MAKING BIRTH SAFER IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mothers should not die giving life, yet every year, around 300,000 mothers, or mothers-to-be, die in pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of deaths are avoidable and 99% are in developing countries. SubSaharan Africa carries the heaviest burden of these deaths and some of the poorest countries in the world are those who have the highest numbers of maternal deaths. LFAM are committed to trying to reduce this burden by making every mother's life count

The life of a midwife in Sub-Saharan Africa is extremely challenging. They do the same job that UK midwives do without most of the basics that a UK midwife takes for granted. They work long shifts in brutal heat for low, sometimes non-existent wages. They frequently have to look after several labouring women on their own. Often their training is inadequate or out of date. Maternal death is something they face frequently in the absence of up to date equipment, drugs and most of all training. Life for African Mothers provides Skills Sharing Workshops run by volunteer UK midwives. The aim is to offer opportunities to local midwives to refresh and update their knowledge and practice their skills in a supportive and safe environment. The ultimate aim is to make birth safer for women in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Life for African Mothers decided to take a simple but effective approach to saving mothers lives: the two Ms. This was Misoprostol and Midwives. LFAM was advised that focusing on Post Partum Haemorrhage (PPH), the biggest killer of women and by providing Misoprostol, the medication to prevent or treat PPH, we would save many more mothers. Currently, LFAM are providing Misoprostol to part or whole of five countries. Our volunteer midwives include the management of this most precious of medications in their skills sharing workshops. The monitoring of the donations, including stock levels and lives saved each month are sent to LFAM which we forward to the donor.

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The inspiration for Life for African Mothers was a Panorama programme broadcast in 2005

Click to view Panorama