Maternal Healthcare

94% of all maternal deaths occur in low or middle-income countries.

Women in rural Ethopia face a one in ten chance of dying during pregnancy and higher rates of developing life-altering gynecological complications. 

Maternal healthcare refers to our work to prevent maternal and neonatal death in childbirth and to treat and prevent complications of childbirth, including fistula. Our efforts are directed at creating and building health systems of care that improve access to skilled assistance at the time of delivery and, if needed, to emergency obstetric care. We do this by breaking down barriers to seeking, reaching, and receiving medical care through treatment programs, capacity building, and the education and training of healthcare providers.

What are the Common Complications?

Fistula and pelvic organ prolapse are two of the most common and debilitating complications of childbirth.

An obstetric fistula is a condition where a hole forms between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, causing a woman to become incontinent of urine and/or stool. This can result in severe infection.​

Pelvic organ prolapse, like fistula, can be caused by prolonged labor. In this condition, the uterus, rectum, or bladder essentially sag, sometimes to the point that they hang completely out of the body, causing pain, difficulty moving, and trouble going to the bathroom.  

Barriers & Obstacles

Improving access to skilled assistance including emergency obstetric care at the time of delivery is cited as the most effective way to prevent maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, however, access to these healthcare services is often poor — especially in rural communities. 

When working to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes, it is essential to understand the barriers that women face when attempting to access medical assistance.

Internal beliefs, cultural values and fear of the outside world may deter women from seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth. Through our Screen, Transport and Treat Program we work to build trust in medical providers and create community-based health systems of care where there are none.

The inability to reach medical facilities is a reality for so many women in rural Ethiopia.  We work to make medical care more accessible by improving capacity in local health facilities and by developing referral networks with transportation that facilitate access to emergency obstetric care.

Our education and training programs aim to create a strong and confident workforce that is able to provide clean and safe healthcare and skilled assistance at the time of delivery.

All of our programs aim to remove these barriers in order to improve maternal health outcomes in rural Ethiopia.