DECADES ago many of us would have had personal experience of mothers and babies dying in childbirth within our families.
Thankfully this is now a rare occurrence in Britain. But in other parts of the world, pregnancy is still a life-threatening condition for millions of women and girls.
A new Amnesty International report reveals that one in eight women who become pregnant in
Sierra Leone die as a result, whereas in rich countries the figure is one in 4,500.
This level of maternal deaths has adevastating effect on whole communities. Older children lose their mother and are then less likely to go to school or to have an adequate standard of living. The family loses part of its income.
There is a view that this situation is an inevitable part of poverty; that countries just have to wait until they get richer and then this problem will end. In fact there are steps that could be taken now to stop millions of women dying needlessly, such as using aid money to ensure there are no charges that prevent women seeking medical help, and working to end practices such as forced and early marriage, which put girls at a higher risk of dying in childbirth.
For more information on how to get involved with campaigning for Human Rights for all, especially the world's poorest people, email email@example.com or call 01895 251 566.
JANET TYAS Secretary, Amnesty International
Hillingdon group Waterloo Road