Mother’s Day follow-up: Nicholas Kristof on Maternal Health in Africa

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Nicholas Kristof here at Saving Mothers. Over the years, he has done an amazing job of bringing attention to key pubic health issues around the globe.

For Mother’s Day, Kristof wrote a poignant piece for the New York Times titled “Mothers We Could Save.” The article uses the example of Hinda Hassan, a woman in Somaliland — a mother of eight who died giving birth to her ninth child. The birth attendants were ill equipped for her difficult labor, and after many hours and several transfers between facilities, she died.

It’s a tragic story, but not an uncommon one. There are many things that went wrong in this scenario — the lack of training on the part of the birth attendants, the lack of proper equipment, etc. But Kristof highlights one key element: the lack of access to contraception for women like Hinda Hassan.

Kristof discusses the importance, not only of increasing the contraceptive options available to women in resource-poor settings, but of moving beyond their availability to their acceptance and usage. Improving conditions for mothers and children is a different challenge in Africa than it is in the U.S. Kristof urges discussion of these differences, encouraging his readers to understand the complexity of improving public health in this region and drawing attention to how far we still have to go to to win the battle against maternal mortality.

It’s a pretty important message to share on Mother’s Day. Thanks again, Mr. Kristof.

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