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Saving Mothers, Giving Life

A newly born baby girl is seen as her mother looks on at Castle hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

We are trying to help put in place the essential pieces of strong health systems.

When it was launched in 2009, President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative, or GHI, established targets for the reduction of maternal mortality and child survival, with a strong emphasis on preventing maternal mortality. “That is not just because maternal health has a value in and of itself,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “If you really want to know how strongly a country’s health system is, look at the well-being of its mothers. Because when a woman in labor experiences complications, it takes a strong system to keep her alive.”

During her recent visit to Norway, Secretary of State Clinton announced "Saving Mothers, Giving Life", a new partnership between the governments of the United States and Norway, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the private sector initiative Merck for Mothers, and Every Mother Counts campaign This global public-private partnership seeks to accelerate collective action in order to reduce global maternal mortality.

We are trying to help put in place the essential pieces of strong health systems, said Secretary Clinton:

“That means we are helping to build clinics and labs, to train staff, improve supply chains, make blood supplies safer, set up record-keeping systems; in short, creating platforms upon which partners can eventually launch their own efforts.”

Saving Mothers, Giving Life seeks to aggressively reduce maternal mortality in places where women are dying at alarming rates during pregnancy and childbirth. In Uganda and Zambia, the partnership has launched a pilot program in targeted districts that focuses on labor, delivery and the first 24 hours post-partum: the time period in which some two-thirds of maternal deaths and 45 percent of infant deaths occur. The goal is to reduce maternal deaths by up to 50 percent in these targeted areas and improve health access for women and their families.

“Surviving childbirth and growing up healthy should not be a matter of luck or where you live or how much money you have,” said Secretary of State Clinton. “It should be a fact for every woman everywhere. And I think we can make this happen, and by doing so, bring the world closer to recognizing that working together we not only can save lives, we can help improve them, bring greater peace, prosperity to all.”