Stillbirths – an invisible earthquake

Chris Bateman


For an annual extra R35 of health care spending per person, South Africa could provide universal coverage of key interventions for maternal and infant health and prevent 49 500 annual deaths, saving the affected families a lifetime of heartache.
That optimal scenario would give a triple return on investment, avoiding 23 000 stillbirths (61 per day), 21 000 newborn deaths and 4 500 maternal deaths annually, mainly via three generic interventions. These would be: improved quality of care, (especially during childbirth), addressing overcrowding and understaffing in mainly district hospitals and developing the skills and commitment of health care workers. These interventions would also enable emergency obstetric care and treatment of maternal infections and conditions which alone would prevent up to 44% of stillbirths.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

Full Text

PDF (222KB)


stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths.

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(6):364,366.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-05-04
Date published: 2011-05-25

Article Views

Abstract views: 1339
Full text views: 897

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here