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Global Health: Reproductive Health

Most maternal deaths, due to complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth, are preventable, and great strides have been made in improving maternal health and reducing the number of deaths. Between 1990 and 2013, maternal mortality dropped by 45 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet, every day approximately 800 women still die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In 2013, the number of maternal deaths worldwide was 289,000 women.

Maternal health impacts families, communities and societies with far-reaching effects, especially in developing countries, where 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur. The risk of maternal mortality is highest for girls under 15, many of whom have no access to contraception.

Our Pulitzer Center grantees have reported from many countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Guinea Bissau, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia and Nigeria. They are covering a wide range of issues—teenage pregnancy, child marriage, illegal abortion, religious beliefs and attitudes towards family planning, and poor infrastructure. Their stories highlight the severity of the reproductive health crisis as well as some of the many efforts made to give more women access to better and safer healthcare.

Global Health: Reproductive Health

One Mother's Story: A Casualty of Three Delays

One night in late March, about 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Sulekha Lohar woke feeling ill. Sharing a bed with her husband and two young sons, she felt her chest pounding and her legs swell. She began convulsing. After about an hour, her husband, not knowing what to do, decided to seek help from his parents.

India: Three Wives, 10 Kids Is Enough

The air crackles as a team of medical staff and crew walk across a peanut field, lugging a big generator from their boat into a village of 850 people. Near a collection of thatchroof homes, the crew sets up a projector on the dirt floor of a small bamboo structure that also serves as the community’s schoolhouse.

Boat Clinics Serve India's Isolated Villages

We load up in an SUV and make our way through the streets of Guwahati. It is raining, and much of this major city in northeastern India is flooded. Cars, men pedaling rickshaws and our SUV slowly edge their way through the water-filled streets. The water looks orange, stained from the clay that has eroded from the surrounding hills and clogged Guwahati’s drains. We are headed to meet a boat that will take a group of medical staff and us to visit a remote island on the Brahmaputra River.

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