Approximately 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
94% of all maternal deaths occur in low or middle-income countries.
Women residing in rural Ethiopian communities are not immune to these high rates of maternal health complications. In areas that VHP serves, women face a one in ten chance of dying during pregnancy and higher rates of developing life-altering gynecological complications.
Maternal health refers to the total wellbeing of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-natal period. VHP works to promote safer motherhood at all three stages through education, healthcare, and capacity building programs.
What are the Common Complications?
Fistula and pelvic organ prolapse are two of the most common and debilitating complications of childbirth.
An obstetric fistula is a condition where a hole forms between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, causing a woman to become incontinent of urine and/or stool. This can result in severe infection.
Pelvic organ prolapse, like fistula, can be caused by prolonged labor. In this condition, the uterus, rectum, or bladder essentially sag, sometimes to the point that they hang completely out of the body, causing pain, difficulty moving, and trouble going to the bathroom.
Barriers and Obstacles
Maternal health care services are cited as one of the most effective ways to prevent maternal mortality, however, the utilization of these services is often poor - especially in rural communities. When working to promote maternal health, it is essential to understand the barriers these women face to reaching care.
The main barriers involve internal, interpersonal, and physical barriers, including the decision to seek medical care, the ability to reach medical facilities, and the availability of effective medical care. All of VHP's programs aim to remove these barriers in order to improve maternal health outcomes in rural Ethiopia.
Internal beliefs and cultural values may deter women from seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth due to social pressure or stigma. All of VHP's programs are community-based and community-driven and work to promote utilization of skilled birth attendants, labor and delivery services, and provide health care workers with the skills necessary to provide effective care.
The inability to reach medical facilities is a reality for so many women in rural Ethiopia. VHP's Screen, Trasport and Treat program allows for the safe transport of women to medical facilities in order to receive safe and effective treatment and care.
VHP's education programs aim to create a confident and skilled health system to allow women the care they deserve. In creating a health system, VHP works to break down these barriers, promoting maternal health services, and therefore improving maternal health around Ethiopia.