What are the issues?

Maternal Mortality

Childbirth is humanity’s universal experience – but why is it still a life-and-death lottery for millions of mothers and babies around the world?

A woman in Malawi stands a one in 26 chance of dying during pregnancy and in childbirth over the course of her lifetime and her chances increase with each pregnancy.

In 2015 there were over 6,000 maternal deaths in Malawi and 58,000 in Nigeria. These women died due to direct causes such as haemorrhaging, infection, unsafe abortion, pre-eclampsia /eclampsia and obstructed labour and also indirect causes which heightened risk in pregnancy such as malaria, anaemia and HIV/AIDS.

The majority of maternal deaths in developing countries are preventable if we make the right interventions early on. 

Did you know?

A mother dies every 90 seconds from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth
Every minute 250 children are born around the world
99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, most of which are preventable.
In developing countries, childbirth and pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19.
Since 1990, Malawi has seen a 37% reduction in maternal mortality.

"Maternal health problems undermine poverty eradication efforts and the achievement of gender equality, they drain household incomes and public budgets, lead to poor health and poor educational outcomes, lower productivity and women participation in the labour force and result in missed opportunities for economic growth.

Investing in maternal health is one of the smartest investments in Africa."

Infant Nutrition

The nutrition a child receives during their first 1,000 days of life makes a permanent difference to their health.

Babies born with a low birth weight due to poor nutrition are much more likely to become ill or die. Even after a safe birth, a poor diet before the age of two leads to irreversible stunting, impaired brain development, lower IQ, and a weakened immune system.

On the other side well-nourished children go on to complete nearly five more grades in school, earn 21% more in wages, and have healthier families of their own.

The impact of making crucial nutrition interventions with our infants in their first 1000 days will continue benefiting them for their entire lives.

 20% of stunting starts in the womb

Half of all Malawians under 5 are stunted or malnourished


The effects of HIV and AIDS have devastated families and communities, causing over 35 million deaths worldwide. in 2017 AIDS is the leading cause of death among young women globally.

Living with HIV means a woman is at four times greater risk of pregnancy loss. If she makes it to full term she’s at six times greater risk of complications or loss of life in childbirth. For those that survive these odds there comes a new challenge, there’s a high chance their child will be born with HIV.

150,000 children were born with HIV in 2015 alone. Without treatment, half of these children will not live to their second birthday.

Due to advancements in HIV treatment and care, Pregnancy Twinning is helping to keep parents alive and families together. When a mum takes antiretroviral treatment throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, the chance of passing on HIV to her baby drops from 40% to below 2%. We are finally starting to see a generation born HIV-free.

For more on HIV work, watch the video of our mother charity Chasing Zero

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