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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maternal Health in the G8

From the Huffington Post comes an article about international women calling on the G8 to "make their mothers proud" and support maternal health. Their strategy to gain awareness the day before the G8: full page advertisements in the G8 countries picturing the G8 leaders and their mothers.

The women involved in this campaign are Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Thompson, Gweneth Paltrow, Yoko Ono, Wendi Murdoch, Christiane Amanpour, Annie Lennox, and JK Rowling. The Huffington Post article has some great quotes from these women about why maternal health is such an important cause.

Yoko Ono said:
"Families, communities, and whole societies, are built on the mother-child relationship. There are simple actions that G8 leaders can take to support this most vital human bond, with massive benefit across the world."

Gwyneth Paltrow said:
"It is one of the great scandals facing our generation. While we are worrying about rising taxes, there are women dying in childbirth for the lack of a sutre-stitching kit which costs a couple of pounds. It's simply no longer acceptable that we ignore this disgrace."

Maternal mortality has been ignored for too long by the world's leaders. Many countries and organizations pledge to make strides in decreasing maternal mortality, but little improvement is being seen.
In Japan in 2008 G8 leaders did pledge to fill the gap in funding for 4 million health workers. However mechanisms and funding to support this promise have not yet been developed, which has meant that since the last G8 536,000 mothers who could have lived, have died (according to WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF/World Bank)...
...Millennium Development Goal 5 is the goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. Yet it is the most neglected of all the MDGs, with no reduction in deaths for 20 years.

I think it is wonderful that these women are taking the initiative to urge the G8 to remedy this situation. The sad reality of the world today is that it sometimes takes a push from famous, powerful people for these kinds of issues to be addressed by governments and organizations. With the G8 Summit just around the corner, it is even more important to do whatever we can to show that maternal mortality is a big deal.


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