We say stop to maternal mortality

Every day, 830 mothers die from diseases related to motherhood: 99% is located in the southern hemisphere

The 9th march 2017 during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council (February 27 to March 24) a panel was held among a group of experts and delegations from all states. The theme of the round table was the maternal mortality and related diseases with particular attention to which concrete measures and actions can be put in the field to dramatically reduce the mortality of mothers during childbirth and diseases related to pregnancy and childbirth itself.

According to the World Health Organization data approximately 830 mothers die every day from complications or diseases related to maternity or childbirth and 99% of these deaths occur in the poorest countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and in south Asia.

With a written statement and an oral presentation, also co-signed by 11 other associations, we at APG23 we stressed that "the main causes of maternal mortality fall into three different types of delay:

  1. The first delay is on the part of the mother, family, or community not recognizing a life-threatening condition. 
  2. The second delay is in reaching a health-care facility, and may be due to road conditions, lack of transportation, or location.
  3. The third delay occurs at the health-care facility. Upon arrival, women receive inadequate care or inefficient treatment.

To drastically reduce maternal mortality, especially in developing countries, then it must act on the root causes of these delays, allowing an integral and lasting development of those countries.

With our intervention a question we raised so publicly: “don’t you think that the implementation of the right to development, meant to create an enabling national and international environment to development, will be crucial for strengthening health services especially in the developing countries, and will impact on the social determinants of health that greatly influence maternal mortality and morbidity?(see 1:32:10 minutes).

This question has been answered in the concluding remarks of the experts invited to the panel, Dr. F. Bustreo - World Health Organization's representative - that just recovering our intervention, explained with an example as "a woman that is in need for a cesarean section on Saturday night, needs to have the transportation to arrive at the health facilities where that cesarean section can be provided. Then it is necessary that at the hospital there is electricity, clean water and proper equipment or they can not guaranteed the conditions needed to save her life; all these factors (transport, energy, facilities and clean water) they are all aspects of development and are all interlinked and decisively influence the maternal mortality." (video at minute 2:42:16)

This reinforces our thesis: maternal mortality and complications or diseases related to maternity or childbirth can be defeated especially with the key tool of the Right to Development.

Fabio Agostoni

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