Now, I realize that there are so many (amusing) ways that the title of this post could be misconstrued. Knowing this, I feel obliged to put your doubts to rest right now, for this 19 year old is still a momma’s girl and the only ‘maternal’ pangs I have are for my own mother, because gosh, sometimes I do miss her so hopelessly much. Even though we’re whirring and spinning through this crazy college life, where we bump into each other for the dinner date or the movie night or the study session, all the while we’re still very much on our own tracks. Sometimes I wish that I was still young enough to be in the backseat with my mom at the wheel. But, at least when I go home and attempt to drive a car, one of my parents will inevitably insist that they follow behind me in their car or sit beside me in the passenger’s seat– now, that may sound equally hopeless, but its still endearing and luckily I’ve mustered up the courage to politely refuse once in a while :)
The real reason I write is to share a personal passion of mine: Maternal Health. And a wonderful program called the Young Champions of Maternal Health, run out of the Maternal Health Task Force Project at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Participating in the first-ever international fellowship that focuses specifically on developing the next generation of leaders which will fight for the maternal health cause, the Young Champions are entrepreneurs, innovators, global health enthusiasts, and activists who develop a project to improve the quality of maternal healthcare in poor resource settings.
Working in the priority areas of Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Mexico, these Maternal Health Youth Champions include Solomon Abebe Addis of Ethiopia, who is working to research news ways of improving the health of HIV positive mothers, Priya John of India, who is hoping to gain clinical experience while improving efforts to document and report maternal deaths at the local level, and Luz Maria Soto Pizano of Mexico, who is working to develop programs for pregnant women to ensure that they receive the care that they need.
Here are the facts:
194 women die out of every 100,000 live births in Bangladesh
13,000 women in Tanzania die every year due to labor and pregnancy-related complications
Nearly 70,000 young women die every year because their bodies are not ready for motherhood
90% of these deaths are preventable.
Now, meet the solution:
The current class of Young Champions, their mentors, and IIE staff at the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference.