Promoting Growth Through Development at the World Health Summit

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Posted on 10/17/2013
Improving maternal health is just one of the many challenges facing Indonesia.
Improving maternal health is just one of the many challenges facing Indonesia.

Later this month, policy officials, government leaders and human rights advocates will gather in Berlin at the World Health Summit. This event aims to create an open dialogue on how world leaders, nongovernmental organizations and other groups can work together to improve global health in light of the impending 2015 deadline for the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Access to health care remains one of the world's most urgent problems, and positive action could benefit millions of children in need and their families.

Identifying Goals

Addressing serious global health concerns, such as combating the spread of diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, is one of the most challenging tasks facing world leaders in the coming years. The needs of every country are different, making the identification of actionable goals and the means to implement them a top priority for many governments and nonprofit organizations. During the World Health Summit, global health will feature prominently in discussions, as this has been identified as a key factor in all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social improvement and environmental protection.

Expanding universal access to health care, particularly for families living in developing nations, is likely to be a key talking point during the event. Three of the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals focus primarily on health: Reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and fighting the spread of HIV, malaria and other diseases. All require a concerted effort by governments, community members and nongovernmental organizations.

More than 70 countries are currently engaged in conversations about the focuses of the United Nations' post-2015 agenda. Although progress has been made toward accomplishing the health-related Millennium Development Goals, the road ahead is long.

Protecting Mothers

Improving maternal health is not just one of the Millennium Development Goals, it's also a significant part of ChildFund's work in developing nations around the world.

In Bolivia, for instance, maternal health is one of the most urgent problems facing many families, particularly those living in rural areas where access to health care is often severely limited. ChildFund has worked in Bolivia for more than 30 years, and in the country's northwestern province of Villarroel, our maternal and neonatal health programs have helped save lives and have given newborns the chance they deserve to grow up healthy. We have trained more than 100 birth attendants to help expectant mothers during labor, and we support five 24-hour health clinics throughout the province to provide health care to families.

Indonesia is another country in which poor maternal health remains a serious problem. ChildFund has worked in Indonesia since 1958, and, working with local partner organization Warga Upadaya, we have been able to help mothers survive labor and give birth to healthy children who may have otherwise struggled to survive.

Trained local health care volunteers, known as cadres, assist mothers in labor who may not be able to afford to give birth in a hospital due to the expenses involved. In addition, the cadres help mothers develop their understanding of birth preparedness through community training sessions, an initiative that has saved many lives. As the cadres are all members of their local communities, this program empowers mothers and the cadres to take ownership of the initiative, rather than merely providing external aid.

Improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are just two of the many challenges facing developing nations. To help ChildFund save lives and empower communities, please consider becoming a monthly giving partner. Our Essentials for Survival fund allows us to provide aid to children in need and their families where the need is greatest. Your generosity will make a world of difference.