Today’s hugely important guest post is from one of the loveliest bloggers around – Kylie Hodges, who you can find over at Not Even A Bag of Sugar.
The Partnership for Maternal, Child and Newborn Health is a division of the World Health Organisation and they have asked me to shout far and wide about the Newborn 2013 conference.
This conference is to discuss what we can do to help more babies be born safely and to live. Some countries have unacceptably high levels of infant mortality. That is high rates of baby deaths.
Talking about the death of a baby is hard. Many of us have been touched by the story of Matilda, Jennie at Edspire’s beloved daughter who died inexplicably at 9 months old.
But, for many mothers, such deaths are routine, and that’s wrong. There are many, many mothers with more dead children than live ones.
For we live in a world where, in many countries, women are way down the bottom of the pecking order. Women are getting married when just children, a major risk for preterm birth and other birth problems. Women work gruellingly hard to raise crops, fetch water, look after their families. Women are often the last to be fed, whilst their men get the more nutritious food. Poor nutrition is a major cause of stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm birth or complications for both the woman and the baby, and clearly makes breastfeeding difficult.
Women are often locked out of the decision making process. Not just high level stuff like voting or running for office, everyday things, like being allowed to consult a doctor or take contraception. They are often locked out of basic education so don’t know how to live a healthy safe life.
This is the 21st century, and women, in many parts of the world, do not have basic human rights. And this, directly, has an impact on their children, and so it goes on.
It’s so easy to be complacent, and I am the first to admit I get caught up in the day to day pressures of bringing up my son, taking care of my family, working at my job and writing my blog. But this is important.
Our voices need to be heard. We need to shout loudly, and together so that things can change, and that that change is permanent. Babies are dying because we are not doing a good enough job of empowering our sisters.
Newborn 2013 is a great opportunity to be heard. I have been involved with the PMNCH many times, and I know they are just itching to hear the voices of women, of mothers from the UK and beyond, to make the world take notice of these issues.