Helping to save and strengthen Ethiopian mothers

English3. June 2013

The Kavli Trust is supporting the Maternity Worldwide Denmark charity, whose vision is that “giving life must not cost life”.

At least 287 000 women die every year in connection with pregnancy and giving birth, and more than 99 per cent of these deaths occur in the Third World.

The death of a mother has disastrous consequences, not only for her immediate family but also for the whole community. This is because responsibility for feeding and educating children in Africa falls largely on mothers.

As a result, the UN has a declared goal of reducing maternal mortality as part of its efforts to combat poverty. But progress is slow because of a lack of commitment – not least in sub-Saharan Africa.

Unicef and others have understood that access to essential maternity assistance alone can reduce deaths among expectant mothers by 80 per cent.

This means that women learn how to seek help while ensuring that competent maternity help is present, and calls for an integrated approach.

That is precisely what Denmark’s Maternity Worldwide charity is doing in Ethiopia, where fewer than 10 per cent of women receive qualified help during pregnancy and birth.
The organisation has been pursuing a major integrated maternal health project since 2006 at West Wollega in the east African country.

This currently reaches out to more than 100 villages, and its activities embrace more than 60 health stations, eight health centres and three hospitals.

The projects build on the principle of “help for self-help”, with expertise being built up locally to ensure that the work is sustainable over the long term.

Maternity Worldwide has a secretariat and management in Denmark as well as a project office in Ethiopia with local staff.
It places great emphasis on a high level of medical expertise, and sends out two-three Scandinavian doctors and midwives every year to help train and educate local health workers.

Maternity Worldwide’s integrated work has two subsidiary goals:
– To strengthen the women who receive help
– To boost the number and expertise of qualified health personnel.

 

An increase of more than 300 per cent in births with competent help was recorded as early as the first year of the project. More than 400 women a year are saved from death or lifelong complications, so they can return to their waiting families with the baby.

Maternity Worldwide has a secretariat and management in Denmark as well as a project office in Ethiopia with local staff.

It places great emphasis on a high level of medical expertise, and sends out two-three Scandinavian doctors and midwives every year to help train and educate local health workers.

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