The number of women in poor countries who die in childbirth has barely changed in two decades and this despite a host of medical breakthroughs. How can the incidence of this devastating human tragedy be reduced?
Vivienne Walt/Freetown Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008
In a hospital ward in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, Fatmata Conteh, 26, lay on a bed, having just given birth to her second child. She had started bleeding from a tear in her cervix, the blood forming a pool on the floor below. Two doctors ran in and stitched her up, relatives found blood supplies, and nurses struggled to connect a generator to the oxygen tank. One nurse jammed an intravenous needle into Conteh's arm, while another hooked a bag of blood to a rusted stand, and a third slapped an oxygen mask over her face. In the corner...