UK gives £100m to help avert maternal deaths

British support for women in Uganda and South Africa will help prevent more than 7,000 maternal deaths, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said.

More than £100m of UK aid is to be spent on projects to increase the use of contraception and give pregnant women better access to medical expertise and technology.

Uganda will receive £92m in aid and South Africa will get £17m, the money coming from previous commitments by Britain towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

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In South Africa, training in obstetric and neonatal emergencies is to be given to doctors, nurses and midwives in areas with some of the worst records on maternal health.

Post-natal care is to be improved with technology to track the attendance of mothers at appointments in a scheme to prevent the transmission to children of HIV and Aids.

In Uganda, there will be projects to increase awareness and access to family planning and to vaccinate babies against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.

The country’s hospitals and clinics will be properly staffed and fully stocked with antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, vaccines and contraceptives.

Mr Mitchell said: “In some of the world’s poorest countries a girl born today has more chance of dying in childbirth than she does of completing primary school.”