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article imageVancouver: Public forum on maternal health

By Gibril Koroma     Oct 12, 2010 in Health
Vancouver - Maternal health is a big issue around the world especially in developing countries. But developed countries like Canada are paying more and more attention to it too.
This is evidenced by a recent press release by the Vancouver branch of Amnesty International.
The release, signed by Don Wright (second from right in photo), one of the visible faces of AI in Vancouver, announced an upcoming public forum on maternal health to be held at the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Issue Thursday October 21 on the theme: Healthy Mothers, Health Babies: Challenges and Hopes from Canadian Perspectives.
According to the release, “400,000 women die needlessly each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – one every ninety seconds. Most of these deaths could have been prevented by high-quality accessible, affordable and timely medical care. “
The release did not provide statistics on Canada specifically but a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada states that the “ reported maternal mortality ratio in Canada has declined from approximately 500 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the early 1920s to less than 5 per 100,000 live births in the 1990s, among the lowest reported maternal mortality ratios in the world.
AI notes that governments around the world have, through the Millenium Development Goals pledged to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and provide universal access to reproductive health care by 2015 “but progress has been limited, and the challenges immense.” Indeed maternal mortality is a big problem in most developing countries. Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
According to Don Wright, women in Sierra Leone “face a higher risk of dying in childbirth than almost anywhere in the world.”
“No (woman) should die while giving birth, when such deaths are preventable. This is not just a health emergency, it is a human rights scandal,” said.
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