Increasing Access to Healthcare Services for Women at Risk
In 2015, 43,969 pregnant women around the world received health services from our maternal health programs in Haiti, Kenya, Peru, South Sudan, and Zambia.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications around the world every day (1). Almost all of these maternal health deaths occur in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.
CMMB works in countries with the highest maternal mortality rates in Africa and the Americas. Globally, our maternal health programs focus on the best outcomes for mothers and children. Failure to identify risk factors, lack of early screening to detect STDs, inattention to hygiene and health, delayed identification of pregnancy, and a tradition of home births are factors which can endanger a baby’s healthy growth and the health of her mother.
South Sudan has a maternal mortality ratio of 789 deaths per 100,000 live births (2), while Haiti has 359 per 100,000 (3).
We collaborate with local institutions and health personnel to create integrated, consistent responses targeting women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and newborns. We focus on preventing and treating pregnancy complications and averting deaths or disabilities from complications.
- increasing access to focused antenatal care, facility-based deliveries, and skilled birth attendants
- identification and management of infectious diseases including HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections
- promoting tetanus toxoid immunization
- intermittent preventive treatment for malaria during pregnancy
- management of obstetric complications such as preeclampsia and hemorrhage
- education to promote the use of skilled birth attendants and healthy behaviors including breastfeeding, early postnatal care, and planning for optimal pregnancy spacing
CMMB also addresses cultural, behavioral, socioeconomic, health system, and other challenges, especially those that contribute to the three primary delays that inhibit pregnant women from reaching maternal care:
- the decision to seek maternal health care
- identifying and reaching a maternal health medical facility
- receipt of adequate and appropriate maternal health treatment
Evidence shows that by addressing these delays, we can positively impact a mother’s utilization of critical health services and her maternal health outcomes.
Safe Motherhood in South Sudan
In 2013, CMMB initiated a Safe Motherhood project at the Ezo Primary Health Care Center in Nzara County as part of our CHAMPS (Children & Mothers Partnerships). The program directly responds to the “three delays” and leverages CMMB’s volunteer program to expand access to quality care. The program encourages, mentors, and tangibly supports traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to refer pregnant women for facility-based antenatal care and delivery. TBA-related efforts have led to consistent increases in the number of pregnant women referred for antenatal care, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), and outpatient services.
A combination of integrated maternal health interventions, including placement of a volunteer OB/GYN surgeon, resulted in dramatic demand for maternal healthcare services, demand that rose by 39% during the year. There were no maternal deaths during the first three-quarters of 2015 and only one infant death—in sharp contrast to the high maternal and infant mortality rates prevalent in the region.
 WHO, 2015.