“Every minute of every day, a mother dies of pregnancy-related causes.
Moreover, every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 536,000 mothers lose their lives, most dying from entirely preventable causes like bleeding and infection. These preventable deaths leave more than one million children motherless each year; children who are in turn up to 10 times more likely to die before their second birthday. Even more alarming is the fact that 75% of mothers’ lives could be saved if women had access to a skilled health worker at delivery and emergency obstetric care. Cost effective reproductive and maternal health services could save more than 400,000 mothers’ lives every year.
The time to act is now! In fact, to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 – to reduce maternal deaths by 75 percent by 2015 – the WHO estimates that 1,334,000 more skilled birth attendants are needed. As it currently stands, in the 15 countries with the highest maternal death rates, less than 50 percent of women have access to a skilled attendant at birth. Put simply, without enough trained health workers, we cannot hope to improve maternal health – either at a country or global level – or secure global, social and economic prosperity.
So on this Mother’s Day and every day, please take the time to honor the invaluable significance of mothers around the world by joining Medical Emergency Relief International’s “Hands Up for Health Workers Campaign” With your help, we can continue to invest in health systems and the health workforce, which is vital to addressing maternal survival in fragile states across the world, where, currently more than 50% of maternal deaths occur.”
–Alex Cottin, Regional Director, Merlin USA
(Photo from Merlin’s Haiti response by Jeroen Oerlemans)