Mothers in developing nations are dying due to one of three deadly delays. The first delay is in the decision to seek care, the second is the delay in reaching the appropriate medical facilities and the final delay in care is at the health care institution itself.

DECISION TO SEEK CARE

The first deadly delay, in seeking care, is influenced by many things. A woman may not be able to seek care on her own, but may have to wait for her husband or mother-in-law to allow her to do so. The woman and her family may not recognize a serious problem until it is too late. There may also be cultural expectations and prejudices. For example, in some cultures, women who don’t deliver naturally are seen as failures.

REACHING APPROPRIATE MEDICAL FACILITIES

The second deadly delay, to reach the appropriate facility in time, results from a lack of transportation. There may be no vehicle available, or roads may be washed out by strong rains.

THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

The final deadly delay in care, at the health centre, is often a result of no medical staff being available. The centre’s pharmacy may be empty or there may be no blood ready for an emergency transfusion. Any of these situations can also cause a mother’s death.