Monday, April 25, 2011

Mothers' Day; Thinking Globally

As Mother's Day has come and gone for another year I am confronted with the cold reality that most mothers around the world don't have what we take for granted; good quality prenatal care, access to high quality nutrition, and well trained birth attendants. These simple things hold the key between life or death for women of the developing world. The gulf between the developed world and the emerging nations is wide and deep.

Surviving Motherhood
by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Reprint from UNICEF Philippines
UNICEF Philippines celebrates Mother's Day with the rest of the nation with a message to nurture and protect all mothers. Mothers’ Day is upon us in many countries around the world. Children of all ages will give flowers, make breakfast, call home.This is as it should be. On my travels around the world, particularly to its poorest and most troubled places, I have learned that it is mothers who keep families together -- indeed, who keep entire societies intact. Mothers are society’s weavers. They make the world go round. Yet too often, the world is letting mothers down.In the rich world, when a mother dies giving birth, we assume that something went wrong. For women in the developing world, by contrast, dying in childbirth is simply a fact of life. In some countries, one woman in eight will die giving birth. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide.Becoming a mother -- the rite of passage that Mothers’ Day celebrates -- can carry a terrible burden of fear, anxiety and loss for many women and their families.We know how to save mothers’ lives. Simple blood tests, a doctor’s consultation and someone qualified to help with the birth can make a huge difference. Add some basic antibiotics, blood transfusions and a safe operating room, and the risk of death can almost be eliminated.Recent figures show that we are making progress in helping women throughout the world. Yet we still have very far to go. Every year, hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth, 99 percent of them in developing countries. That is why, as secretary-general, I have spoken out for the needs of mothers and pregnant women at every opportunity. I am counting on people around the world to back us in ending this silent scandal. No woman should have to pay with her life for giving life. On Mothers’ Day, let us honor mothers around the world by pledging to do everything we can to make motherhood safer for all.

Feeling inspired to do something to help our world wide community of mothers but you don't know how? Some of the members of Birth & Baby Resource Network are doing just that. These doulas have been called to work not only with birthing women here at home but they have a global commitment as well. Heather Larson went to study midwifery in Senegal and was so impacted by her experience she came home and founded Tree of Light. This non-profit is working to build a Birth House in Senegal. Terri Woods is part of a family inspired to help women have access to quality maternity care. She lives in the North County but also spends time each year working with her sister and daughter building, managing and staffing birth centers in remote areas of the Philippines. On September 22, 2010, the United Nations launched "The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health". They understand that to lift women and children out of sickness, poverty and death creates a more peaceful world for all. We all need to invest in the world's future.

Thank you to Terri Woods of Mercy in Action who posted this to her face book page.

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