Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More on Maternal Mortality in Malawi

Perhaps one of the most shocking things I learned while at Harvard’s School of Public Health was how unpopular maternal mortality is as an issue in the global health world. I’m told that’s that’s partly a result of internal academic politics—the obstetric and community health folks cannot seem to come to an agreement on what’s required. But people who do this stuff for a living also say that improving maternal mortality rates is just not as popular a cause or as easy to fund as improving child mortality rates. As if children could raise themselves after they were born.

When I got back to Lilongwe this weekend, I learned Dr. Sue Makin of Mulanje Mission Hospital in southern Malawi wrote a guest blog for Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. She very clearly makes the connection between many Malawian women’s lack of power over their own healthcare—even deciding whether to go to the hospital is often not left to her—and high rates of death during childbirth.

On average, about one out of every 100 live births in Malawi results in the death of the mother. The ratio at Embangweni is about one in every 600—still high but six times better than the national average. Shows what can be accomplished.

Will find out about the situation in Mulanje when we travel there on Friday. Another great benefit of the Internet: Sue invited me to come last spring when I posted my Nieman field project proposal on the web.

2 comments:

Susan Messer said...

Christine, Lisa told me you'd posted again, so I quickly read through all these new entries this morning. Wow. It's really amazing what you're doing. Can't believe all that equipment you're carrying, and all the technology involved, just to do your work. Not to mention everything you're seeing and absorbing.

While I was reading, I kept thinking about the Lange-Taylor Prize (for a collaboration between a writer and a photographer) and think you should apply. Here's the link.

http://cds.aas.duke.edu/l-t/

I've been eyeing that prize for a couple years now, hoping to find a photographer who would collaborate with me, but I think your work is really spot-on for what they seek.

All the best,
Susan Messer

Christine Gorman said...

Hi Susan,
Thanks for the tip! Eileen says she's game. Christine