Will speak at National Pro-Life Conference about preventing maternal deaths

“The risk of a mother dying as a direct cause of pregnancy and labour in Africa is one in 13.”

That is just one of the reasons that Dr. R.L. (Rob) Walley, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Memorial University in Newfoundland, founded Mater Care, an organization dedicated to providing health care for mothers. Walley told The Interim that while there is lots of talk about women’s health, the health of mothers is all but ignored.

He describes Mater Care International as a group of obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives who provide maternal health care, “as a way of breathing life into that area of health care.” He said that the existing mentality among ob-gyns is anti-life as they become involved in abortion and contraception, advancing the United Nation’s and World Health Organization’s “reproductive rights” agenda. As a result, there is less concern for the health of the mother.

MCI, with branches in Canada, the U.S., Ireland, and England, is funded through international aid agencies, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and private donors.

Walley tells of a recent application for money from CIDA. When he was asked by officials why he doesn’t distribute condoms and the pill to women, he said he replied, “How does the pill help a hemorrhaging woman; how does a condom help a woman who is leaking urine?”

He is not a person to mince words, and a simple look at the horrific circumstances of mothers in impoverished nations shows why. The promotional literature for MCI says 1,600 mothers die each day during pregnancy and childbirth, and that most of these deaths are preventable with the proper care and attention. But that is just “the tip of the iceberg.”

Post-birth difficulties can affect women for the rest of their lives. Such injuries include damage to the bladder and rectum that result in being incontinent of urine and feces. But obstetric fistula, as this problem is called, need not lead to lifelong pain and humiliation, because it is treatable.

MCI’s first project to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity is at the West African Maternal Health and Obstetric Fistula Project in Ghana. The focus is wide, the workload heavy. They are seeking not just to respond to the health crisis, but to prevent it. They are working with “traditional birth attendants” in rural areas to improve pre-natal and peri-natal care, working on safe ways to transport mothers with obstetrical emergencies to hospitals and developing a maternity blood bank.