Belize: Improving the Odds for the Nation's Mothers

Belize is one of several countries implementing the 'Millennium Development Goals' (MDGs) into its health care system since 2000. Goal 5 of the MDGs is dedicated to reducing the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent before 2015. Belize is working towards this goal by increasing the number of births attended by a skilled professional, providing universal access to reproductive health care for mothers, and increasing contraceptive knowledge and usage throughout its communities.

Regardless of the improved access to health care, many women are still not taking advantage of these services and do not understand why they need to. Belizean health professionals say that the day of delivery is the first time some patients see their first doctor. Many complications that develop can be prevented if the mother-to-be seeks proper care throughout her pregnancy. Although the health care system and staff are in place for safe deliveries, Belizean officials say they need to do more to eliminate the number of women seeking help when it is too late.

Samantha Danis was one of five winners of the 2010 Pulitzer Center YouTube Project Report contest.

Improving the Odds for a Nation of Mothers

Throughout the world, more than 350,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. Belize is one country that is trying to improve maternal health care in hopes of reducing the risks for pregnant women.

Maternal Mortality in Belize

Throughout the world, one woman dies during childbirth every 90 seconds…. While the United States has seen an increase in maternal mortality, Belize is finding ways to improve maternal health.The World Health Organization reports that, with a rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies, the U.S. ranks behind more than 40 other countries…. Some health officials say that an increase in the age of pregnant women, as well as obesity, diabetes, and the number of c-sections and induced labors have led to this increase….