The World Health Organization defines maternal health as “the health condition of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period that needs to be safeguarded to prevent death” (http://www. who. int/topics/maternal_health/en/). Improving maternal health is one of the concerns of the Millennium Development Goals with focus on reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health care by the year 2015. In 2008, sixty-eight (68) developing countries account for the majority of the maternal and child mortality.
In the same year, the World Health Organization reported that some of the countries where maternal health is of prime importance and is given high importance include Norway, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and other developed countries. On the other hand, many developing countries are left behind in terms of giving importance or even appreciation to maternal health such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Congo and other Southeast Asian countries. Poor maternal health adversely affects women.
The World Health Organization reported that almost 500,000 women die of childbirth and pregnancy every year due to complications brought about by childbearing. Most of these women die due to unavailability of maternal health services and emergency assistance. It is the woman and her child that is always at risk when maternal health is not of top priority of a government. A woman and her child will always be exposed to infection and other forms of diseases when they are not given proper knowledge and skills in maternal health.