Wheres the real danger zone for giving birth?

The Telegraph today carries a story revealing that pregnant women living in the UK are more likely to die in childbirth or for pregnancy related factors than women in Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic.

This is certainly surprising – as few would think of the UK as a danger zone for giving birth. After all, there are maternity wards in hospitals, specialist doctors and nurses and sufficient resources to treat any complications here.
But as the study goes on to show, although the UK fares worse than average for the rest of western Europe, on a global scale there are more than 150 other countries in the world which are doing far worse.

The new study does shine some glimmers of hope upon the developing world as it finds that fewer women there have been dying in childbirth in recent years. But Amnesty is concerned that the figures remain far too high.

A few weeks ago, Amnesty and a group of other agencies highlighted how women living in poorer countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Ghana face the same level of risk of dying in childbirth as women living in the UK faced 100 years ago.

That is really unacceptable and it is why Amnesty is vigorously campaigning both in the UK and internationally to ensure governments globally place greater emphasis on this issue.

Just before the election caravans rolled into action, we met with each of the three main political leaders or their representatives to urge them to put maternal and child health at the heart of their international development commitments and gave them a manifesto for motherhood.

So far maternal health has not been a campaign topic. Let’s hope that whoever gets the keys to 10 Downing Street on 6 May does not in their flurry of euphoria forget about the promises of support on this subject they gave us.  

Otherwise, we’ll be knocking on their door before long to remind them.

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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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