Women in Developing Countries Need Reproductive Care

By Frances McGill
January 10, 2018

Every day, 830 women die from pregnancy-related causes. Ninety-nine percent of these women live in developing countries.[1]

The international community — particularly the next generation of medical professionals — must provide the reproductive care these women desperately need.

Right now, pregnant women in developing countries are often left to fend for themselves. About 45 million give birth without any assistance from a medical professional, according to the World Health Organization.[2]

Unfortunately, pre-natal care isn’t the only area for improvement. Women frequently lack the resources to prevent or treat sexually transmitted infections. So they face a host of health problems.

For example, four in ten women in developing countries with untreated bacterial STIs will contract pelvic inflammatory disease — which causes extreme discomfort, fatigue, and fever. One in three of these women will ultimately become infertile.[3]

STIs don’t just threaten women; they can also harm their children. Syphilis, for example, kills 1.5 million fetuses and newborn infants every year. And as many as 4,000 babies are born with eye infections caused by untreated STIs.[4]

On top of that, women in developing nations also lack access to regular cancer screenings. Roughly 80 percent of all cervical cancer-related deaths, for instance, occur in developing countries. With regular screenings, this disease is entirely preventable.[5]

It is up to tomorrow’s medical professionals to fill this gap in reproductive care. St. George’s University takes this responsibility seriously.

SGU offers a clinical rotation in obstetrics and gynecology. The program educates students on the basics of reproductive health and encourages them to stay up-to-date on global reproductive issues.[6]

SGU also offers courses like the “Tropical Medical Selective,” which provides students with the opportunity to travel around the world to gain hands-on experience. In the 2009 selective, SGU students traveled to Kenya and provided maternal and reproductive care to 250 locals in the Kajiado District. Participants in the 2010 Selective also donated an ultrasound machine to a local clinic.[7]

SGU students actively participate in community outreach, organizing health fairs to educate men and women about sexually transmitted infections and providing breast health education for Grenadians. They have performed over 1,500 supervised breast examinations, conducted semi-annual educational programs for teenage mothers, and joined a “Pink 5K Run” which raises funds for women’s cancers. The Public Health program has established a full roster of educational and fundraising projects focused on women’s health in Grenada. 

These efforts prepare SGU students to support maternal and reproductive health in developing areas. It’s time for the international community to follow suit.


[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/

[2] http://www.worldpress.org/Africa/3834.cfm

[3] http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPRH/Resources/STINoteFINAL26Feb08.pdf

[4] http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPRH/Resources/STINoteFINAL26Feb08.pdf

[5] http://www.who.int/cancer/media/en/cancer_cervical_37321.pdf

[6] http://www.sgu.edu/course-curriculum/obstetricsgynecology-rotation/

[7] http://www.sgu.edu/news-and-events/tropical-medicine-selective-provides-st-georges-university-students-unique-field-experience-kenya/

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