September 27, 2011
For every mother that dies in childbirth another 20 women experience acute chronic morbidities or “near misses” that would otherwise result in death. The scope of maternal morbidities is diverse and the most prevalent types include anemia, fistula, infertility, uterine prolapse and maternal depression. Morbidities can cause serious pain, stigma, and suffering as well as negative social and economic consequences. Additional data is needed to measure the prevalence and effects of morbidities and safe motherhood programs should expand their focus to address these life-altering conditions.
Ann Blanc, Director, MHTF, chaired the dialogue session and discussed the prevalence of maternal morbidities in developing countries. Karen Hardee, President, Hardee Associates, highlighted programmatic approaches to address different types of morbidities and recommended key actions to improve maternal morbidity. Karen Beattie, Project Director, Fistula Care at EngenderHealth, discussed the fistula morbidity and shared lessons learned in prevention and treatment. Marge Koblinsky, Senior Technical Advisor, John Snow Inc., presented a case study of maternal morbidity in Bangladesh and the mental, social, and economic impact of morbidity on women and their families.