Strathmore University Nairobi reports that Prof Robert Walley, Founder and Director of Mater care International, challenged the recent reproductive health initiatives of the founder of Microsoft, as irrelevant to the causes of maternal mortality in the world, as expressed by the statistics of the World Health Organisation itself.
The Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of St Johns in Newfoundland, Canada was speaking at the 9th Ethics Conference at Strathmore University, Nairobi, which this year is focusing on Bioethics.
Speaking to the topic of "Mothers Matter, but Who Cares?", he spoke of how 330,000 mothers die in pregnancy every year, the vast majority of the causes are easily preventable and 91% occur in the last three months of pregnancy (Lancet 2009).
He described how often mothers die alone, in agony, and exhausted. The maternal mortality rate , which is the number of mother dying in pregnancy each year in the developed world is 1:15,000, whereas in the developing world it is 1:15. This is one of the scandals of modern medicine. Nobody is asking : what happens to mothers? He noted in particular the lack of maternal care in refugee camps. In his own personal professional experience he has never experienced a maternal death.
Mothers are politically unimportant, they have no voice. There is a lot of violence done against women and children, often through a lack of communication of truth in relation to the side effects of contraceptives and abortion. One of the first rights of women is the right to know the truth. Mothers are being ground to the dust.
He presented The Charter of Maternal Rights, based on the Social Doctrine of the Church and the dignity of women. We need a Marshall plan to help mothers and so do something about the most neglected of the millennium goals.
It will take 275 years to reach the millennium goal of a reduction in maternal mortality if we keep going at the present rate, because mothers don’t matter to governments and international aid organisations.
He accused womens groups of doing nothing for these problems. They talk of women, women, women, but say nothing of mothers, mothers, mothers. We need to restore the dignity of mothers.
He spoke of the barbarism of partial birth abortion promoted by the Clinton administration. The Year of Faith has to be a year to evangelise doctors and midwives. It is also the 25th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem of John Paul II.
He described the Isiolo project, the 91% solution, a maternal health facility, that has been built to help rural women in that area of Kenya.
Prof Anne Muigai spoke of how 30% of cases of IVF have birth defects. Prof Seamus Grimes of National University of Ireland, Galway delivered a presentation on "Understanding Sub Saharan African Fertility Transition".