//Margaret Docking on Family Planning in Uganda and the Struggle Behind MDG goal 5

Margaret Docking on Family Planning in Uganda and the Struggle Behind MDG goal 5

The United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) put much emphasis on health, and infant and maternal health at that. Unfortunately, however, it is the maternal health goal — goal 5 (Improve Maternal health) — that is proving the most stubborn of all the MDGs to bring down. Indeed, the annual maternal mortality rate is falling at just 1.3%, well below the target of 5.5%. And as is sadly common, the African picture is far worse than the average. For example, whilst some improvements have been made in the use of skilled attendants at birth, less than half of all births are attended by such assistance in Africa, comparing to the global developing country average of over 60%.

In this post, we hear from Margaret Docking, an Australian trained midwife, who with her plumber husband, headed to Uganda in 2010 on a short-term mission. Expecting to work as a midwife in the hospitals of Uganda, Margaret quickly changed tack, eventually deciding that working on the causes of the extreme fertility rate (nudging 10) would be far more worthwhile than trying to incrementally improve the disastrous conditions under which most babies are born in Uganda.

Or download the podcast or transcript here: Podcast (mp3) | Transcript (pdf)

Global maternal mortality ratio data, 2008 (top) and trend (bottom)
Global maternal mortality ratio data, 2008 (top) and trend (bottom)

Links:

  1. African Enterprises Australia
  2. The World Health Organisation’s report on progress towards the MDGs

Dr SIMON ANGUS is a computational and complexity scientist and member of the Department of Economics, Monash University. With a background across the physical and social sciences, he has diverse interests including complex systems science, data-science, networks, systems biology, evolutionary game theory and the study of technology.