Friday, June 4, 2010 | Categories: Special Features |
If it sounds like the ultimate motherhood issue, that's because it is.
It's about mothers and babies dying in the hundreds of thousands in the poorest, most desperate countries in the world. This weekend the G8 summit leaders put some money muscle into trying to solve one of the world's most vexing development problems. Billions of dollars.
They were funding maternal, newborn and child health - the issue Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to make the number one priority at this year's summit of world leaders. On Friday night, as the Huntsville meeting came to a close, the G8 released an agreement on funding his initiative.
There were no big surprises... although the Prime Minister managed to squeeze less money out of summit leaders than he'd hoped. Now the hard part begins... putting the money to work.
Over the past several weeks, we have been featuring a series, Hard Labour, about the tough realities around maternal and child health, especially in developing countries, and we'll have the last instalment - from Uganda - in Hour 2 today. But we're turning first to take a look at the decisions the G8 made this weekend and what difference they will (or won't) make in the lives of women and children.
Katherine McDonald is a lawyer, the former President of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and a Past President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. She joined Michael Enright in our Studio on June 27th for a discussion on Maternal health.
20 June — Colombia : Angela Gomez de Mogollon
Throughout South America, the statistics on maternal and child health have been constantly improving over the past two decades. But most of the improvements have been in the big cities. Life in some parts of rural South America remain as difficult as ever. Angela Gómez de Mogollón is trying to do something about that. She is the president of Profamilia - the largest organization of its kind in the developing world. Its a nonprofit organization that has been providing Colombian women with maternal and family planning care for 45 years. In Bogota alone it serves about a thousand patients a day. Profamilia works with women in rural and isolated communities . On June 20th, join Michael Enright for a conversation with Ms Gomez de Mogollón about their unique approach to working with women in South America.
13 June — Afghanistan:Sakeena Yacoobi
Afghanistan has the highest maternal death rate in the world. Their infant mortality rate is the world's third worst.
Against this bleak backdrop, an undaunted Sakeena Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning fifteen years ago. The AIL is an educational and health organization run by and for women. Over the years, under the rule of the under some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, she has opened five clinics throughout Afghanistan. Her clinics treat up to fifty thousand patients a year.
Dr Kodindo was born and raised in Chad, one of the poorest countries in Africa. She has spent over 25 years working in a clinic that is chronically underfunded and without supplies as basic as sheets and antibiotics.
She has been awarded the Millennium Development Goal Champion Torch in recognition of her efforts to secure comprehensive reproductive health care for women worldwide.This year, she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
30 May — First Nations: Dr. Cindy Blackstock
About seven times as many infants die on First Nations reserves than in the rest of the country. Dr. Cindy Blackstock knows this better than anyone.For more than two decades, she has been watching the effects of deprivation in First Nations communities, and lobbying for change.
Dr. Blackstock is a member of the Gitksan Nation, and the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, which launched a formal complaint three years ago with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It accused the federal government of chronically underfunding services for First Nations children.
27 June — Uganda: Dr. Jean Chamberlain
Dr Jean Chamberlain is a founder of Save the Mothers, an international organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for mothers in developing countries.
She is a Canadian specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology, an assistant professor at Canada's McMaster University and she spends half of her year in Uganda training health care providers. She also practised medicine in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Pakistan, and Russia before her first rural hospital posting in Uganda in 1998. Join Michael Enright in conversation with Dr Chamberlain about the shockingly high rates of infant mortality in Uganda, and about her mission to improve the survival rates of mothers and babies.