We have just observed Advent and celebrated Christmas, and yesterday was Epiphany Sunday. These are all familiar stories to us as Christian women–but one thing struck me especially this year as I’ve been immersed in the issues around the Millenium Development Goals. We listen to the story over and over again. Jesus was born in a manager in a barn among all the animals because there was no room for Mary at the Inn. Can you imagine having your child in a barn?
Today, many of us are so fortunate because we have health insurance and access to prenatal medical care, and we give birth in a hospital with all the medical technology at our finger tips in case of an emergency. We also have access to good nutrition during pregnancy and after the birth of our child, which means our child will receive good nutrition.
According to statistics from 2010 from the World Health Organization, “Every day 800 women died due to complications of pregnancy and child birth, including severe bleeding after child birth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortions.” “The risk of a woman in a developing country dying from a pregnancy-related cause during her lifetime is about 25 times higher compared to a woman living in a developed country. Maternal mortality is a health indicator that shows very wide gaps between rich and poor, both between countries and within them.”
In low income countries, less than 50% of baby deliveries were attended by a skilled attendant. As women of faith, what can we do to change the statistics and find better healthful alternatives for women who are pregnant? How can we assist them in gaining access to healthy food and vitamins to increase their chances of a healthy delivery and a healthy baby?
Maternal health is not just an issue in developing countries, it is also an issue in the United States when women do not have access to affordable health insurance, medical care, and proper nutrition. As women, we need to educate ourselves about the issue of maternal health in our communities and around the world. We need to work together to come up with solutions for all women to have access to proper nutrition and good medical care to ensure healthy babies around the world.
Back in Bethlehem, the innkeeper turned Mary away. Will you open the door for women locally and globally to have a safe and healthy birth? Women helping women can change the world – one woman at a time.
This blog post is part of our series on the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations as part of the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign. Millennium Development Goal #5 is “Improve Maternal Health.” Please visit www.endpoverty2015.org for more information on the MDGs, including fact sheets and updates on advances on this goal.
This blog post is contributed by Barbara Anderson, director of “All Hands In,” a ministry organization sponsored by Trinity Baptist Church of East Arlington, MA, addressing the issue of human trafficking.