It is estimated that every year 10 million women and adolescent girls experience complications during pregnancy, many of which leave them and/or their children with infections and severe disabilities, fistula being very common.
Globally, in terms of maternal mortality, the numbers remain staggering: each year there are at least 3.2 million stillborn babies, 4 million neonatal deaths and more than half a million maternal deaths. A total of 11–17% of maternal deaths occur during childbirth itself; 50–71% occur in the post-partum period. A total of 98% of stillbirths and newborn deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries: obstetric complications, particularly in labor, are responsible for perhaps 58% of them.
Worldwide, there are 430 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. In developing countries like Kenya, the figure is 480 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births; The care that can reduce maternal deaths and improve women’s health is also crucial for newborns’ survival and health. (WHO)
The risks that women face in bringing life into the world are not mere misfortunes or unavoidable natural disadvantages but injustices that societies have a duty to remedy through their political, social, health and legal systems.
LEFI launched the Prevention Component (Safe Motherhood) in 2017, which is one of our strategic focus areas, upon realization that majority of the fistula cases arise out of lack of critical information that women and girls need during pregnancy and childbirth.
Safe motherhood means ensuring that all women have access to the information and services they need to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth.
The goals of Safe Motherhood will not be achieved until women are empowered on their human rights – including their rights to quality services and information during and after pregnancy and childbirth – are realized.
To significantly reduce the prevalence of obstetric fistula, it is necessary to concurrently accelerate preventive measures to reduce new occurrences.
Therefore, with the launch of the Prevention Component, LEFI engages in community-based outreach education basing on the WHO 4 pillars of Safe Motherhood including, benefits of attending antenatal care clinics (ANC), skilled birth attendance, male involvement and how to access emergency obstetric care which aims at addressing the TWO DELAYS DURING LABOUR that happen at the community level (delay in making a decision to seek medical attention and delay in getting to the health facility respectively).
This work is done by fistula survivors using their stories that highlight the critical aspect of not only the MESSAGE but the MESSENGER.