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For over two years, Amnesty International has been researching maternal health and investigating maternal death in Burkina Faso.

Amnesty International

In five days, the organization will release a report on the state of maternal health in Burkina Faso and launch a caravan campaign that will travel throughout the country raising awareness around the issue of maternal mortality.

“Amnesty International went to Burkina Faso four times to conduct research in several cities including the capital, Ouagadougou, as well as Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya and Kaya. Amnesty International also visited a dozen rural areas throughout the country. Researchers investigated over 50 cases of women who died during pregnancy and childbirth…”

Read the full story here.


Take a look at this video showing highlights of the 2009 Amnesty International maternal mortality caravan campaign in Sierra Leone:

As part of the countdown to the launch of the campaign, Amnesty International is sharing the stories of women who have died of pregnancy complications in Burkina Faso. See below for an excerpt from one of the stories:

“…Safiatou’s husband told Amnesty International: ‘The day of her delivery, she was in good health and worked all afternoon as usual without any problem. She prepared tô [a local dish made from maize flour] for her children and went to get the hay for the animals. In the evening, when her labour began, she left for her mother’s home. Her mother came to warn me that she was not well, that we had to take her to the clinic. I do not have a motorcycle, so I had to go and get one. That made us lose time.’ The husband added that he ‘did not know that she should have delivered at the clinic. When I came to fetch her at her mother’s house, she had lost consciousness.’ The husband borrowed a small motorcycle from his neighbour…”

Learn more about Safiatou here.

A man holding a picture of his wife who died in childbirth, Burkina Faso. Copyright Anna Kari

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Veil of Tears is a collection of transcribed interviews with children, women, and men in Afghanistan about loss in childbirth. These interviews are part of IRIN’s  Kabul-based radio project, which closed at the end of 2009 after six years of humanitarian radio production and journalistic capacity building in Afghanistan.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

“In Veil of Tears, a 60-page colour booklet launched today, IRIN brings you a unique collection of personal stories of loss and courage in childbirth, as told by women, men and children from different parts of Afghanistan.

The stories were originally recorded in local languages, Dari and Pashto, for IRIN Radio broadcasts. Transcribed into English in Veil of Tears, they convey the immediacy and intimacy of the interviews conducted by IRIN reporters, who travelled in some cases for several days to reach the remotest villages in Afghanistan.

The interviewees in the booklet talk about the struggle to get enough nutritious food to sustain a woman through pregnancy, and to feed their families on any given day; they describe the awesome distances and terrain that separate people living in the villages from the nearest health facility; they describe the lack of proper roads and transport that may leave a donkey cart as the only option to attempt a life-or-death journey with a pregnant wife or mother to a hospital; they explain the cultural and social rules that might mean decisions by men are made too late to save a woman and her baby…”

Read the full story here.

Click here for a PDF of the Veil of Tears.

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