For those of us working in maternal health, it’s hard to beat the month of May. It begins with a celebration of midwives, the heroes on the frontlines keeping women healthy before, during and after childbirth. And it peaks with Mother’s Day, when we celebrate the women in our lives beyond their physical health – as the incredible mothers, sisters, wives and friends that they are.
In my own life, I’ll be celebrating my daughter, who will have her first Mother’s Day this year. After a difficult delivery – one that could have meant death or disability in the countries where MCSP works – she and my grandson are thriving. But this wasn’t due to simple good luck. It was thanks to the care of a ready team of trained obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses and anesthesiologists.
All women should have this care. Yet, 830 women and 7,000 newborns still die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and immense disparities in neonatal mortality levels endure across regions and countries. Of the estimated 2.6 million stillbirths each year, for instance, 98% occur in low- and middle-income countries.
A woman’s chances of surviving childbirth — and her child’s health — should never depend on where she gives birth. Across 52 programs in 32 countries, MCSP is using proven, cost-effective solutions to empower midwives to provide the high-quality maternal and child care that saves lives.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Please share your own Mother’s Day wishes for women near and far on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH