Donate to AAPDEP’s Infant and Maternal Mortality Project by visiting: http://developmentforafrica.org/donate.shtml
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) would like to announce its latest initiative—a tour to raise resources for a maternity clinic in Sierra Leone. The tour will begin in February 2011.
AAPDEP’s Stop the Hemorrhaging! campaign highlights the plight of African mothers and babies while promoting African self-determination as the only sustainable strategy for transforming these conditions.
Childbirth should be a miraculous time in the lives of any family. Unfortunately, in practice this fails to be the case for many Africans.
Instead, mothers are often faced with the heartbreaking knowledge that either they or their babies may die during a process that is meant to give life.
Women in sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to die during childbirth than those in any other region, with a mortality rate 100 times greater than that of “developed” countries.
And nearly one in ten infants in sub-Saharan Africa will not to live to the age of one year, a figure that does not take into account the disproportionate number of miscarriages and stillbirths.
With less than half of births attended by skilled health personnel, many mothers and babies are dying from complications that could easily be dealt with given the right skills and equipment.
Since hospitals are often inaccessible, both due to physical distance and a lack of funds to pay for services, many families rely on traditional birth attendants who often do not have the training to deal with difficulties.
The AAPDEP fundraising tour
The danger of infant and maternal mortality is especially great in Sierra Leone, which remains impoverished despite its wealth of natural and human resources.
Sierra Leone has the world’s highest ratio of maternal mortality with one in eight women at risk of dying during childbirth. It also has one of the highest global rates of infant mortality with 123 of every 1000 babies not surviving to the age of one.
Nurse-Midwife Mary Koroma, who will be headlining a fundraising tour in the US during Black History Month, has dedicated her career to combating this threat. She is setting up a makeshift medical shack in a local village and training traditional birth attendants from nearby communities.
Funds raised from the Stop the Hemorrhaging! tour will be used to build a clinic in Sierra Leone.
AAPDEP will be bringing Nurse Mary to the United States to train with African midwives here on the basic techniques that could mean the difference between life and death for mothers and babies in the villages in which she works.
Nurse Mary will then return to Sierra Leone to pass on this knowledge to her network of birth attendants.
Maternal and infant mortality in the United States
Far from being an issue only facing Africans on the Continent, maternal mortality plagues African women wherever they are located.
Despite the stolen wealth of the United States, which ranks as the world’s richest country, women in America face a greater lifetime risk during childbirth than those in 40 other countries, and it is women of color who bear the brunt of this risk.
African women in the US are four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women, and African babies die at more than twice the rate of white infants.
In Washington, DC, which has a majority black population, women are almost 30 times more likely to die than in Maine.
Many of these deaths are attributable to systemic barriers to healthcare in the US, with Amnesty International, the human rights organization, stating that nearly half of these maternal deaths are preventable.
Self-Determination for African families
So how do we overcome these high rates of infant and maternal mortality and combat what is essentially the most significant human rights violation impacting African families?
For many charity organizations and even governments, the response is to implement isolated projects aimed at relieving these conditions in certain areas.
While this strategy may impart a temporary reprieve it does little to combat the underlying causes of this war being waged on African women and babies. A charity approach does not address the contradiction at the core of this issue.
On a continent with such an abundance of wealth and resources, how can women and children still be dying of easily preventable complications? Where does this wealth go if it is not being directed at the most basic needs of a community?
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project recognizes that African self-determination is the only sustainable option for reversing these conditions.
AAPDEP is the arm of the Uhuru Movement that focuses on the development of African communities.
Unlike charity organizations that only treat the symptoms of imperialism, however, all of AAPDEP’s work is tied into the wider political struggle for African control of Africa’s resources.
Support AAPDEP’s Infant and Maternal Mortality Project
AAPDEP is looking for individuals or groups who are interested in bringing Nurse Mary and other experts to their city to speak about this serious problem and further explore these contradictions.
Let’s work together to Stop the Hemorrhaging!