You wouldn't expect a plenary session at the Clinton Global Initiative called "Moving From Crisis to Opportunity - Financing an Equitable Future," featuring the CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co., to be the natural venue for launching a major initiative on maternal health.
But that's exactly what happened Friday morning in New York, when former President Bill Clinton unveiled a new program and CGI Commitment to Action called Young Champions for Maternal Health.
A partnership between the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth (the organization I lead) and Ashoka, a pioneer in social entrepreneurship, Young Champions is the first international fellowship program to focus exclusively on maternal health. The strategy: Build the next generation of passionate and committed innovators in this field by offering a nine-month work study that will conclude with each fellow designing a concrete solution to protect women's reproductive health. EngenderHealth and Ashoka will jointly promote these solutions to the broader global health community.
As a 25-year veteran in the health field, I couldn't have been more gratified to see this innovative program take the stage, literally, at a major forum on the world's financial systems. It validated what those of us on the front lines of global health know to be true: To truly move beyond financial crises and do so in a sustainable and equitable way, we must invest in the health and well-being of mothers, particularly in the developing world.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
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Monday, September 14, 2009
"A new UNICEF report released last week is the latest in a series of drumbeats for a concerted, large-scale campaign to save the lives of mothers and newborns worldwide, far too many of whom are dying today from entirely preventable causes. With Congress back in session, a first order of business should be to approve a spending increase for maternal health and family planning in the FY10 Foreign Operations Bill.
"At stake are the more than half a million of expectant and new mothers who die each year, 99% of them in developing countries where maternal care is scarce. That's more than one woman every minute. Yet the number of maternal deaths has remained virtually unchanged for the past two decades. This is unconscionable, and it's why the Group of Eight leaders recently agreed that the world must do more to ensure that mothers everywhere can deliver their babies safely. Here in the U.S., we can do our part by doing more to fund life-saving efforts.
"When most of us think of childbirth, it triggers an image of a mother in a comfortable delivery room, holding the baby she'd dreamed of. Birth is a triumph, in part because pregnancy is never without some degree of risk. But in countries where women have a 1 in 8 lifetime chance of dying from pregnancy or giving birth, it can be tantamount to Russian roulette."Read the rest of the column at the Huffington Post.