Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Saving Lives At Birth

During the critical 48 hours after the childbirth, 150,000 women and 1.6 million newborns die. This means that every 2 minutes, a woman dies in childbirth. Infection, hemorrhage, hypertension disorders, obstructed labor or child asphyxia are some of the multiple complications faced during birth. This problem is much more severe in poor countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In fact, a Sub-Saharan woman is 136 times more likely to die during childbirth than those living in developed countries. This is so important that not only one but two of the Millennium Development Goals (4 and 5) are actually involved in its solution.

To face this terrible issue, a new initiative has born. A partnership between the World Bank, USAID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of Norway called "Saving Lives at Birth" will fight maternal and birth complications from a new perspective. To do so, they will rely on modern technologies, science and innovative approaches to prevention and treatment. The project will focus on three working areas: technologies to detect, prevent and treat maternal and newborn problems; service delivery of high quality care, including transportation of sick newborns or mothers, training, recruiting and retaining skilled or alternative personnel; and empowering and engaging pregnant women and families in prevention or health habits, including the search for care during childbirth.

If successful, this project will save thousands of lives by providing cheap and effective healthcare material for mothers and newborns, and also a better informed and engaged population. Media and information technologies have a core role in this program, since the role of individuals and societies is considered the base of the changes wanted.

- David Nebreda

SOURCE: Saving Lives at Birth official website