Medical News Today
2 July 2009
Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said he was determined to keep the issue of maternal mortality high on the agenda of the G8 summit in Italy next week.
"I am determined that the UK will lead international efforts to prioritise the interventions that make a difference and to help provide the resources needed to build health systems. I hope the G8 will make real progress on this issue next week."
With more than half a million maternal deaths across the world every year, midwives and doctors today thanked the Prime Minister for his continued support in raising the issue and handed over a petition of more than 14 million healthcare workers worldwide.
The petition asks G8 leaders to deliver the extra $10 billion per year to provide the health workers and health systems needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal which commits to cutting maternal mortality by 75% by 2015.
Actor Bill Nighy, supporter of the White Ribbon Alliance also visited Downing Street to present the petition. Speaking today, Bill said: "Since last year's G8 summit there has been no real progress. It's a scandal that in many countries at least half of all women give birth alone or with no skilled midwife, nurse or doctor to help. As a result, every single minute of every single day a woman dies needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth."
Gwen Chitundu; a midwife from Zambia has worked in Botswana and Somalia said: "Families in the developing world say goodbye to mothers and sisters as they go into labour knowing that all too often, a pregnant woman has one foot in the grave. But this can change. We have the knowledge and the skills to deliver - we just need the political will and resources to support us. We want the G8 leaders to make history, on behalf of women everywhere."
Brigid McConville speaking on behalf of the WRA in the UK said: "Women are the keystones of every community, and the key to all development. We must have urgent and sustained investment in health workers to end this terrible and unnecessary waste of life."
Despite the target set to cut maternal deaths, mortality rates are now even higher than in 2000 with as many as one in six mothers in parts of Africa dying from complications arising in pregnancy or childbirth.