Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders / MSF)
Maternal death: a preventable tragedy
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We rely on the kindness of people like you to provide emergency medical assistance to men, women and children in urgent need. Please make a donation to help Médecins Sans Frontières' patients, even in the most challenging situations.
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Why your support matters so much

Margaret Bell© Benoit Finck/MSF
"Médecins Sans Frontières needs to be there to provide healthcare, because in a lot of countries, the government either can't or won't.

And the wonderful thing is that in our hospitals women are getting quality care, they are getting complications identified, and they can receive the appropriate treatment.

We are very lucky we have donors that support us. Because we couldn't do this without them."
- Médecins Sans Frontières nurse and midwife Margaret Bell.

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A patient's story

One mother's potentially catastrophic haemorrhage

A Médecins Sans Frontières therapeutic treatment centre for malnutrition in Marere, Somalia
Kara Blackburn provides training to our staff in Bougainville, ensuring a high standard of care for mothers, and skilled health workers for Bougainville in the future. © MSF
Kara Blackburn, Women's Health Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières in Sydney, is supporting our maternal health project in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. She recently spoke about how kind people like you are helping us provide vital medical assistance to mothers like Koina.

"Maternal mortality in Papua New Guinea is very high. The main issue women face is very limited access to healthcare.

Bougainville's civil war has left a chronic lack of medical infrastructure. Geography also has a lot to do with it; many people live in remote villages, like the one in which our team found Koina.

Koina was due to give birth, and she told the team she'd had a previous stillbirth. That put her at risk of complications, so they brought her in to our clinic. When I saw Koina, it was obvious she was carrying twins.

Both her boys were born in good condition. But there's a high risk of haemorrhage after you have twins, and Koina started to bleed.

She was bleeding heavily – she probably lost 1.5 litres altogether. We managed to control her bleeding using misoprostol and intravenous fluids with oxytocin, which prevented her going into shock. Without this, she would have lost a lot more blood.

Koina's haemorrhage could have been catastrophic, but we were able to manage her complications. And she now has two lovely, healthy boys."

Patient's name has been changed.

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