DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Save The Mothers Fund

By Caty Weaver

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Several international organizations have recently expressed the need to deal with the problem of deaths linked to pregnancy and childbirth. The United Nations Children's Fund says more than five-hundred-thousand women die from conditions linked to pregnancy and childbirth every year. It says the death rate in developing countries is more than one-hundred times higher than in industrial countries.

UNICEF says the major causes of death for pregnant women include uncontrolled bleeding, infection and the disease eclampsia. The agency also says that more than fifty percent of the world's pregnant women give birth with little or no medical assistance.

The International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians is a group of doctors who care for women's reproductive health. The organization has established a new program to help prevent pregnancy-related deaths among women in developing nations.

The program is called the Save the Mothers Fund. The United Nations Population Fund, the World Bank and an international drug company pay for the program. Several other organizations take part in Save the Mothers. They include the World Health Organization, UNICEF and universities and government agencies in developing nations.

The Save the Mothers Fund provides medical workers in developing countries with training by doctors from industrial nations. The doctors teach the most modern medical treatments for difficult births and ways to improve care during pregnancy. Save the Mothers also works to make it easier for women to get emergency medical assistance when it is needed. The program also provides equipment, medicine and other supplies to health care centers in the countries taking part in the program.

The Save the Mothers program is working in Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Training also is taking place in Nicaragua, Pakistan, Mozambique and Uganda. The industrial nations involved include Britain, Canada, Italy, Sweden and the United States.

The Save the Mothers Fund was established in Nineteen-Ninety-Seven for a three-year experimental period. Next month, officials say they will ask financial supporters for more money to continue and possibly expand the program.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver.

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