Sixty seconds and counting … Let the race begin.

According to the WHO, every sixty seconds a women dies from pregnancy-related issues. What’s the deal with that? If the Millennium Development Goals have made constant efforts to improve different areas of each goal then why does it seem that the efforts to improve maternal health are at a standstill? In addition to the statistics, the WHO states that about 500,000 women die every year—this is an astonishing large number that needs to be combated from some sort of angle to significantly reduce maternal mortality.

I believe that the answer lies within the health systems. Many of the developing countries have very high maternal mortality because their health systems are weak. These weak health systems have no structure as to how to address the issue from the very beginning—education, women nutrition, and reproductive health. Following this is the necessary maternal resources that must be available to these women during the birth stage in order to avoid complication; this includes antenatal care, and efficient health care facilities with highly skilled birth attendants. Finally is the care after birth that may seem unnecessary but could mean the difference between life and death; this includes post-natal visits, hygiene, and maternal depression.

What needs to be done now is not add to the existing health systems in the matter of maternal health but our focus should be to improve what already exists and continue to fundamentally focus on primary problems that exist within our hospitals and clinics. In addition to this, the knowledge of available resources is also an absolute necessary step that must take place in order to provide women with the health care that they seek and wish for.


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