Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders / MSF)
Maternal death: a preventable tragedy
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How can I help?

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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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Please tell your friends about our work helping women deliver their babies safely. By taking a moment to share this page on Facebook, tweet it, or email it to your friends, you can speak out about this preventable tragedy.

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.

Please donate now so we can keep delivering medical assistance to people who need us.

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Three things a mother needs

Skilled birth attendants

MUAC bands are used to measure the severity of malnutrition in children under 5 years
A healthy mother and her new premature baby, with their Médecins Sans Frontières midwife.
© Yasuyoshi Chiba/Duckrabbit
Life-threatening complications can arise during childbirth with little or no warning. This makes the role of skilled birth attendants such as midwives and obstetricians critical. By monitoring women throughout labour and birth, Médecins Sans Frontières staff can quickly identify any complications that occur, and provide the right treatment when it's needed.

Médecins Sans Frontières also focuses on training local staff to identify and manage complicated births, to increase the likelihood that women will have access to skilled birth attendants in the future.

Vital equipment

Surgery may be necessary in complicated cases, such as an obstructed labour.
Surgery may be necessary in complicated cases, such as an obstructed labour. © P.K. Lee/MSF
When labour starts going wrong, the right equipment can help stop complications from becoming life-threatening. But in many places where we work, conflict or natural disasters mean that well-equipped medical facilities are virtually non-existent. From forceps and vacuum extractors that help women with obstructed labours give birth, to sterile abdominal surgery kits that enable us to carry out caesarean sections, having basic equipment on hand plays a crucial role in reducing maternal mortality in our projects.

Essential drugs

A woman with complications is reassured by her midwife while being prepared for surgery.
A woman with complications is reassured by her midwife while being prepared for surgery.
© Yasuyoshi Chiba/Duckrabbit
Many of the medicines used to treat the biggest causes of maternal deaths are inexpensive and easy to administer, making them ideal for use in the developing countries in which we work. The donations we receive from our generous supporters make it possible for us to purchase these vital drugs for our clinics and hospitals, and give more women access to life-saving treatments.

Next: Explore our interactive maternal health clinic