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Maternal Health in Africa

  • May 4, 2010

Since its founding, AmeriCares has been working to improve maternal health in the developing world with deliveries of lifesaving medicines and supplies for expectant mothers and newborns. In sub-Saharan Africa – which has the highest maternal mortality rates in the world – AmeriCares sends regular shipments to hospital maternity wards in Malawi and Tanzania.

Maternal mortality is a silent epidemic in Africa where hundreds of thousands of women die each year from preventable childbirth complications. Often, new mothers hemorrhage to death, which is easily prevented with the right medicines.

Most recently, AmeriCares delivered enough medicine for more than 8,000 safe deliveries in Ghana. The injectible drug, called Methergine, shortens labor and prevents women from bleeding to death during childbirth. About half of the donation – nearly $100,000 worth – was sent to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana where it is in short supply.

“This is truly a lifesaving medicine for which there is no substitute,” said AmeriCares Medical Director Dr. Frank Bia. “Because of this one donation, AmeriCares will help more than 8,000 women experience the joys of motherhood. Too many women in the developing world die before they have the chance to hold their newborn in their arms.”

AmeriCares also delivered the same medication to hospitals in Armenia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India and Lebanon.

AmeriCares is planning to launch a new initiaitve around maternal health in Africa. The initiative includes outreach, education, medicines and supplies to improve patient care, increase access to birthing injury surgical programs and maternity kits to help doctors, midwives and other health care professionals perform safe deliveries.

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