Women constitute nearly half of the country's 1.25 billion people and gender equality -- whether in politics, economics, education or health -- is still a distant dream for most. This fact was driven home again sharply by the recently released United National Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 which ranks India at a lowly 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII). India trails behind most Asian countries, including lesser developed Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121 respectively, and fares not much ahead of war-ravaged Afghanistan at 152.
Mandera in northeastern Kenya, has often been described as “the worst place on earth to give birth.” Mandera’s maternal mortality ratio stands at 3,795 deaths per 100,000 live births, almost double that of wartime Sierra Leone at 2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The progress that Latin America has made in reducing child mortality is cited by international institutions as an example to be followed, and the region has met the fourth Millennium Development Goal, which is to cut the under-five mortality rate by two thirds.
“You can’t measure the joy in my heart,” Marceline Duba, from Lagdo in Cameroon’s Far North Region, tells IPS as she holds her grandson in her arms.
Nasrin Mohamadi, a mother of four, has promised herself never to set foot in an Afghan public hospital again. After her first experience in a maternity ward, she has lost all faith in the state’s healthcare system.
Every year, three million newborn babies and almost 6.6 million children under five die globally, but if the rest of the world looked towards the examples of two of Africa's least-developed countries (LDCs), Rwanda and Ethiopia, they would perhaps be able to save these children.
The word on the street was that if there were one place on earth that could treat Mohammad Lalu’s wife, it would be the Koohi Goth Women’s Hospital in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.
In the last decade, several countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region have had the opportunity to experience economic growth and establish redistributive fiscal policies aimed at reducing poverty, reducing inequality and improving the coverage and quality of health, education and social protection services.
It has been a month since the Kenyan government waived the maternity fee at public health facilities, but Millicent Awino is still one of the many expectant mothers in favour of a home birth.
Charity Salima, 54, has helped to deliver over 4,000 babies in her maternity clinic in Area 23 – one of Malawi’s poorest and most populous townships – and has yet to record a single pregnancy-related death.
Victoria J. married in 2009 at age 14, and became pregnant shortly after. “I started labour in the morning on a Friday …. The nurse kept checking and saying I would deliver safely. On Monday she said I was weak.
The story goes like this: a young mother lies quietly in a dimly lit room having just given birth to her baby. For the next seven days she watches over the child with caution, nursing and swaddling it patiently. Fearful that the infant will not survive past a few days, she refuses to give it a name.
Every single day, 452 women in sub-Saharan Africa die from pregnancy-related causes; that’s 18 women every hour.
In most developing countries, where a woman gives birth still determines whether she lives or dies, despite the availability of inexpensive new medication that is proven to save lives.
“I can’t imagine life without misoprostol,” says Dr. Azra Ahsan, a gynaecologist and obstetrician who has, for more than a decade, been using the controversial drug to stop women from bleeding to death after delivery.