Maternal Mortality in Somalia

Topics: Demography, Millennium Development Goals, Obstetrics, Maternal death, Public health, Health / Pages: 15 (3650 words) / Published: Dec 2nd, 2012
II. Global Public Health Issue

Somalia is a country that has suffered from many issues since the collapse of any sort of centralized government. The Somali people have suffered from countless diseases, poverty, conflict, environmental disasters, and constant displacement. For almost an entire generation the country has been without an effective central government, which in turn had major effects on the country’s health system. The Somali health system consists primarily of fragmented and privatized services that are insufficient and unequally distributed. The country’s public health system has very little central governance or management. Due to these factors most of the population do not have access to the most basic health services and definitely do not have access to higher level of services if needs arises. The lack of an overall adequate health system that is controlled by a centralized government has crippled the progress of reproductive health. Giving birth in Somalia is extremely dangerous and very unpredictable. Somali woman are among the highest risk women in the world with a Maternal Mortality (MMR) of 1,044-1,400 per 100,000 live births compared to a 12 per 100,000 in the United States.1 Even after a mother survives all these risks and delivers her baby, both mother and child continue to face constant risks. The under-five infant mortality rate is 225 per 1,000 live births2 compared to 8 per 1,000 live births in the US3, putting infants in Somalia in the highest risk category worldwide.

A woman’s health and behavior during pregnancy affects the health of her unborn baby. A poor diet, certain environmental exposures, illnesses, medication, and other factors affect the baby’s development. Prenatal and antenatal care is extremely important in order to ensure the health of the baby and the mother. In Somalia only one out of every four pregnant woman gets antenatal care and for those lucky few that do, the service isn’t even good enough and they

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