Over the past 15 years, the number of women dying due to pregnancy-related causes has dropped significantly worldwide. This is wonderful news. But in many of the countries where Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works, a shocking number of women still die preventable deaths. Some 800 women die every day due to pregnancy-related causes, the vast majority in developing countries, because they could not get the care they needed.
MSF has projects in some 70 countries around the world. Most of our patients are women and children, and many of our waiting rooms and wards are full of pregnant women, women who are injured or ill, and women seeking care for their children. Our staff sees mothers walk great distances in dangerous circumstances to make sure their children get vaccinations and treatment, and risk everything, including rejection by their husbands, to prevent transmitting HIV to their unborn babies.
These are remarkably strong women and they are anything but victims. Yet in spite of the huge burdens they shoulder, they rarely possess the power to decide when they themselves can get lifesaving care.
These issues and the suffering they cause are not new or unknown, yet they still have not been adequately addressed. MSF has demonstrated that it doesn’t have to be this way; that simple, inexpensive interventions carried out by trained health staff can save many of these women.
As a photo exhibition, book, and multimedia website, Because Tomorrow Needs Her is an urgent call to all involved and all who care that more needs to be done to address the specific medical needs of women and girls around the world.
These women will not be afterthoughts. They cannot be, because, as the title of the book says, tomorrow needs them.
Go to womenshealth.msf.org