12 March 2007

Don't forget mothers this Sunday

This Mother's Day, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is highlighting the fact that today over one thousand women worldwide will die in childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths take place in the developing world, where mothers can be up to 100 times more likely than their UK counterparts not to survive giving birth.

'This mother's day we hope that people will remember the families that have needlessly lost a mother today - and the loss of potential that these deaths represent. While we can be glad that in the UK, maternal mortality is increasingly rare, it is a scandal that so many women worldwide are still dying simply because they are poor.' said MRDF Director Kirsty Smith.

Lack of affordable and accessible health care is one reason for high maternal mortality rates. In Mali, where approximately 500 women die for every 100,000 live births, MRDF partner organisations aim to tackle this problem in the communities where they work. Local volunteers are trained to safely deliver babies and to provide pre- and post-natal care for women in remote and rural communities. Djouraba KonĊ½, who gave birth to her son Yacou under the care of a trained birth attendant, is just one of the mothers who have benefited from the simple, low-cost techniques which help to improve the chances of survival for both mother and child.

Action is taking place on a global scale as well. In 2000, world leaders agreed the Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets to reduce poverty that included the commitment to reduce maternal mortality rates by three quarters by 2015.

It is now half way to 2015, yet little has changed for mothers in countries like Mali. 'To make a lasting difference, we need world leaders to stand by their promises,' explained Kirsty Smith. 'We're urging you to join MRDF supporters and others on 2 June this year to raise your voice against poverty - and ensure that more women like Djouraba live to see their children grow up.'

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