How Education Can Save Thousands of Women and Babies during Childbirth
Childbirth is considered to be a landmark and joyous moment in any woman’s life. And although health experts say that no two childbirth experiences are the same, it is quite astounding that this can, in many cases, reach the extreme of death. According to statistics released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank Group, around 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year of preventable causes . This turns childbirth into an event to be feared as it poses a significant threat to the lives of many women across the globe. According to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, quality education is defined as one the of the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs), so how can education help mitigate childbirth mortality?
“Pregnancy is not a disease. It should not lead to deaths. Every maternal death should be regarded as an abnormality.” – Vivianne Ihekweazu, Director of the Nigerian Health Watch 
How are Childbirth Deaths Related to Education?
The World Development Indicators data from the World Bank  allows us to look into the impact of education on childbirth by exploring the percentage of births that are handle by skilled health staff. In the figure below, we plot the average life expectancy at birth in years with respect to the average percentage of births attended by skilled staff for each country. There is a clear positive correlation between the two variables. We therefore conclude that children who are delivered by skilled health workers during labor are more likely to have a higher life expectancy.
However, the impact of having educated people overseeing child delivery does not stop here. Unfortunately, carrying out child delivery without proper understanding of the necessary health procedures has more alarming implications. In the dashboard below, we notice a sharp decrease in both maternal mortality (women dying during labor) and neonatal mortality (newborns dying at birth) in countries where more childbirths are handled by skilled health workers. This implies that many of the childbirth related deaths can be attributed to the lack of necessary health skills.
Where are these Childbirth Deaths Mostly Occurring?
Below we find the places that suffer the most from this by selecting the countries that have a below average percentage of births attended by skilled staff.
By looking at the geographical distribution of these countries we unsurprisingly find that the majority is located in Africa. Furthermore, we notice that the educational attainment in these countries is significantly lower than countries that have more professionally handled childbirths. This is an expected causality since to have more skilled people perform childbirth procedures we need more educated people.
So the Solution Is, Educate More People!
“The benefits of education permeate all walks of life right from the moment of birth.” – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO 
In light of the above, we clearly need to have more educated people that are able to professionally handle childbirth procedures. This is especially needed in developing countries where childbirth mortality is more pronounced. A key approach strategy here is to educate the local birth attendants and community midwives that are already active in these communities. These local and community health workers are already more connected to the women and families in their towns making their newly found skills more accessible and allowing them to spread health awareness to pregnant women in their communities . Finally some communities in rural Africa are located in remote locations faraway from any medical supply and service centers. Therefore, setting up portable medical outposts near these towns would greatly enhance the quality of services provided by birth attendants.