In Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania in West Africa, the death toll for both infants and child-bearing women is high. Every year, for every 120,000 births, some 800 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, and 14,500 children die before they reach their fifth year. Mauritania is hoping to drastically reduce maternal mortality by responding to objectives fixed by the UN. But the lack of resources, qualified personnel and decent hygiene will seriously reduce those possibilities.
In Mauritania, as in many developing countries, nothing will change without the convergence of financial resources and governmental determination. In some areas insurance plans are being put into place to help women get the care that they need. But, it will take more resources from the international community and determination from the government to reverse this harrowing trend.