Maternal Health

It Takes Less Than $1 to Save Her Life

#MomsMatter is a mini blog series running through Mother’s Day. We’ll be talking about the critical need for maternal health supplies. Stay tuned next week for the next post in the series!

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. That is 800 moms daily. Worldwide, maternal mortality rates decreased by nearly 50 percent between 1990 and 2010.  However, a woman in the developing world is still 25 times more likely to die due to pregnancy over the course of her lifetime compared to a woman in the developed world.  Every year, approximately 287,000 women continue to die from maternal causes, and the vast majority of these deaths could have been prevented.

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Two of the leading causes of maternal mortality are postpartum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia:

Postpartum Hemorrhage—excessive bleeding after childbirth—is responsible for more maternal deaths than any other cause. According to the World Health Organization, all women giving birth should be given oxytocin or misoprostol during the third stage of labor to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.

Pre-eclampsia—high blood pressure during pregnancy—can lead to the occurrence of generalized seizures, the key characteristic of eclampsia.  Together, these two conditions claim the lives of approximately 63,000 women each year. Magnesium sulfate should be administered to prevent eclampsia in women with severe pre-eclampsia, and to treat eclampsia.

The dose of oxytocin needed to prevent postpartum hemorrhage costs $0.18.  Treating eclampsia may take up to 9 vials of magnesium sulfate. Yet, even with nine vials we could save a mother’s life for  $0.90. Less than a dollar. Moms matter, and we could be saving more of them. The only question that remains is: why do women still lack access to these life-saving drugs?

All next week through Mother’s Day, we’re going to draw attention to this global crisis. Stay tuned for our #MomsMatter mini blog series next week. We’ll be announcing new infographics and ways for you to get involved. For now, join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the #MomsMatter hashtag.

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