Sunday, May 10, 2009

Every day a mother's day

It may come as a surprise to learn that maternal mortality is no Dickensian anachronism. Quite the contrary. A Huffington Post op-ed by Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, states:
And that rate is cause for great concern, particularly "in the resource-poor developing countries." There, Shalala and Veneman write,
►"Every minute a woman ... dies in pregnancy or childbirth," for a total last year of 536,000 such deaths.
►Women "are 300 times more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth than women in developed countries."
►Their children suffer, too, as infants of women who die in childbirth "are up to 10 times more likely to die within two years."
The solution ought to come as little surprise:
Yet, when women have access to family planning, antenatal care, skilled nursing and doctors at birth, and emergency obstetric and postpartum care almost all mothers and newborns live through the complications that would otherwise kill them.
To step up efforts to improve health care -- "to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality rates by 2015" -- Shalala (near right) and Veneman (far right) have joined a coalition of NGOs and others in calling for Mothers Day Every Day, "a campaign that raises awareness and advocates for greater U.S. leadership to improve maternal and newborn health globally."
A noteworthy initiative this American Mother's Day.

1 comment:

Naomi Norberg said...

Thanks for posting this, Diane. The figures are shocking and one hopes that making more people aware of them will move them to action.