SEATTLE, Washington — Mother’s Day shines the light on mothers that are doing their best. Businesses around the globe are already planning to honor mothers in creative ways despite challenges stemming from COVID-19. While some companies prepare to focus on providing specials or expanding their supplies, other companies are addressing Mother’s Day in developing countries.
The Dangers of Motherhood in Poverty
Mothers and newborns are at higher risks due to the absence of medical care and guidance. The death rates for children under five are higher among newborns that are only a week old at 45%. Without proper care promptly after birth, almost half of all mothers and newborns are at risk for death or disease.
Due to the massive proportions of deaths within the first 28 days of life or within the womb, impoverished families tend to be larger. When a mother knows her children may not survive, she will often bear more children. Improper or lack of education on family planning affects decisions on conceiving children. Male patriarchy also determines childbearing along with illegal child marriage placed upon young daughters. Early marriage puts a strain on a young girl’s education opportunities as well. Limited access to healthcare with poor transportation also affects the chances of survival.
The implications of mother to infant mortality have formed various organizations striving to assist mothers in any way they can. Programs created to support maternal health are genuinely benefiting the lives of thousands of mothers in developing countries.
Prenatal and Postpartum Care
Preventative practices such as providing communities with the resources to care for children before and after birth is imperative. Maternity Worldwide works in 11 countries to train midwives, doctors and healthcare workers. Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) established through these facilities are run by certified medical personnel. Partnered with local governments and NGO’s, Maternity Worldwide also sends medical equipment to hospitals as well as helping mothers gain more access to health services. It also sets up programs such as Women’s groups and Income Generation Activities (IGA’s) to reach out to mothers regarding prenatal care, family planning and contraceptives, HIV testing and preparing for birth.
Project C.U.R.E is an organization that also focuses on international training through their Helping Babies Survive services. Certified medical personnel train nurses and midwives. The Helping Mothers Survive (HMS) initiative saves lives through preventative measures. Early detection of pregnancy and birth complications, such as infection and severe bleeding, will benefit mothers tremendously. Addressing both the emotional and physical health needs of mothers and babies will increase their chances of living longer lives.
Training Personnel and Birth Attendants
Savings Mothers is an organization that implements training programs in several countries. The School of PowHer in Guatemala empowers traditional birth attendants through didactic and practical medical training sessions. In Kenya, the Maternal Continuum of Care program designed prenatal training to raise successful hospital deliveries. Educating hospital personnel on how to aid patients with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has managed birth complications significantly.
Hospital training programs in the Dominican Republic have assisted more than 1,000 women in the last five years. Partnering with La Maternindad, one of the most extensive health services in the country, has further progressed education and training within obstetrics and gynecology programs. Developing an effective telemedicine curriculum in Uganda for postpartum care and preparing for various birth scenarios has decreased the country’s infant mortality rates.
Improving Girls’ Education
Girls and women do not have the same opportunities as men in developing countries. Young women do not have proper access to education due to early, forced marriages and adolescent pregnancies. In fact, 130 million girls do not attend school, but Global Citizen and World Vision are changing that.
Global Citizen is encouraging communities to stand up and support women on Mother’s Day in developing countries. Reaching out to African Leaders to prioritize maternal health and breaking the glass ceiling for young girls in improved school systems have made an impact. Better education means more when young girls can receive sufficient careers in their future.
World Vision is also encouraging success in education through art supplies and musical instruments. Supplying resources to enhance literacy in young children and essential life skills also lowers their chances of living in extreme poverty and protects them from violence. Training is focused on young girls completing their next steps in their education to “empower them for a brighter future.”
Advocating for Mothers
Supplying midwife kits and prenatal vitamins will protect women during pregnancy. Mother’s Day in developing countries involves empowerment through supplies that aid them in taking care of their children. Direct Relief sent prenatal vitamins to 46 countries and delivered 100,000 midwife kits developed through the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in the last 10years. IUDs and other forms of contraception provided through Medicines 360 are transported to developing countries with Direct Relief.
Mobilizing Congress to co-sponsor bills focused on women’s empowerment also benefits mothers globally. There have been several bills over the last few years that focus on mothers and women.
- The Girls Count Act of 2015 also established the inclusivity of women in their societies. By providing birth certificates, official documents, and programs that ensure security and protection, girls and women could further their advancement in their countries.
- The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 involved gender equality through accessible resources and financial services.
- The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2019 addresses saving the lives of mothers, newborns and children. Taking preventative measures to protect their safety will lengthen the lifespan of mothers and their children in developing countries.
Outside of materialistic culture, Mother’s Day in developing countries revolves around sentimental gifting that saves lives. Having the opportunity to bring life into this world successfully is becoming a reality for many women across the globe.
– Sydney Stokes