Thursday, August 23, 2012

Women and men are linking arms with dads and families to save even more moms and babies around the world. Lives can be saved by something that cost less than a postage stamp. A common plastic grocery bag can hold the substance that can save the lives of about 1,300 women. There is a army of miracle workers that are making a difference in a world where giving birth is still the most dangerous thing a woman can do.
Giving life is a risky proposition and millions of dollars have been raised to try to make the risk factor to not be such an issue. The fact remains that every 90 seconds a woman dies during childbirth around the world. That is a thousand women dying every day many of them very young who could be saved. Many feel alone and lonely at the moment that is supposed to be filled with joy.
The average age American women have their first child is at 26 years old. She is likely to move on to have two children and live a life stretching into her 80’s. American women’s biggest concern before birth is whether or not they will need a cesarean. In Afghanistan it is not uncommon for teenagers to be pregnant. The girls biggest fear there is wondering if their mate or husband will still be alive when the child is born.
For a young girl in Afghanistan there is a one in ten chance that during having a baby she will die. This is the twentieth century and in these times why must there still be people in this world living in terrible conditions with little or poor health care? We are not talking about the care here of preexisting conditions or illnesses. We are talking about the basic needs of a woman during a act of procreation that should be a prepared routine in every country especially since the world’s population is growing.
Nick Kristoff, a columnist for the New York Times has written extensively about the dangers women face during childbirth. In many places in the world it is like a game of Russian Roulette. Instead of routine safeguards and precautions that mother and child is fine, it is a chance that one or both will survive. The world’s women really need to be treated much better in this day and age.
The worst conditions are targeted to poor women , rural women and to uneducated women. In some countries women have more than a one in ten risk of dying from childbirth. The many deaths from war and terrorism is a large number but far more women die in Afghanistan from childbirth than from Taliban bombs. The world needs to concentrate on life not death.
Every day a kind of battlefield gets filled with a thousand women dying during childbirth. We know exactly how to save these lives not that we need some new technological breakthrough. The question is, are we going to be able to finally make the lives of women a priority? Would it take much to make a difference in the lives of the girls who are forced to marry before the age of fifteen?
Thanks to a new Supreme Court ruling, our political candidates for president will be spending 3 Billion dollars on the campaigns. Imagine what good that money could be put to use instead on annoying comercials simply saying the other candidate is a horrible tumor on America. Put their money towards humanity and not just on the next president that many won’t like running their country anyway.
These religious beliefs do not make sense. The consequences can be barbaric. In Afghanistan some are eight years old being abused by men and do not stop forcing themselves on the girls despite their objections. These women are covered from the world from head to toe but abused by the people who claim them. In Afghanistan more than half of the marriages involve child brides.
A thirteen year old girl can be bought for about $2,000 dollars, roughly the price of 2 cows. The younger the bride, the higher the price with a premium placed on virginity. Where is Gloria Steinem now the advocate for women’s rights in America who said get out of the house and have a career and family. Many of the girls have goals. They want to be teachers but are suddenly pulled out of school for an arranged marriage.
The girl who loves school is now 15 and pregnant and afraid to know what will happen if she dares express that this was not her plan for her life. The girls are small, the height and weight of the average 10 year old in the states. Narrow hips and underdeveloped bodies place them in the danger zone where girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die during childbirth.
So many girls end up in a marriage when their pelvises are not fully formed so they are more likely to have obstructed labor and in many cases dieing. There are shelters in Afghanistan full of young teens 12 and 13 years old. Everyone in the shelter knows someone who has died despite that it is not legal to take these girls until they are 16. If you are a girl, being able to live in America is like winning the lottery.
It is hard to imagine that 30% of the women in the world are giving birth sitting on mud floors, no skilled medical attendant, in their shacks. The village attendant tries to help but has no medical training so she keeps pushing down hard on the stomach of the pregnant girl trying to squeeze the baby out. Only 20% of the births are attended by some help that is if you can call these conditions help at all.
Dr. Sandra McCalla of the Naimonides Medical Center said, that 80% of the girls are alone and hemorage and will die if unaided. Over the past 10 years some women have been given training as midwives through charitable organizations. Today with the simple use of a backpack, students are taught to deal with hemorrhaging which is the number one cause of maternal mortality.
The women are energized and want to help. Sheena Currie a Midwifery Advisor from the organization known as JHPIEGO says all the women want to help these girls. There are 3,000 midwives now dispersed across Afghanistan now. According to a recent survey, the amount of women dying from childbirth is dropping from 1 in 11 to 1 in 50 women.
There are still far too many women dying but the change makes it possible that more lives will be saved. Three dollars is all a hemorrhaging kit costs in those backpacks and the pill mistropostal that can stop hemorrhaging costs less than a postage stamp and yet it is in desperately short supply and will make a big difference if we can bring it into that country.

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