By Sainabou Oliver, Montgomery College, Maryland
“I stand at the center of a world that needs to pay attention to maternal mortality in The Gambia.”
Having a child should be an exciting moment for mums, but in The Gambia, pregnant women are worried about their lives and their unborn children due to the fragile health care system in the country. Being pregnant is like a death sentence there. Being pregnant is like a death sentence there. Gambian women continue to die in labor or after delivery. There are issues such as: shortage of blood, pain during c-section, delays in receiving prompt and appropriate care, lack of equipment, and not having proper antenatal care. As a mother of a one-year-old who had a difficult pregnancy, I can’t imagine what these women must be going through. I remember delivering my baby before the due date because of maternal hypertension. I was lucky to be diagnosed early and given the help that I needed. What could have happened to me if I was back home? Almost every day on social media we hear heartbreaking and tragic stories from family and friends about pregnant women losing their lives or babies because of health issues that could have been avoided. The situation there is so sad, and it needs immediate intervention. The government and its partners should step in and invest in research to find out solutions that will help with this health crisis.
From the United Nations Video Library ~ “Maternal Mortality: Tragedy on a massive scale” January 2009 (3:13)
Video Summary and Quotes
This video talks about ways to reduce maternal mortality such as scaling up family planning, supporting pre-natal care, and having skilled birth attendants. The video also talked about the huge gap of having a high-risk pregnancy in the US or Europe compared to Africa.
“If you are a woman delivering in Niger you have one in seven chances of dying during pregnancy and delivery compared to the US where is 1 to 4800.”
This quote shows how pregnant women in Africa are at risk when giving birth. This video is linked to my topic because it is talking about ways to reduce maternal mortality. I believe if these ideas are implemented in my county, they can bring about a big change.
A Strong Institution Can Help ~ Mbama Care Foundation
Mbama Care Foundation is a grassroots organization that helps Gambian communities facing poverty and maternal and infant mortality by providing help in areas of maternal care, physical and mental health education, and food insecurity. It is not an old institution, but it is run by very passionate young Gambians. I have been following them for a while and I have seen them make a big difference in helping the dysfunctional health care system in The Gambia.
“We believe that women should not die in childbirth.”
I agree with this quote. Almost every day you see people dying of minor health problems due to a lack of proper materials to help the people in need.
I believe that Mbama Care Foundation is a strong and sustainable institution because it is run by women who are going above and beyond to make sure the voices of their vulnerable people are heard. They even organized a march sometime this year which is so uncommon in my country. The protest aimed to alert the government and other institutions of the maternal deaths in the country.
I follow them on all social media platforms and have seen the remarkable work they are doing daily to help pregnant women. You see them asking for blood donations for women in labor, helping babies who lost their mums during childbirth with formula, milk, clothing, and advocating for maternal mortality awareness which is starting to get the attention of the government and other institutions.