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Event seeks to promote global maternal health

Monday October 15, 2012
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With pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications killing 287,000 women or girls worldwide each year, the "Daring Caring & Sharing — To Save Mothers’ Lives" campaign hopes to mobilize public commitment to solving the issue with an event Sunday, Oct. 21 in midtown Manhattan.

The event, hosted by the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health, takes place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. three days before United Nations Day. The event is an afternoon interfaith Celebration of Maternal Health at St. Bart’s Church on Park Ave., with a simultaneous worldwide webcast.

Invitations for the event have been sent to the global nursing and midwifery community; select American nursing leaders; key stakeholders committed to the health and well-being of humanity, with a focus on maternal health; the UN community, particularly those based in New York City; and representatives, based in and around New York City, of all 193 UN member states.

"When mothers die, orphaned young children are further at risk," according to a campaign news release. "These deaths cascade into downward spirals, impacting entire communities. With the death of even one woman, remote villages suffer decreased food supply, poorer economic status, losses of clean water and basic sanitation. When mothers die, their children are less likely to become literate, confident and caring adults. In some regions, impoverished orphans become child soldiers or terrorists, having been deprived early of human love. The loss of a mother — as a vital, positive role model — soon becomes a tragedy and direct risk affecting everyone around the world.

"Yet, this global challenge remains underreported, undervalued and, in reality, widely misunderstood. … Even as these mothers are so media-marginalized that their repeated suffering continues unnoticed, nurses, midwives and related community health workers are themselves suffering as they struggle to meet the needs of these same women and children. They too are often marginalized and undervalued."

As well, the campaign wrote, citing statistics from the World Health Organization, "the continuing critical global nursing shortage is itself one of the key factors in maternal death. This too is chronically underreported. Today, more than 30% of the world’s women still give birth without a skilled birthing attendant. A mother birthing alone and hemorrhaging will likely die and her baby may well die with her."

With those issues in mind, campaign objectives include:

• Raising the level of informed concern and personal commitment to deepen public awareness and action to "improve maternal health," which is Goal No. 5 in the UN’s Millennium Development campaign.

• Valuing the contributions of nurses and midwives to achieving that goal and all Millennium Development goals locally and globally.

• Increasing awareness about maternal health needs, particularly in marginalized areas where hospital obstetrical care is limited or non-existent.

• Communicating these national and global concerns widely to reach and involve nurses, midwives and concerned citizens across the world.

• Informing and inspiring networks of nursing and midwifery leaders and other stakeholders to become collaborators to address these concerns and involve their networks in this outreach.

• Developing the campaign with online, broadcast, print, mass media and related onsite strategies.

• Creating a campaign global launch out of the event to include interfaith experiences, reflections, music and sacred dance, including simultaneous worldwide webcast and online posting thereafter.

Nurse.com is a sponsor of the event, along with Jhpiego, the Johns Hopkins University-affiliated international NGO working to establish primary healthcare — particularly for vulnerable women and children — worldwide; Brigham & Women’s Hospital; the National League for Nursing; the Voice of Nursing Education; the American Journal of Nursing; CoNGO, (the Conference of Non-Government Organizations with the UN); the International Nurse Coach Association; and the Florence Nightingale Foundation in London.

More information on the event is available at www.nightingaledeclaration.net/component/acymailing/archive/view/mailid-16/key-24ed200dcfcc1b04fad9d6e361e41ac9.


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