Each year, 585,000 women, 99 per cent of them in developing countries, die each year of causes related to pregnancy and child-birth. One life lost every minute. Countless others suffer permanent damage to their health. Why do they die and suffer? Knowledge and technology exist that could prevent the tragedy. They die from social, cultural and economic causes - such as no pre-natal care, illicit abortions, no money to pay for transportation to hospitals or health centres, no access to family planning services, and malnutrition.
Good health is not a luxury, it is a basic human right. Unfortunately millions of people do not have this right. The achievement of health for all is often a struggle against injustice.
Safe Motherhood is an essential health strategy - 'No woman should die in childbirth' is the motto adopted by the Global Commission on Women's Health. Over 90% of infants who lose their mothers in delivery will die by their first birthday.
Low-income and the low status of women are also associated with high levels of HIV infections. Every two minutes a woman dies from Aids and nearly half of those infected with HIV in developing countries are women. Mother to child transmissions account for more than 90% of infections in children.
Cultural practices can cause long-term pain and suffering:
The maintenance and improvement of health should be at the centre of concern about development and the environment. Many successes have been recorded in recent decades by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but the health situation of whole populations in many regions of the world remains at an unacceptable level. The consequences are being borne by the poorest of the poor - women and children in deprived communities.
"WomenAid is to be commended for it's valuable work and it's further endeavours encouraged"
World Health Organisation, Zagreb
Healthy mothers are more likely to have healthy children
Killer diseases like malaria and schistosomissis can be prevented
WATER AND SANITATION
A safe water supply and clean disposal of wastes are vital.
Many of the diseases that kill children by the millions are preventable
The family diet should be adequate,