Despite the aim of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to reduce global maternal mortality, many birthing individuals worldwide are still deprived of the right to dignified maternal care. Globally, approximately 810 birthing individuals die each day from preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth. This is specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, accounting for approximately 86% of global maternal deaths. However, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than any other high-income country being 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the CDC reporting that Black women experience maternal mortality at a rate two to three times higher than that of white women (CDC, 2021). Additionally, women and birthing people living in poverty are significantly more likely to experience maternal mortality due to intersecting factors (HRSA, 2007), such as a lack of access to or time to seek appropriate care, and additional health concerns brought on by increased stress and other comorbidities.
RTI International researchers are evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy outcomes at 8 low- and middle-income sites (Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, 2021). Additional research is looking into the ways in which lockdowns, quarantine, and social distancing guidelines have had unintended consequences on the mental health of pregnant individuals during the pandemic (NIH, 2021).
Further, maternal health extends beyond pregnancy-related mortality. For every birthing individual that loses their life in pregnancy and childbirth, there are multiple others who suffer from maternal injuries, maternal infections, and obstetric violence.
In anticipation of Maternal Health Awareness Day, join us in recognizing the need for maternity care to be more accessible, equitable, dignified, and safe. We are pleased to welcome Carrie Ngongo (PhD candidate), Senior Program Manager at RTI International, on January 21st from 12:00 to 1:00 PM EST as she presents Accidental fistula in cesarean birth: A retrospective review in nine African countries.
Read more about maternal health in Ms. Ngongo’s publications: Delivery mode for prolonged, obstructed labour resulting in obstetric fistula: a retrospective review of 4396 women in East and Central Africa; Diagnosis and management of 365 ureteric injuries following obstetric and gynecologic surgery in resource-limited settings.
Continue the conversation around this critical issue online by tagging @RTI_Gender and using the hashtag #MHAD2022.