Denise Grady has an excellent piece this morning in the NYTimes on the problems that lead to high maternal mortality rates in Tanzania. While the article is excellent, the photo collection that accompanies it is even better.

The article highlights a number of key challenges to reducing the burden of maternal mortality: insufficient human resources, poor quality of medical services, lack of physical access to facilities, the high costs of medical services, and preferences for home births.

The article pointed to small scale efforts that were being tested in parts of Tanzania including use lower level of health workers, such as district medical officers, to perform surgical procedures such as caesarean sections, and building facilities near hospitals for pregnant women to stay in as they wait to give birth. These solutions will probably help, but will not likely be enough. Bringing emergency obstetric services to the people, when and where they are needed, will be necessary. Until then, women will face the terribly high risks of death in childbirth.

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