With the second highest maternal mortality rates, Chad falls drastically behind the fifth United Nation Millennium Development Goal in diminishing the mortality ratio by three quarters. There are approximately 1,100 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, illustrating a dire need for solutions.
The nature of the problem varies, with deaths ranging from hemorrhage, HIV/AIDS, limited access to health care and obstructive labor. There is also a high Total Fertility Rate in Chad, with women averaging about 5 children.
Many disparities exist between Chadian women who live in urban and rural areas, where the latter averages a much higher TFR. This is partially due to the lack of access to antenatal care as well as limited availability of contraceptives.
Similar to many other patriarchal societies, men play a big role in hindering women from receiving family planning services, consequently endangering their spouse.
High maternal mortality rates pose serious social and economic repercussions for Chadians, further sinking affected families in poverty and decreasing the nation’s economic growth.
A mother is the foundation of a family and research has shown that when a mother passes, there is a greater likelihood for a child to drop out of school, in addition to becoming malnourished.
To address the problem at hand, the Chadian government should focus on increasing access to health facilities, strengthening family planning services and educating young mothers on proper antenatal care. Establishing clinics with trained health professionals increases the rate of women with medical supervision during childbirth.
Chad has witnessed inadequate human resources for health; thus, more midwives and physicians are in need of proper training. In addition, 20 percent of women have an unmet need for contraceptives, indicating that family size is out of their control.
Better access to family planning allows births to be spaced out and reduces unwanted pregnancy. Furthermore, education is key in developing countries. Teaching Chadian women about reproductive health will ensure that women are making choices that are best for their bodies and will give them a sense of empowerment.
– Leeda Jewayni
Sources: CIA, Safer Birth in Chad, World Bank
Photo: The Guardian