Reproductive healthcare

Comprehensive neonatal and obstetric care form part of MSF’s response to any emergency. Medical staff assist births and perform caesarean sections where necessary and feasible, newborns benefit from medical attention and sick newborns and babies with a low birth weight receive appropriate medical care.

Many of MSF’s longer-term programmes offer more extensive maternal healthcare. Several antenatal visits are recommended so that medical needs during pregnancy are met and potentially complicated deliveries can be identified. After delivery, postnatal care includes medical treatment, counselling on family planning and information and education on sexually transmitted infections.

Good antenatal and obstetric care can prevent obstetric fistulas. An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is most often a result of prolonged, obstructed labour. It causes incontinence, which can lead to social stigma. Around two million women are estimated to have untreated obstetric fistulas; there are between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases each year. A number of MSF programmes carry out specialist obstetric fistula repair surgery.

MSF held more than 735,800 antenatal consultations in 2015.

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Free maternal healthcare is a relatively cheap measure that has a large impact in saving lives of...