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Mama i dziecko

Mother’s Day – the road to safe childbirth

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4 minutes

Insufficient medical care during pregnancy and childbirth is the greatest threat to mothers worldwide. 1/3 of births in developing countries take place without the assistance of medical personnel. In the same countries, 95% of the tragedies of a woman dying in childbirth take place. It is important, however, that over the last 20 years the safety of women during childbirth has improved significantly, and this trend is mainly disturbed by armed conflicts and natural disasters.

In 2020 (the latest research made available by the WHO), 800 women died every day as a result of pregnancy and perinatal complications. Although the overall number of these tragedies decreased by 34% between 2000 and 2020, there are still very visible places on the world map where unstable situations translate into the risk of loss of life during pregnancy. Nine countries were identified as particularly at risk of exacerbating the problem, including Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. The key determinant of a woman’s risk during childbirth remains the quality of medical care she receives: while in developing countries even 1 in 49 births ends in death, in developed countries (including Poland) this rate is 1 in 53,001. Since the research cited above, we have witnessed the outbreak of further conflicts, the effects of which will only be fully known – such as the war in Ukraine and the conflict in South Sudan.

Appropriate medical care during pregnancy and childbirth is crucial for both the mother and the newborn – comments Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from Polish Medical Mission – That is why we focus on improving this care in projects around the world: regardless of whether it is Syria, Senegal or Ukraine

Support for mothers looks different in different regions of the world. While it is crucial for Syrian mothers to finance care and medical treatments (which are usually paid for in host countries such as Jordan), the main problem of Senegalese mothers will be malnutrition: both themselves and their newborns. With childbirths repeated every year and the need to move between the countryside and the city depending on the season and job opportunities, it is particularly dangerous.

Women across our eastern border face even more challenges. In Ukraine, maternal mortality is still very low, but the number of premature births and pregnancy pathologies has increased significantly. For example, at the Institute of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology in Kiev, with which the Polish Medical Mission cooperates, 82% of newborns had low and extremely low birth weight. Doctors also report an increase in antenatal infections, which is related to the difficult monitoring of pregnancies in the attacked areas and the need for pregnant women to often hide in damp home basements, which serve as a shelter.

All hospitals report that during the last year they delivered childbirth in shelters, in some of them surgical operations were also performed – says Milena Chodoła from Polish Medical Mission – Stress and exceptional wartime conditions put the health of mothers and children at a much greater risk .

We focus on helping mothers and children around the world. In projects carried out, e.g. in Colombia, Senegal, Jordan and Ukraine, we provide them with medical assistance and provide hardware support to health facilities where mothers can receive life-saving care both before and after childbirth.

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