Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Silence Around Stillbirth is Unspeakable

7,200 lives are lost every day to stillbirths. Imagine if we could reduce that number and stop this epidemic 
Almost 2·6 million babies are stillborn worldwide every year. That’s roughly the population of Rome, wiped out. Yet we still don’t talk openly about stillbirth. Vulnerable girls and women are often left to suffer in silence. It only perpetuates the stigma when they have little to no information on the topic. More must be done to cut through the sociocultural, religious, and health barriers that inhibit open dialogue.

A healthy pregnancy should be a universal right. Millions of women worldwide are still denied access to basic education about pregnancy and stillbirth. Education must include information about sexual health, birth control and treatable diseases, as well as the risks associated with smoking, obesity, and pregnancy in later life.

Skilled health professionals matter. Their care is vital for all expectant mothers. Yet they are in short supply. We must value health workers, including skilled birth attendants, in order to succeed–boost their numbers, increase access to quality training, give them a visible community presence, and remove the barriers to access.  

 1·3 million of the 2·6 million stillborn babies started labour alive


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