Saturday, May 23, 2009

Making Maternal Health a Priority

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently went on a trip through West Africa where he was that one of the deadliest threats to human life is giving birth. The cost of proper health care and the lack of funds for many pregnant women results in the shockingly high mortality rate of 10% when it comes to pregnancy-related deaths.

"It’s pretty clear that if men were dying at these rates, the United Nations Security Council would be holding urgent consultations, and a country such as this would appoint a minister of paternal mortality. Yet half-a-million women die annually from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth without attracting much interest because the victims are typically among the most voiceless people in the world: impoverished, rural, uneducated and female."

Kristof goes on to narrate the story of Mariama, a 21-year old woman who died on the hospital bed in the maternity ward due to preventable complications, right in front of his eyes. The Newborn, Child, and Mother Survival Act could potentially prevent this tragic situation from happening to countless women. Unfortunately, people are not paying too much attention to it.

Read the full article here, and make sure you call your congressional leaders in support of this bill.