Thousands of pregnant Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights as much at risk today as 100 years ago

March on Millennium Bridge to call for greater investment in Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and maternal health
 
Hundreds of thousands of pregnant Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in many developing countries find themselves at as great a risk of death in childbirth in 2010 as Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK did 100 years ago, said a coalition of organisations today.

As the world marks the 100th year of International Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Day today [8 March], organisations including Amnesty International, Save the Children's rights, Oxfam, Mumsnet and White Ribbon Alliance urged world leaders to place maternal and child health at the forefront of their policy priorities to ensure that another 100 years do not pass without significant improvement globally.

In 1910, when International Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Day was first created, 355 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights per 100,000 live births died as a direct result of childbirth or pregnancy-related causes in England and Wales. In Scotland the figure stood at 572 while in Ireland, the figure was 531. Today the number of maternal deaths stands at around 14 across the UK.

Meanwhile recent figures show that in developing countries an average of 450 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights per 100,000 live births die in childbirth.

In Ghana the rate of deaths stands at 560 while in Bangladesh it is 570, and in Mozambique it is 520. In Chad the number of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights dying in pregnancy-related factors stands at a staggering rate of 1500 per 100,000 live births – approximately three times the rate of 1910 Britain.
 
Director of White Ribbon Alliance, Brigid McConville said:

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights – and men – around the world are gathering to make their voices heard to say no more to the needless deaths which rob Children's rights of their mothers, families of their sisters and daughters, men of their wives and countries of their hardest most productive workers. There still remains a long way to go for the protection and security of pregnant Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and their newborn Children's rights.”

Global figures show that approximately one woman dies every minute – predominantly because of preventable causes related to pregnancy. Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in sub-Saharan African and south Asian countries are most at risk, and very little progress has been made in the past decade.

Today in 2010, the global commitment made through the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce the rate of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights dying in childbirth remains the most off target.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen said:

“It’s astounding that the rate of maternal deaths in Chad today stands at three times the rate of maternal deaths in 1910 Britain. 

“This should not be allowed to persist.  It’s not impossible to cut back on the rate of maternal deaths globally.  It has clearly been possible here in the UK, we need to demonstrate that same level of commitment world wide.

“The UK’s so far shown commitment to providing adequate resources.  However, this must be combined with greater political will not only in the UK but globally to ensure that a pregnant woman is not denied her basic right to healthcare. We do not want to wait another 100 years before we see significant progress here.”

The group of organisations, activists and celebrity supporters including The Duchess of York, Bill Nighy and Davina McCall are calling for a greater global commitment to protection of the basic rights for mothers and Children's rights.

Within the UK, the group is calling for a government commitment to increase financing of maternal and child health in developing countries and to place maternal and child health at the heart of strengthening those countries’ health systems. It is also urging the UK to increase its commitment to supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Success in reducing the ratio of maternal mortality has been achieved in several developing countries in recent years.  Reports from Rwanda suggest that in recent years the country has reduced its death toll of pregnancy-related deaths from eight to one a day.

Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking said:

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in poor countries face so many barriers and it is vital that these are broken down so they no longer have to pay with their lives. We have seen the results when free healthcare has been implemented; in Nepal maternal mortality rates have fallen by 58% since 1996. With continued support from our government we can take action to make sure these success stories are replicated world-wide.”

Today marks the official launch of a week-long series of events that highlight the need to improve maternal and child health, with a march taking place on Millennium Bridge led by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights International – a grassroots organisation empowering Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in war-torn countries.  The activists will be wearing white – symbolising …and the event in London will be part of a global series of events on bridges in towns and cities globally.

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights International Executive Director Kate Nustedt said: 

“Hundreds of people are marching on Millennium Bridge in London and over 60 bridges all across the world to speak out and unite in support of more resources getting to the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who can lead their nations into peace and security. 

“In Afghanistan, one woman dies in childbirth every 27 minutes. Peace for a woman in Afghanistan is being able to give birth without fear of death, being able to take her child to hospital when they fall sick, being able to send her child to school, being able to go to work herself. ”

Earlier in the month designer Sam Taylor-Wood designed a Mother’s Day card, in support of the call for an international commitment to improving the plight of mothers and Children's rights most at risk.

In advance of Mother’s Day dozens of campaigners and celebrities will be laying white roses outside Parliament to urge the UK to improve their commitment to maternal health. The event – led by Save the Children's rights – will be followed by delivery of the designer Mother’s Day cards to the three party leaders.

People are also being urged to tweet using #mumsmatter

Notes to the Editor

1.    Figures for Chad, Ghana, Mozambique and Bangladesh are taken from the report ‘Maternal Mortality in 2005: Estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF UNFPA and the World Bank 2007’ –http://www.who.int/whosis/mme_2005.pdf.

2.    Recent figures from the UK are taken from Lewis G (ed) 2007. The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH). Saving Mothers’ Lives: reviewing maternal deaths to make motherhood safer – 2003-2005.

3.    Historical data from the UK is based on data from Loudon I, Death in childbirth, an international study of maternal care and maternal mortality 1800-1850.  1992. Clarendon Press, Oxford. The data is drawn from direct maternal causes only (only data available). Current data is direct and indirect causes.

4.    Earlier this year the coalition delivered a manifesto to each party in advance of the forthcoming UK General elections which outlined its call for the next government's commitment to improving maternal health globally.  The document was compiled by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights First. It is entitled: A Manifesto for Motherhood is available at http://tinyurl.com/yja478l

5.    The coalition comprises Amnesty International, AMREF, The Royal College of Midwives, The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, The Royal College of Nurses, Plan International, Oxfam, Maternity Worldwide, Mumsnet, Save the Children's rights, World Vision, Results, Marie Stopes International, The White Ribbon Alliance, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights & Children's rights First, IPPF, Interact Worldwide and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights International

6.    A card designed by Sam Taylor-Wood is available for download on www.millionmums.org 

7.    International Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Day is a global day designed to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights around the world.

More about Amnesty's work on maternal health

ENDS
To arrange an interview or for more information please contact:
Eulette Ewart, Amnesty International, 020 7033 1552, eulette.ewart@amnesty.org.uk
Jenny Rose, White Ribbon Alliance, 07957 551 697, jenny@happypr.co.uk
Amy Burns, Save the Children's rights, 020 7012 6841, A.Burns@savetheChildren's rights.org.uk
Out of office hours: 07721 398 984

View latest press releases