“There’s a false perception that women in Africa somehow don’t love their babies they way we do, don’t grieve their loss the way we would. That is simply not true”. – Melinda Gates
Did you know that every day in 2015 nearly 830 women died giving birth around the globe? Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 550 out of the 830 daily deaths. Ghana has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the region, yet much progress still needs to be achieved in the rural, hard to reach communities where the death among pregnant women remains much higher. Today, in Ghana the maternal mortality rate is 319 out of 100,000 live births as compared with 527 out of 100,000 in 1996 (World Bank). (The 2015 maternal mortality rate in the US is 14 out of 100,000 live births).
The good news is most of these deaths are preventable. By increasing access to health care services for expectant mothers (pre and post natal and labor and delivery by a trained midwife) more women and babies will survive.
Banyan Global, a small women-owned and run international development consulting business has partnered with the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and Ghana Registered Midwives Association to help save the lives of women in Ghana through their Supporting Ghana’s Midwives: Strengthening Maternal and Child Health in Rural Regions Campaign.
The Saving Maternity Homes in Ghana program is one of the US Government’s initiatives combatting maternal and child mortality across the regions of Ghana.
I had the opportunity to speak with Tanya Hurst, Senior Program Coordinator at Banyan Global about her recent trip to Ghana last month to view the work on the ground. Tanya provided the following firsthand narrative of her experience working on the project and visiting the midwives in Ghana: