A DORSET woman who was told in her twenties that she would never have children has been commissioned to produce a sculpture highlighting how more women can be saved from dying in childbirth.

‘The Woman’ by Moira Purver from Swanage was unveiled at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The artwork was commissioned by the team behind the WOMAN Trial, a major international study published in 2017. Information from 20,060 women in 21 countries found that, if given quickly, a low-cost and widely available drug called tranexamic acid reduced deaths due to severe bleeding after childbirth by a nearly a third. Severe blood loss after giving birth is the leading single cause of maternal deaths, killing around 100,000 women each year, so the findings have the potential to save many lives.

The sculpture, of a mother with her new-born baby, is designed to bring the scientific results of the School’s research to life. “I wanted to illustrate the happiness, joy and overwhelming love a mother feels the first time she holds her baby, the vulnerability of a new baby and why we must do all we can to make sure babies have their mother alive,” said Moira.

She has exhibited in galleries throughout the south of England, and outdoors at Hidcote, Harold Hillier and RHS Wisley Gardens but, said Moira: “The Woman is very different from my usual sculpture.”

However, she added: “I thrived on the challenge and was spurred on by the importance of what we were aiming to do through the sculpture,” says Moira. “The idea of being able to help other women to be able to live to enjoy, love and nurture their babies seemed incredibly important. It is definitely the most demanding and absorbing sculpture I have done to date.”