Are Health Workers Delivering For Women? And Are We Delivering For Health Workers?

Rebecca Kohler | CapacityPlus | June 10, 2013

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

In 2010, an estimated 287,000 women died from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Of these deaths, 85% occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. This represents a global decline of 47% since 1990—but falls disappointingly short of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 75%.

Last week, I returned from Women Deliver, the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women. With just two and a half years left to meet the MDGs, more than 4,500 participants in Kuala Lumpur rallied around the need to accelerate progress to achieve MDG 5: to improve maternal health.

I attended the conference to hear what the international community is saying about the roles health workers play in achieving this global imperative. We know that the presence of a skilled birth attendant at delivery is important to averting maternal mortality and morbidity—whether it’s a doctor, a midwife, or specially trained auxiliary personnel. [...]