The fate of Togolese women giving birth on the ground


Amnesty International is calling on Togolese authorities to urgently improve access to maternal health care in the country, and reduce infant and neonatal mortality. This is part of the conclusions of a report published by the NGO on July 31, 2023, African Women’s Day.

The document drew up interviews with 21 people, including 13 patients, four midwives and four doctors, in five health centers in Lomé, the capital, and Aného, a city in southeastern Togo.

“The Togolese authorities have taken initiatives to make maternal health care more affordable, but it is essential that they put in place new measures so that pregnant women can give birth in a dignified manner in establishments where they will receive assistance and appropriate care,” said Aimé Adi, Director of Amnesty International Togo.

The West African country deplores the lack of personnel and equipment in hospitals. Three midwives told Amnesty International that they are sometimes on call for more than 15 hours. According to the United Nations Population Fund, Togo has only two midwives for 10,000 inhabitants, underlines among other things the same source.

“In paediatrics, there is not always room when a mother wants to bring her child there. We had to buy a chair. Sometimes women are forced to stand with their children”, a patient told Amnesty International

“We see women giving birth on the floor, on a mattress, and sometimes even on a simple sheet when there is no mattress. There are new delivery tables, but there are also old ones that are in poor condition and moldy,” said a midwife at the Sylvanus Olympio University Hospital Center.

In addition, the NGO mentions strained relations between staff and patients. Poor working conditions also have a negative impact on patient-staff relations. Several patients told Amnesty International that they had been verbally abused or humiliated by staff.

In Togo, reports say the infant mortality rate is 43 deaths per 1,000 children born alive, and the neonatal mortality rate, which concerns infants who die before reaching the age of 28 days, is 24 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to UNICEF.

Source :