Global Water, a volunteer organization in Oxnard, California, states that water is the key ingredient in combating maternal mortality in the developing world. Ted Kuepper, the organization’s director, said, “Not having the proper amount of water on a daily basis puts stress on the body, which affects a woman’s life span. It also affects their ability to further their education and break out of poverty.”
Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of the world’s population over the last century. The main cause of this usage is agriculture. That means that 884 million people are at risk –or are already facing- a water shortage. This is a huge threat to maternal health, according to Tim Thomas, senior adviser of the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, an international reproductive health organization.Thomas said that the highest maternal and child mortality rates are in Africa and South Asia.
Thomas states that many things contribute to maternal mortality-such as the lack of the drug misoprostal to treat postpartum hemorrhage.
Grace Lusiola is director of the EngenderHealth office in Tanzania, and says that unsafe abortion is the number one cause of maternal death in that country. In her article for WeNews, Latrice Davis says that water can improve maternal health in the developing world by the building of latrines and hand-washing stations. Global Water constructs such facilities for elementary schools in rural areas, working in conjunction with Peace Corps to halt the spread of waterborne illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis and typhoid fever.
Contaminated water is common in the developing world. Kuepper of Global Water said that there is a lack of concern among the leaders in those nations, to take care of their own people.
Thomas of EngenderHealth says that there’s great momentum about maternal health because “the crux of women’s reproductive health and rights is the saving of lives of women who are dying needlessly because of pregnancy or childbirth.”
Access to clean water is equivalent to increasing women’s life expectancy in the developing world.