Maternal care in South Africa

This post was written originally written on Aug 9, 2011.

So there I was this morning, grumbling and feeling hard done by because I’d burned my hand on the grill element while making my breakfast and had a busy day at work to look forward to. Then, while I was drinking my morning coffee, I read about a media release for a report by Human Rights Watch on maternal care in South Africa.

I haven’t even read the whole report yet, just the media release and I was astounded. South Africa is one of the most developed nations in Africa, and a major economic player for the continent. Given the stats in the report, South Africa will not meet the Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal deaths by 75% from 1990 levels, by 2015. If the most developed African nation has these kinds of problems, what hope have the rest got? And we’re not even getting into the myriad other problems that women come up against, let alone the heart-wrenching famine conditions in north-east Africa, where food shortages and unrest are being exacerbated by militant activity in the region.

I hope that the South African government will work to reduce this needless inequity, but I suspect that it will go the way of so many reports. Gathering dust in a bureaucrat’s office, while women suffer. I looked at the blister on my knuckle and my cheese on toast, considered my busy day, and thought, shit I’m lucky.


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