection after childbirth can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced

• And if early signs of infection are recognized and treated in a timely manner.

• Pre-eclampsia should be detected and appropriately managed before the onset of convulsions (eclampsia) and other life-threatening complications

• Administering drugs such as magnesium sulfate for pre-eclampsia can lower a woman’s risk of developing eclampsia.

• To avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted pregnancies

Why do women not get the care they need?

• Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate health care

• This is especially true for regions with low numbers of skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

• Fewer than half of all births in several low income and lower-middle-income countries are assisted by such skilled health personnel

The main factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth are:

• poverty

• distance to facilities

• lack of information

• inadequate and poor quality services

• cultural beliefs and practices.

Credit: WHO



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