Friday, July 04, 2008

CARE Initiative Against Maternal Mortality

A woman dies each minute from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Nearly all of these deaths occur in the developing world. The leading cause of death is bleeding, for which there are simple, cheap solutions. For every woman who dies, 30 others are injured, infected, or disabled.

CARE, one of AAUW's partners, launched an initiative in September, 2007 to mobilize a global coalition to reduce maternal mortality and child malnutrition in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The program will train health care providers, work with ministries of health and local partners, and establish policies and procedures. An pilot CARE program in Peru reduced mortality rates by 49% in less than 4 years.

The program will include access to contraceptives to avoid unintended pregnancies; access to nutritional support and basic medical care during pregnancy; skilled care during delivery; quality emergency obstetric care; and information to ensure optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding.

CARE began in 1945 when 22 American organizations came together to send lifesaving US Army surplus food parcels to survivors of World War II. It expanded in the 1950's to send US agricultural surpluses to developing countries. The organization added primary health programs in the sixties, agroforestry in the seventies, small business development in the eighties, and family planning in 1990.