The birth of the Royal baby, Prince George of Cambridge, was a time to celebrate for most of the British public. Unmarred by worries of a traumatic birth in volatile conditions in a country where we are lucky enough to have free access to healthcare.
But others are not so lucky. Every day, around 1,000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication. Maternal death can happen at any time during pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both mother and baby. The tragedy of maternal mortality is that the vast majority of these deaths are preventable if women have access to basic emergency healthcare.
Giving birth in volatile and dangerous places can cause massive strain on mothers and babies, not to mention the devastating effects of lack of shelter, clean water and nutritious food. No matter where in the world people live, pregnancy and childbirth are huge milestones in a woman's life and the arrival of a newborn baby should be celebrated, not mourned.
Malnourishment, premature delivery, and traumatic births are just a few of the difficulties which newborn babies are faced with, in the developing world. And yet the weakest babies can and do survive, even when the odds are stacked against them, if they have access to basic healthcare. Once a baby is born, the next few days, months and years are crucial. Diarrhoea, measles and malnutrition are some of the leading causes of death in children under five, with 9 children dying every minute from malnutrition. The fact that these causes are almost all preventable makes the statistics all the more difficult to stomach.
This is a collection of photographs, from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) programmes around the world; from Agok in South Sudan, where MSF's maternity team is carrying out 66 deliveries per month, to Goronyo state, Nigeria, where staff carried out more than 70,000 paediatric consultations in 2012. Despite overwhelming circumstances and the devastation of armed conflict and natural disasters, women continue to fill MSF's emergency rooms and the cycle of everyday life goes on.
MSF runs maternal and paediatric programmes across the globe, providing vital and life-saving ante- and post-natal healthcare to thousands of women and babies. In 2012 alone, MSF provided 13,100 mothers and 11,900 babies with prevention of mother-to-child transmissions of HIV, assisted 185,400 births, provided 276,300 severely malnourished children with therapeutic feeding and vaccinated 690,700 people against measles.
To find out more about MSF's work, or to donate, visit the website: http://www.msf.org.uk/
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