Improving global maternal and infant health one step at a time
About Maternal Health
- In 2000, world leaders came together to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which committed their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and set a series of targets to be achieved by 2015. In September 2001, 147 heads of states collectively endorsed Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: To reduce child mortality rate by 2/3 and maternal mortality ratio by 3/4 between 1990 and 2015.
- A women dies from complications in childbirth every minute – about 529,000 each year — the vast majority of them in developing countries.
- A woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in a developing country – the largest difference between poor and rich countries of any health indicator
- Over 80% of maternal deaths worldwide are due to five direct causes: haemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, obstructed labour and hypertensive disease of pregnancy.
- Attendance at births by skilled personnel is most effective way of preventing maternal death; attendance at births has remained unchanged in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 15 years, whereas in East Asia there has been a considerable increase in the proportion of births attended by skilled health care personnel and a related significant decline in maternal deaths.
Maternal Health Seminar
This is one of the two featured events during the Maternal Health May month-long project dedicated to all things related to maternal health.
During the seminar, speakers from various areas of maternal health share their experiences, the importance of maternal health in developing countries and how students can get involved.
2017 Speaker: Sue Kildea
Sue is a registered midwife and UQ researcher who aims to improve maternity service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. She has also worked internationally and provided technical expertise for the WHO.
2017 Speaker: Fran Boyle
Fran is a UQ School of Public Health researcher whose research is targeted at the issues of neonatal death and stillbirth and the psychosocial impacts of pregnancy loss.
Days for Girls Packing Day & Underwear Drive (desperate for dacks campaign)
Days for Girls (DfG) is an organisation whose mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions.
The Desperate for Dacks Campaign, the second of the featured events during Maternal Health May, includes an Underwear Drive and a Packing Day. During the packing day, students help representatives from DfG pack the raised underwear into sanitary kits to be sent off to disadvantaged communities around the world.
In 2017, a total of 970 pairs of underwear were raised, which contributed to making 485 sanitary kits.
Zonta Birthing Kit Project
The Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) is an organisation dedicated to providing a clean and safe birthing environment for women in developing countries to reduce the incidence of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.
During the project, students help pack birthing kits to be distributed to women in third world countries. A birthing kit includes basic items that improves the hygiene for a safe delivery.
In 2017, a total of 13,000 birthing kits were packed and distributed to communities in Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Somalia.