Women's Health: Fighting Mother and Infant Mortality in the Developing World


Every year, some 287,000 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, where Handicap International is working to improve the health of women, mothers and children. 

Due to a lack of information, problems accessing health centers, and unaffordable medical care, every day nearly 1,600 women and 10,000 newborn infants die as a result of preventable complications. 

“Many women also suffer from paralysis of the pelvis or obstetric fistula as a result of a difficult birth,” says Rafik Bedoui, one of Handicap International’s mother and child experts. “This can cause incontinence and leave women unable to have sexual relations. They’re rejected by their husbands, family and community. However, by providing women with information before they get pregnant, making it easier for them to access health centers, and training medical staff in the early detection of disability, these disabilities can be prevented."

Handicap International’s maternal and child health projects improve the health of women of child-bearing age, mothers, and children under five in 15 countries, including Laos, Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Senegal. The organization conducts disability prevention and early detection programs and treats impairments caused by pregnancy and childbirth. It also ensures women with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable, are able to access pre- and post-natal consultations and health services.