Today, maternal mortality reduction has become both a state and a national priority, which is reflected in the government's National Population Policy and National Health Policy.
Galvanizing support for maternal health is the goal of the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula, which in 2006 worked in 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab States. The aim is to prevent and treat a terrible childbirth injury called fistula-a rupture in the birth canal that occurs during prolonged, obstructed labour and leaves women incontinent, isolated and ashamed. Most victims are poor, young and malnourished. Nine out of 10 fistulas can be successfully repaired. Since the launch of the campaign in 2003, UNFPA has assisted 30 countries to complete needs assessments. More than 20 countries have moved from assessment and planning to implementation. Eleven governments, as well as private-sector supporters such as Johnson & Johnson, One by One and the 34 Million Friends of UNFPA donated to the campaign in 2006. Pakistan, for example, launched its own national campaign to end fistula. With UNFPA support, seven regional centres were established to provide surgical treatment free of charge. UNFPA also launched a major public awareness campaign in the UK targeting policymakers and the public.
Over the last four years in Rajasthan, the percentage of deliveries assisted by skilled birth attendants increased by more than 30 percent.
In rural India, one woman dies every five minutes giving birth, often due to poor health, unsafe home births and inadequate access to quality healthcare. In the country more than 100,000 women die every year due to childbirth-related causes. UNICEF has been working with the Government of India, health partners and donors to address this situation. The Women's Right for Life and Health project aims to ensure that women and their children, especially among the poorest communities receive adequate health care. Over the last four years in Rajasthan, for example, the percentage of deliveries assisted by skilled birth attendants increased by more than 30 percent. Communities have responded positively with a boost in voluntary blood donations for use during obstetric emergencies. Today, maternal mortality reduction has become both a state and a national priority, which is reflected in the government's National Population Policy and National Health Policy.
Last updated 1 November 2007