MaterCare International

MaterCare serves the needs of mothers worldwide, and we do all this from an office in St. John's, Newfoundland. Our office needs a new color printer and ongoing supplies, but we at MaterCare spend well below the industry average on administration, putting over 95 percent of all donations directly back into projects! Help us keep our office up to date by donating to our office fund this Giving Tuesday!

It is estimated that 600,000 mothers die annually during pregnancy and labour. The risk of a mother dying as a direct cause of pregnancy and labour in Africa is 1 : 13, compared to 1 : 7,300 for example in Canada.

Maternal deaths do not take place in a visible and concentrated way, but occur among very young mothers, in small villages, and a few at a time. Most die in terror from haemorrhage or in agony from obstructed labour as their pelvises are too small. Not only are the lives of these mothers abruptly terminated but the chances of survival of their new-borns and the two or more children that they already have and leave behind, decreases dramatically. It is also very likely that their families disintegrate in the aftermath of their death.

Sadly, these deaths only represent the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that for every mother that dies, 30 more suffer long-term damage to their health, most frequently from obstetric fistulae. These arise in very young mothers, aged between 14 and 20 years, as a consequence of unrelieved obstructed labour, and frequently also from cultural practices e.g. female circumcision. The result is that the baby dies and because of damage to the bladder, rectum and vagina, the mother becomes incontinent of urine and/or faeces (obstetric fistulae). She thus becomes a complete outcast and is treated worse than a leper by her husband, family and society, simply because she is wet, filthy and foul-smelling. They suffer pain, humiliation, and lifelong debility if not treated. There are estimated to be 500,000 - 1 million women, mostly in sub-sahelian Africa who are suffering the consequences of a fistula.

These high rates of mortality, morbidity and abortion indicate neglect. Mothers in the developing world do not have access to safe, clean, dignified places to have their babies or access to expert medical services to look after them and while obstetric fistulae can be treated surgically, at present there are insufficient trained doctors, nurses or adequate facilities for that purpose. Unfortunately, the international safe motherhood initiative has accepted the current culture of death prevalent in obstetrics and gynaecology. All of this points to a real poverty - the lack of love and compassion.

MaterCare is an international group of obstetricians and gynecologists that operate projects and hospitals dedicated to reducing maternal mortality worldwide. Join us this GivingTuesday. Help us keep our humble office afloat, and join us in serving mothers and their families.

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