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WHO: Sepsis is third leading cause of maternal mortality

Health & Science

Researchers from the Global Maternal Sepsis Study have established that sepsis is responsible for large global maternal mortality and morbidity than earlier thought. 

Maternal sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs during pregnancy, child-birth, post-abortion or the postpartum period.

According to the study conducted by Lancet, child birth-related infections are the third most common cause of maternal mortality, representing about 10·7 per cent of maternal deaths. 

“The largest maternal death toll estimated in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at 10·7 per cent compared with high-income countries (HICs) at 4·7 per cent,” reads the report.

WHO estimates that one in every 10 deaths associated with pregnancy and childbirth is due to maternal sepsis, with over 95 per cent of the deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries.

The study gathered data on women who were admitted with suspected or confirmed infection during pregnancy or post-pregnancy over a one-week period in 2017. More than 2800 women from 52 countries participated in the study.

Even though most of the maternal infections such as urinary tract infections, post-abortion infection and pose-cesarean infection are widely preventable and treatable, current abilities of prevention and clinical care in health facilities are not sufficient.

The global health body advises that mothers should maintain hygiene, increase public awareness of the risk of progression of sepsis and give birth in the hands of skilled birth attendants.

It is these challenges of proper sanitation that pose a threat in many poor nations which has a huge portion of its population struggling with access to clean water.

With 250 babies being born every minute globally, thousands of women and those children are at risk of sepsis thus the urgent need for health centres to seal this hole that causes at least 75,000 deaths annually.

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