Obstetricians show a disproportionately small or even insignificant interest in alarming maternal mortality and maternal ill health in underserved and impoverished countries. We keep silent or are indifferent in areas of our expertise instead of reminding politicians of the ‘scandal of our time’, the maternal mortality. The historical roots of this fallacy is discussed. An outward-looking attitude (‘ectoscopy’) is needed in undergraduate and postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology, incorporating skills in auditing various aspects of quality care in community obstetrics. Programming to reduce maternal and perinatal ill-health should be given emphasis in specialist training in obstetrics and gynecology.