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Maternal Health

un mdg 5 logo coral backgroundDaring, Caring & Sharing to Save Mothers’ Lives!

NIGH’s 3-Year Global Public Awareness Campaign — 2013-2015

    If you have a mother — are a mother —
or know a mother, please join us! 


In the poorest & marginalized areas in every part of the world, pregnant women and girls are still suffering and dying from complications of childbirth — 287,000 per year — one mother, every two minutes, every day. This story — and reasons why this suffering is important to everyone — deserves to be told — must be told!
Why & How You Make a Difference >>

Logo designed by the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] for UN Millennium Development Goal — MDG # 5 — ‘Improve Maternal Health.’ In public domain.

Sculpture depicts the vulnerability of a pregnant young woman, by Danny Osborne in Dublin, Ireland. Photographer: William Murphy, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Photo accessed from Wikimedia Commons.

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Addressing a worldwide challenge…


Easy-reading maternal
health materials

‘Baby Basics’ — A Program
for Maternal Health Literacy

Louise Simon, RN, NC-BC
Lisa Bernstein, Executive Director
What To Expect Foundation

The World Health Organization states that “every day in 2010, about 800 women died due to the complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Out of these 800, 440 deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and 230 in Southeast Asia. The risk of woman in a developing country dying — from a pregnancy-related cause — is about 25-times higher compared to a woman living in a developed country.”

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Pregnant Mothers Vulnerable
to Malaria Risks, Bleeding & Death  


2011 Map of Uganda from Wikimedia

“Pregnant women are at higher risk because changes in hormones and immunity that occur during pregnancy make them much more susceptible to infections such as malaria.”

by Jeniffer Mukhwana, BEd — Teacher, Lay Midwife, Wakiso Rural District, near Kampala, Uganda

During pregnancy, malarial infection can have serious adverse effects to both the mother and the foetus. It is a particular problem for women in their first and second pregnancies. Malaria complicates 80% of pregnancies in Uganda resulting in maternal anaemia, foetal loss, poor foetal mental development, stillbirths, premature labour, low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, and maternal and foetal death.

In Uganda, malaria causes up to 15% of anaemia in pregnancy and — if left untreated — can cause severe anaemia. Anaemia is caused by malaria parasites attacking and destroying red blood cells. If left untreated, pregnant mothers are at much higher risk of uncontrolled bleeding — leading to death — during or following labour.

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10 Million Girl Guides & Girl Scouts
Take Up This Challenge Across 2013!

by Deva-Marie Beck, PhD, RN

“Women and children play a crucial role in development.
Investing in their health is not only the right thing to do —
it also builds stable, peaceful and productive societies.”

Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General

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Photos accessed from Wikimedia: Left: Members of the National Guide Association of the Central African Republic, photographer: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF. Center: Ukrainian Girl Scout from Plast gives a Scout Salute, photographer: Viktor Hurnyak, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Right: Cover of the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts — WAGGGS — 2013 World Thinking Day MDG 5 Activity Pack.

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Asking the Right Questions

“The pungent reality — that I can only help one person while a hundred others suffer and die — led to the profound understanding that we must lift-up one-another, help one-another, strengthen one-another — every nurse and every midwife at every level…. Only time separates us from the next humanitarian emergency – most likely in an impoverished nation.”
Michele Sare, CEO & President,
Nurses for Nurses International


Michele Sare, MSN, RN, CEO & Founder, Nurses for Nurses InternationalNFNI), Professor, Public Health, Montana State University — with some of the Haitian children she helped during the 2010 earthquake. Used with permission.
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Maternal Health Among the Rural and Urban Poor


Nidhi Ranpuriya, a nurse from Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, reports on her findings from interviews of recently-pregnant mothers to discover what they need for improved maternal health. Hi-Res Video>> and Lo-Res Video>> Introduced by Dan Oerther. Used with permission.

Daniel B. Oerther 1, Sarah E. Oerther 2 and Phalakshi Manjrekar 3

In a collaborative project created between Daniel B. and Sarah E. Oerther, the nursing staff at the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai and the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH) — nurses are learning how they are achieving United Nations Development Goals with their focus on maternal health for the rural and urban poor in India.

The UN ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) are eight global targets aimed to be achieved by 2015 with the ultimate purpose of reducing global poverty, chronic disease, and stalled development. Identified by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 and promoted by the UN since then, the MDGs focus on poverty and hunger, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, protecting the environment and promoting global partnerships. One of the MDGs failing to meet its targets is MDG 5 — ‘Improve Maternal Health’ — where more than 280,000 women and girls are still dying every year in pregnancy and childbirth. ‘

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"There is a scarcity of medical personnel in Tanzania.... the ratio of nurses to patients is 1:23,000 while the ratio in the United States is 1:300."
Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is President of the United Republic of Tanzania. He serves as Co-Chair of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health, with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada and Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization. He has also served as Chairperson of the African Union. Photo Source: TheCitizen

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health are lagging far behind target. Although Africa has just 12 per cent of the global population, it accounts for half of all maternal deaths and half the deaths of children under five.

In Tanzania, attendance at prenatal clinics is over 94 per cent but only 50 per cent give birth in proper health facilities. It is not like in the United States, where giving birth at home is a matter of choice. In our part of the world, women are unable to reach proper medical help at their most vulnerable time. I was born under the hand of a traditional birth attendant and I grew up healthy and strong to become the President of my country. It is my hope that we can provide the same opportunity to every child.

Once, when I was a Member of Parliament, I was visiting a village out in the countryside when I witnessed firsthand the very problem that we are trying to address. As I was examining a local farm, I noticed four people on the nearby road struggling to place a huge basket on top of a bicycle. It appeared from a distance to be quite a difficult task.

I continued with my meeting but, as we drove back into town, we passed these same villagers only a few kilometres from where I had originally seen them. We stopped to see if we could offer any help. What we found was that the large basket on top of the bicycle contained a woman in labour. In fact, she had been in labour for three days and was not able to deliver.


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Visitors at the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts. This was the site to launch Dr. Jean Watson's Million Nurse Project—during the 2010 International Year of the Nurse—to radiate heart-centered Love, Caring and Compassion through individual and collective global meditations. Photo Courtesy of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.