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Why We Exist

Still A Mum > Why We Exist

Pregnancy and infant loss was for the longest time a taboo topic in most parts of the world. In Africa however, the silence has lasted even longer due to our cultural beliefs and practices that sometimes get in the way of healing after a loss. This is unfortunate because an estimated 4.2 million miscarriages occur in a year in Africa. In 2015 there were 2.6 million stillbirths globally, with more than 7178 deaths a day. Three-fourths of the stillbirths occurred in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and 60% occurred in rural families from these areas. The stillbirth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 10 times that of developed countries (29 vs. 3 per 1000 live births). This paints a picture of just how much bereavement support is needed.

Away from child loss, mental health issues surrounding pregnant women and new parents abound. Studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa show common perinatal mental illness, particularly depression, ranges from 8 to 41 % in pregnancy, and from 3.5 to 34.7 % in the first year postpartum.

Mental illness during and after pregnancy has been associated with poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Depression in pregnancy, for example has been shown to lead to adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth, lower birth weight and reduced postpartum growth in the newborn. Post-partum depression on the other hand may lead to poor cognitive outcomes for children among other issues that stretch into adulthood.

The mental health of pregnant women and new parents (and their families and communities) is very close to our hearts. We provide psychosocial support for these people. We also train health care workers, religious leaders, HRs and line managers and the general public to widen the circle of support. This is the reason we exist.

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