Maternal Survival and the Crisis in Human Resources for Health in Africa: Impact of the Brain Drain

  • Staffan Bergström
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on what might be the ultimate challenge in human resources for health: currently there are more pregnancy-associated deaths than all deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Every year more than half a million women and girls die during pregnancy or childbirth (WHO, 2007). Of all health indicators, maternal mortality shows the starkest disparity between rich and poor countries; 99 per cent of maternal mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries (WHO, 2007). The staggering number of maternal deaths still represents a small minority of deaths due to pregnancy complications; approximately seven per cent. We tend to forget the ‘passenger deaths’ of babies when we focus on the ‘carrier deaths’ of mothers. There are, annually, around four million stillborn babies in the world and three million early neonatal deaths (deaths very soon after birth), amounting to seven million deaths (Stanton et al., 2006; Lawn et al., 2006). In comparison, AIDS causes around 2.1 million deaths, tuberculosis around 1.6 million and malaria around 1.3 million, or, combined, around five million deaths per year.

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© Staffan Bergström 2010

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  • Staffan Bergström

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