In a wide ranging speech at NIH this week, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah went to bat for African women, especially mothers-to-be, who are 135 times more likely to die during childbirth than some of her Western counterparts.
“I've given a lot of thought to why this is the case. I've heard many experts say that reducing maternal mortality is too complex, that it's too difficult to achieve in countries where most women will really never see the inside of a – of a Western-style hospital. But I really cannot escape the conclusion that our current state of affairs where a pregnant African woman is 135 times more likely to die during childbirth than some of her Western counterparts exists simply because she is, in fact, a woman. And this is unacceptable,” said Dr. Shah.