Silent Suffering: Maternal Morbidities in Developing Countries

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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative in coordination with the Maternal Health Task Force and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) invite you to a discussion of:


Silent Suffering: Maternal Morbidities in Developing Countries
Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC
5th Floor Conference Room
Please RSVP to with your name and affiliation.


Karen Beattie, Project Director, Fistula Care at EngenderHealth
Ann Blanc, Director, Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)
Karen Hardee, President, Hardee Associates
Marge Koblinsky, Senior Technical Advisor, John Snow Inc.


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, will chair the dialogue session and discuss the prevalence of maternal morbidities in developing countries. Karen Hardee, President, Hardee Associates, will highlight programmatic approaches to address different types of morbidities and recommend key actions to improve maternal morbidity. Karen Beattie, Project Director, Fistula Care at EngenderHealth, will discuss the fistula morbidity and share lessons learned in prevention and treatment. Marge Koblinsky, Senior Technical Advisor, John Snow Inc., will present a case study of maternal morbidity in Bangladesh and the mental, social, and economic impact of morbidity on women and their families.

About the 2011 Maternal Health Dialogue Series
As one of the few forums dedicated to maternal health, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s 2011 Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series brings together senior-level policymakers, academic researchers, media, and civil servants from the U.S. government and foreign consuls to identify challenges and discuss strategies for advancing the maternal health agenda.

In order to promote greater voices from the field, the 2011 dialogue is partnering with the African Population and Health Research Center in Kenya to co-host a two-part dialogue series with local, regional, and national decision-makers on effective maternal health policies and programs. These in-country dialogue meetings will create a platform for field workers, policymakers, program managers, media, and donors to share research, disseminate lessons learned, and address concerns related to policy, institutional, and organizational capacity building.

The Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative is pleased to present this series with its co-conveners, the Maternal Health Task Force and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and is grateful to USAID’s Bureau for Global Health for further technical assistance.

If you are interested, but unable to attend the event, please tune into the live or archived webcast at The webcast will begin approximately 10 minutes after the posted meeting time. You will need Windows Media Player to watch the webcast. To download the free player, visit:

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center at the Ronald Reagan Building: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (“Federal Triangle” stop on Blue/Orange Line), 5th floor conference room. A map to the Center is available at Note: Photo identification is required to enter the building. Please allow additional time to pass through security.