On the morning of March 4th, I found out that I would be doing an intervention at the UN 15 year review of the Beijing Conference. Having never done one before, I was nervous but at the same time, there was a deeper excitement and thus a strong commitment to make my team proud.
Maternal Mortality has always been an alarming issues for me, as I cannot believe that when we speak of generations to come, we can possibly forget the unique role women, especially mothers play in this developmental process. Women are human beings. Women, have dignity. It is imperative that we protect their maternal rights in every way possible. Hence, as our legal and moral obligation we must provide basic necessities such as skilled birth attendants, pre and post natal care and timely treatment for obstetric fistula as this is vital to maternal health. According to the UNFPA, we can reduce maternal mortality by 50% if we simply provide skilled birth attendants, whereas there would only be a 25% reduction were we to place emphasis on family planning. The fact that we have spent more time, money and effort in the past ten years on the latter is not conducive to the Millennium Development Goal 5 to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015.
As a young person, it is my urgent need to know as to what the government is doing to divert attention to this prevailing issue. Considering one woman dies every five minutes in India due to preventable causes before and after childbirth, I feel that governments clearly need to divert a larger percentage of their GDP towards further development of maternal health. In addition, along with providing skilled birth attendants, pre and post natal care and treatment for obstetric fistula, we need to improve health education, nutrition, food and security during this economic, financial and food crisis that we face as a world today. How are we holding governments responsible? What kinds of accountability mechanisms does the international community have in place to ensure accurate and effective government spending?
The aforementioned is just a small glimpse of the many words I tried to fit into the given time of 4 minutes. For more details, you may click on the video link. Once again, thank you for all your support and kind words. This has been one unforgettable experience.
Ria Dutta – World Youth Alliance, India