Here in the west, most of us don’t realize what women in developing countries must go through in order to successfully give birth to a healthy child. Rather, we don’t realize how many women are justifiably terrified that giving birth will kill them, their child-to-be, or both.
The statistics are heartening and shocking. In most developing countries health care services are inadequate or inaccessible. Basic tools that could save lives are often unattainable, and even if the tools and services are available, many families are unable to either afford them or to reach them in time to take advantage of them. Distances are great, poverty is the norm, sanitation is poor, and in many cases, cultural practices create barriers to a mother receiving the care she needs. Sometimes, seeking out care may break social code and threaten a family’s reputation.
In 2000 the United Nations deemed reducing maternal mortality ratio by 75% as one of its 8 Millenium Development Goals. The goal was set to be met by 2015, only two years from now. Since the goal was established, the maternal mortality rate has decreased by 47%. This is a great accomplishment – one made possible by organizations like Maternova – but maternal mortality is still a terrible problem. There is so much more to be done.