One of the biggest issues when it comes to maternal health care in developing countries stems from education. Not only educating women, but also the men in their lives. All too often women may be living in societies where the men have a big impact on decisions made during their pregnancy. For example, when I worked as the Host and Roving Reporter on The Maternal Health Channel in Ghana, I learned from a nurse in the Northern Region of Ghana, that many women refuse to come to the hospital when they are in labour. She explained that these women are waiting for their husbands to give them permission to go. Unfortunately in times of emergency when the husband may be at work far from home, it can lead to a life and death situation. Educating men to understand how important it is to allow their wives the freedom to make choices that are beneficial to her health and that of the baby is important.
*(Note: this is not necessarily common practice in Ghana, just in that particular area where the nurse explained one of the issues)
Aljazeerah America recently published an article about a new program in Ivory Coast which aims to educate husbands on issues of maternal health. In that country many women choose to give birth at home. Some don’t always see the validity of going to the hospital when culturally women have done it at home for as long as they can remember. It’s not until a death happens that considering the value of hospital care comes into consideration. One man named Kouame Koffi said “Men are in charge. They are the ones who have the money. They are the ones who decide whether or not the woman should go to the hospital.” He went on to say he “did not know about the good in hospitals.”
Read the full story on Aljazeera America here: