Each year in Sub-saharan Africa, 160,000 women die of complications with pregnancy and childbirth. Over her lifetime, an African woman has a 1 in 32 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to 1 in 2,400 in Europe (UNICEF, 2012) There are several reasons for the high maternal mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, including extreme poverty, loss of community structure and inadequate infrastructure.
While the problem seems insurmountable, improvements are possible with basic health care and gender equality. In 2006, we started our Maternal Health Project following the World Health Organization’s recommendations for reducing maternal death rates. Our Maternal Health Project has two parts: The ﬁrst is a direct approach to the immediate problem. Each year, we fund full pre and post-delivery care, including special and urgent needs. Alaffia product sales have paid for the birth of 4,142 babies in rural Togolese communities through the Togo Health Clinic system.
The Alafﬁa Women’s Clinic Project is the second part of our women’s health efforts. In 2007, we began to partner with local Togolese health clinics to provide information and training on all women’s health issues, including nutrition, preventing female genital mutilation practices, and many more. We believe that saving mothers is a necessary step in reducing poverty. When a mother dies, her surviving children’s nutrition & health suffer, and they are more likely to drop out of school, reducing their ability to rise out of poverty.