2,000 women dying through childbirth in Burkina Faso each year

Ouagadougou – now there’s a capital city you don’t hear much about. It’s a name which you’d be expected to know in a pub quiz – “name the capital of Burkina Faso…!”

Well, now you’ve read this, you’ll have the answer. But if you really want to demonstrate flair of insight into this lesser-known town, you can add that it boasts the sad title of being the capital of a country where more than 2,000 women die every year during pregnancy or childbirth.

That equates to just fewer than five  women a day dying because of pregnancy and childbirth. Any way you look at it, that’s a pretty horrendous figure.

Tragically as Amnesty’s new report published today highlights, it’s the poorer women who are most affected by maternal mortality in Burkina Faso as they are both financially and geographically hindered in accessing healthcare.
 
A few years ago, the country’s government introduced a policy to subsidise 80 per cent of childbirth costs and set out to make it completely free for the poorest women. But this policy has not been not well publicised and so is being left open to exploitation by corrupt medical staff.

The lack of trained medical staff and supplies is another factor which contributes to women not being able to access the care they need.

Following today’s report launch in Ouagadougou, Amnesty delegates will travel throughout Burkina Faso to mobilise women and men around the realisation of their right to health. At the end of the trip, Amnesty’s interim Secretary-General will meet with senior authorities within the Burkinabe government to discuss practical ways in which it can fulfil its commitment to improve conditions for pregnant women in this West African state.

Giving Birth, Risking Death hasn’t hit many headlines today, perhaps because news editors may argue that other countries have worse rates of maternal mortality – Sierra Leone and Afghanistan being two prime examples.  

However as far as Amnesty’s concerned, 2,000 women dying each year because of discrimination, poverty and lack of access to their basic right to health, is staggering enough for us to report on.

We’ll be monitoring the progress in Burkina Faso and will keep you updated.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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