Saving Mothers Giving Life: Proving What Can Be Done

Saving Mothers Giving Life: Proving What Can Be Done

Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest maternal mortality rates. Saving Mothers Giving Life

Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest maternal mortality rates.

“Access to emergency obstetric services within two hours.” It was an audacious goal, particularly on behalf of women who live in some of the most challenging districts in sub-Saharan Africa. So was a 50% reduction in maternal mortality. Many critics simply said the objective was too big and it couldn’t be done.

In many places, the maternal mortality rate surpasses 500, and the proportion of maternal deaths from indirect causes such as HIV continues to rise. To meet this challenge head on was a tremendous commitment and a bold statement. In 2012, Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) was created to do precisely that, and founded on the belief that a seismic change requires an entire healthcare system solution, not a single intervention. Six founding partners came together to address the Three Delays that impact maternal mortality,

1) The Delay in Seeking Care
2) The Delay in Reaching Care
3) The Delay in Receiving Care

The founding partners, the Governments of Uganda and Zambia, the United States government, the Government of Norway, Merck for Mothers, Every Mother Counts, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and Project C.U.R.E., were joined by a host of implementing partners on the ground in Uganda and Zambia.

Nurses, midwives and doctors were trained in critical care. Saving Mothers Giving Life

Nurses, midwives and doctors were trained in critical care.

Hundreds of community workers, midwives and healthcare workers visited towns and villages with a message that pre-natal and post-natal visits are essential to survival. Funding was provided for transportation vouchers so that every mother could travel to the health centers to receive care. Nurses, doctors and midwives were trained in critical care and life saving techniques so that when the mother reached help, the attendants were both competent and ready.

PQMD member Project C.U.R.E. has played a significant role in providing medical equipment and supplies to the health centers and hospitals in the target regions in Uganda and Zambia. It is an unbearable frustration for skilled healthcare workers to receive up-to-date training in modern, life-saving medical procedures only to realize that they lack the necessary supplies and equipment to implement what they have learned.

Project C.U.R.E.’s donor partners have helped provide the necessary tools for healthcare systems strengthening; beds, delivery tables, gloves and gauze, suture – even scrubs. An SMGL implementing partner in Zambia told Project C.U.R.E. President Douglas Jackson, “When the nurses unpacked their new scrubs, they were so excited, they started to dance. For most of them, it was their first pair of new scrubs, and that made a big difference in morale in that health center.”

A Ugandan doctor explains the results of the SMGL program. Saving Mothers Giving Life

A Ugandan doctor explains the results of the SMGL program.

The results of SMGL, gathered through a careful, detailed program of Measurement and Evaluation, have been astonishing. In the target districts of Zambia, the reports are a 53% reduction in maternal mortality, and in Uganda the reduction is 48% – and those are mid-term results. Clearly, the combined efforts of the founding partners, the implementing partners and the hundreds of committed doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers is working! And the program is expanding to new districts, including a new host-country, Nigeria.

More can be learned at www.savingmothersgivinglife.org.

ShareFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest
FollowFacebooktwitterFacebooktwitter