The City of Vancouver has proclaimed Sunday, Feb. 12 to be Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day.

The announcement is the result of work done by Maternal Infant Health Canada, a collaborative of doctors and researchers working to improve access to reproductive and infant health care in Canada and around the world.

According to the World Health Organization, 830 women die every day during childbirth.

MIH-CAN hopes an awareness day will bring attention to global gaps in care and to what Canada can do to help.

'We have one of the world's best midwifery education programs...so that's a really great thing to export," MIH-CAN co-founder Farah Shroff told CBC's The Early Edition host, Rick Cluff.

Canada helps abroad

MIHC works with partners in India's province of Odisha. The area has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world due to a severe shortage of health care workers and poor access to services.

Schroff explained that equipping traditional Indian practitioners with emergency obstetric training is one way MIHC is improving survival rates for expectant mothers and infants where services are limited.

Shroff said while the day is about recognizing the good work Canadians can do abroad, it is also about taking stock of how far we have come regarding sexual health in Canada.

Let's talk about sex

Shroff pointed to the need for more positive conversations about sex in Canadian schools.

"Healthy sexuality in an equal relationship, where communication is positive and clear, can be really good for your health," said Shroff.

This is the first Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day to be recognized by the City of Vancouver.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Sexual Health and Reproductive Awareness Day