As the seven-year Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) program reached its halfway mark, 80 African and Canadian experts gathered in Dakar, Senegal, from April 24-27, 2017 to discuss the program’s emerging findings and to hone their research and policy engagement skills.
It is women and children across developing countries who suffer most from the shocks and stresses to health systems. In South Sudan — a country ravaged by conflicts — limited infrastructure, lack of health information, and severe shortages of health personnel contribute to high levels of maternal and child mortality. Outbreaks of infectious disease and epidemics have similar consequences — the impact of Ebola on maternal and child health in West Africa is one example.
An IDRC supported project was recognized for its efforts to improve health service provision and the monitoring of pregnant women, new mothers, children, and people living with HIV in Burkina Faso’s Nouna district. Dr Maurice Yé of the Centre de recherche en santé de Nouna, an IDRC partner, accepted the prize from the Fondation Pierre Fabre at the organization’s inauguration of the e-health observatory for countries in the South.
Innovative interventions to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria were the focus of a workshop in Abuja on September 21, 2016. Nigeria has the second highest absolute number of maternal deaths and perinatal deaths in the world, contributing to approximately 15% of all maternal deaths worldwide.
In 2010, some 40,000 Nigerian women died in childbirth — 14% of the world’s total maternal deaths. In many rural areas, women and girls marry young and put in long hours of gruelling domestic labour — grinding meal, fetching firewood and water, tilling and selling crops — well into late stages of pregnancy.