Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maternal Mortality

Cameroon has a very high maternal mortality. There are approximately 600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Comparing Cameroon maternal mortality to other countries, we have worked in, it is the highest we have seen.

Countries Maternal Mortality comparison:
USA = 24             Ghana = 350        India = 230
Guatemala = 110  Kenya = 530        Malawi = 510

Here is some additional information from WHO

Key Facts
  • Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 
  • 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. 
  • Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities. 
  • Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women. 
  • Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.
  • Between 1990 and 2010, maternal mortality worldwide dropped  by almost 50%

The other night exemplified the challenges facing the developing world regarding education and appropriate available obstetrical services.

Mareline was 9 months pregnant when she presented urgently to St. Martin De Porres Catholic Hospital, from a referring hospital, with bleeding. She had had some bleeding a few days before, at home, but did not think it was of concern.  When she arrived, her clothes were soaked with blood and her Haemoglobin was = 6 (normal = 12-15) . We were able to perform an emergent C-section and found a complete placenta previa.

 A Placenta Previa is when the placenta grows over the cervix and when the mother's cervix begins to dilate, during labor,  the mother can exsanguinate.

 Mareline and baby are doing well!

Monday, September 23, 2013


St. Martin De Porres Hospital has an orphanage that presently has 16 children.

The ages range from 3 weeks to 5 years old. We have visited them a number of times to play with the kids.

The orphanage is different from what we experienced in Guatemala. These children are from families that cannot take care of them at their young age, for various reasons.  After the child reaches 3-5 years old, family members (usually extended family) come and take the children back to their homes/villages.

Sister Nathalia is in charge and notes that she has been there for the last three years.

The orphanage was started in 1953 and is run by the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, September 6, 2013


We are fortunate to be in one of the most beautiful spots we have ever been to. The hills are lush in many shades of green. Sometimes the hilltop where the hospital sits actually becomes engulfed in a giant cloud that touches the ground and then quickly disappears. The earth is red clay and slick when wet. The rain is daily now, sometimes all day, and at times torrential. The temperature is mild, good sleeping weather, but usually no need for a sweater. Goats roam freely and the pygmy goat babies are very cute.  Nicholas’ goal is to touch one. There is very little garbage on the ground which may be the work of the many goats.