On Tuesday, Melinda French Gates was the focus of PBS NewsHour’s Brief but Spectacular segment. She spoke about prioritizing and investing in women’s health. Some of the statistics were surprising and shocking. Eight hundred mothers die in childbirth each day, and in the U.S., a mother is three times more likely to die in childbirth than in some other wealthy nations.
Ms. Gates made the following observation, which I think is worth repeating: “Healthy moms mean healthy babies, and healthy moms are also the center of the family, which means they’re the center of our community." She recalled a statement made by a Kenyan mother holding her newborn baby: “I want every good thing for this child." I think that this sentence sums up what every parent wants for their children. So why do we continue to have this crisis with mothers dying during or as a result of childbirth?
Ms. Gates believes that it is because health systems don’t listen to women and don’t spend enough rolling out innovations that can save mothers. And, if we go back to the quote above, this crisis is not just a women’s issue but a community issue. I don’t know if it can be as simple as having a committed group of people say that this issue matters, but it would be a good start. The Gates Foundation believes that 2 million women and babies can be saved by 2030 by prioritizing and investing in women’s health. It's quite a challenge, but a battle worth fighting.
Take care and stay safe.
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