There has been a
call to make the provision of professional care during childbirth a human right.
Carol Bellamy, head of the United Nations Children Fund UNICEF, raised the issue following
a grim UN report which said African women are 175 times more likely to die in childbirth
and pregnancy than their counterparts in western countries.
One in 16 die during this period because the women deliver the children alone or with
untrained attendants who could not recognise complications.
The report claims that the deaths and disabilities could be avoided, if only expert care
and access to emergency services were readily available.
As maternal health has been made one of the UN's millennium goals, do you think that the
provision of professional care during pregnancy and labour should be made a human right?
Send us your views.
Some of the responses will be used on the Focus on Africa programme on Saturday.
I would like to say YES. But for every $1 spent on men by the National Health Service in
the UK $5 or more is spent on women. How would this extra expenditure be considered?
Somebody has to pay and in many countries there is not enough money. Some money should be
found to reduce the number of children being born, there are already more than enough
people in the world. Those in the best position to reduce the birth rate are women.
Ian Hill, Bolivia (UK)
I don't think it should be a human right. I think it's important and efforts should be
made have a healthcare professional during birth. I think the UN is way off base on this
issue. However, if the UN wants to fund schools and recruit people to attend them that
fine by me, but I don't want me tax payer money doing it. We have enough health problems
in the US.
Mike Daly, USA
In order for Africa to get into shape, women need to be empowered
In order for Africa to get into shape, women need to be empowered. This means get them
educated and give them equal rights. This will of course lead to lower birth rates, but
this is a good thing. There will be more prosperity and fewer maternal and infant deaths.
Get the religious cuckoos out of Africa, you know, the ones who are doing all they can to
prevent the empowerment of women.
This is the 21st century - you would think that Humanity would recognize that giving birth
is as important to humanity as breathing. With that said - YES - this should be a right
not a privilege. Woman should have the right to access services when needed. But this also
goes into a much bigger picture - of medicine/vitamins for woman in Africa or elsewhere,
with the taking of vitamins to make their children healthy, they should also know where to
go or have someone check up on them regularly through the last month of pregnancy. Just as
we breath the air - our children should have a right to breath is also.
Lise DB, Canada
In Africa the whole issue of birth rate and childbirth care needs to be looked into. Can
Africa afford better childbirth care when their birth rate is so high?
Louise, Sydney, Australia
Who would pay for this "Right"? The taxpayers of the developed nations. If YOU
would like to pay for healthcare during pregnancy for third world nations, be my guest,
but you can't have my money to do it. My tax burden is way too high as it is.
Mothers should be given as much support as possible, particularly in developing countries
where maternal death rates are higher
Of course childbirth care must be declared a human right. This issue touches every single
one of us - we are all the product of a woman's labour. Mothers should be given as much
support as possible, particularly in developing countries where maternal death rates are
higher. Likewise in the US, mothers should think about getting into shape rather than
opting for more convenient c-sections. We (as a planet) are responsible for the futures of
our children, whether they are loved ones or strangers; to shy away from this
responsibility is cruelty. Jen, USA
Would it be realistic to deem that childbirth is not a human right? It has to be a human
right, to many it is certainly not a choice. It is a fact of life, and it must be dealt
with as such. Where would we be with a zero percent birth rate? Extinct, that is where!
It must. Health care for all humans in all situations is needed around the world. Never is
one more at risk than at birth, and as long as women die in childbirth the nations lack
stability.(Some day maybe even the US will have health care.)
Childbirth care SHOULD be a human right? If not so what should happen to our future. At
least I know some countries would like to see their people 'Live' The main problem here is
childbirth care in developing countries. Why don't developed nations assist them in this
issue? Continents will die out if this issue is not dealt with.
There is much work to be done to substantially reduce maternal mortality and disabilities
in the continent
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leone/USA
The problem of maternal mortality in Africa is a rather intricate issue predicated on
socio-cultural and politico-economic indices. The provision of and access to professional
care during pregnancy and labour can, in part, reduce the high incidence of maternal
mortality rate is Africa. Much more salient issues of concern are meaningful efforts by
governments and NGOs in alleviating poverty, educating African women on the importance of
regular attendance of maternity clinics, provision of poor women with adequate food (in
quantity and quality) to reduce the incidence of malnutrition, sensitizing women about the
risk of teenage pregnancy and the need to space children and increasing the number and
professional training of Traditional Birth attendants.
This can only be effective if there is a reduction in the strong cultural attachment (on
child birth and related issues) that is prevalent in most African countries particularly
so in rural areas. It is, indeed, a plausible idea! to make maternal health care a human
right. However, there is much work to be done to substantially reduce maternal mortality
and disabilities in the continent.
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leone/USA
Nobody should be forced to give birth in dangerous conditions! All women should
have both the option of giving birth safely and the option of not giving birth. This is
especially important because often the same woman wants both - wants to stay in school and
stay a virgin instead of being married off and impregnated before she's grown enough to
bear children safely, then graduate and marry and give birth safely, then stay married and
use birth control once she already has as many children as she and her husband want.
Sigismond Wilson's many points are excellent, including the point about sensitizing women
to the risk of teenage pregnancy and the need to space children. However, men need to be
educated too - taught to not marry off their daughters so young, to allow their wives to
seek prenatal care, and so on.