Lack of Trust in Our Health Systems increases Maternal Mortality

Kathleen Hill

Many women around the world are dying during childbirth because they do not trust the health care systems of their countries.This was revealed by Kathleen Hill, Team Lead, Maternal Child Survival Program United States during the 2018 Partner’s Forum, a global health conference organized by the Union government in association with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) in New Delhi, India.

“Some of these women do not have access to the health care due to financial and geographical reasons while others have been maltreated or had a bad experience in delivery which makes them not trust the system” says Kathleen.

Approximately every day, 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries especially in rural areas and among poorer communities with young adolescents facing a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women.

According to Kathleen, to fight the increasing rate of maternal mortality, in these settings, the African leaders need to strengthen not only the quality of their health care systems but also have to improve on technical expertise and support of medical personnel. “They have to empower women and families to trust the system and to use it. Many medical personnel work in systems that do not give them the necessary tools and system they need to save the lives of these women. Community health care workers need to be supported as well so they can really reach out and support women and their families and link them to the various levels of care systems that can help families recognize quickly when a woman is having a problem and where she can quickly get the help she needs”. She adds.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Kathleen described maternal mortality as the most traumatizing experience for any family.

“I watched a woman bleed to death in Nigeria and I have never ever forgotten that experience. The pain, powerlessness, trauma, and devastation for both the family and health workers who have to watch these women died day in, day out is unbearable”. Says Kathleen

Talking about providing basic care for women in humanitarian and fragile settings, Kathleen confessed it is double challenging to provide quality health care to these settings such as those in Yemen who have been abandoned because it’s so difficult getting to them but hopefully in the nearest future, health organizations will find a way to deal with this.

Research by World Health Organization shows that between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by about 44% through the power of partnership. PMNCH has worked since its creation in 2005 to forge and strengthen these partnerships.

Between 2016 and 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, WHO intends to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.

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