Millions needlessly die every single year from diseases we know how to treat or cure.
But there's good news: The international community is in a position to stop this from happening, and ensure that no more mothers and children die from preventable causes.
But we have to act now.
That’s why Global Citizen headed to 10 Downing Street, the London home of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, on Wednesday.
We delivered the calls of over 85,000 Global Citizens around the world, who all want world leaders to commit funding to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) — which works to protect mothers and children.
It’s important timing, because world leaders, NGOs, and businesses will be gathering in Bali this week for the World Bank's annual meetings to discuss global development, amongst other topics.
Knock knock! ✊ We've just visited @Number10press to deliver your signatures and messages to @Theresa_May!— Global Citizen UK (@GlblCtznUK) October 10, 2018
Over 85,000 of you told the government: pledge #UKAid to @theGFF and stand with every woman, every child to end preventable deaths. pic.twitter.com/3xmiIxoY5k
At Global Citizen Festival in New York, Norway pledged an incredible $360 million (about £276 million) to the GFF.
Now we want the UK to follow Norway’s lead — and the World Bank meetings could be crucial.
By the end of this meeting, if the UK hasn’t made a decision to pledge to GFF, it’s unlikely that it will do so before the GFF replenishment conference Oslo in November.
But after reading what Global Citizens have to say about supporting maternal and infant health, how could the UK refuse?
"My mother bled terribly after my brother was born and, had it not been for the excellent care she received from the NHS, would have died,” said one. “This care shouldn’t be a lottery based on where we live. I would be proud to see UK aid spent on a new commitment to the GFF.”
Another said: “My wife gave birth to our child last month, and without the modern healthcare systems and monitoring it is likely we would have lost our child during the birth.”
A third wrote: “I have spent my working life as a proud NHS midwife and understand all too well how important good care is to the lives of mothers and their babies. The UK has a long history of funding international aid and in the current troubled and turbulent times there are more reasons than ever for helping to improve the lives of people in some of the poorest countries in our world.”
“We have a responsibility that surpasses any finances to ensure mothers do not risk death to have their children in any country,” said another. “We are a global community and cannot pick and choose who lives or dies just because we can.”
But why exactly is the GFF so important?
Essentially, it’s important because it’s an initiative that’s saving lives, through support for mothers, babies and adolescents with innovative solutions to the most pressing health problems.
One initiative, for example, is inspired by how kangaroos carry their babies around in pouches. It sounds odd, but Kangaroo Mother Care, when combined with breastfeeding, prevents newborn deaths by regulating the baby’s temperature and reducing the risk of infection.
This is how it works, according to Ndeye Mbayang, lead kangaroo hold instructor at a health centre in Senegal.
“A wrap secures the baby around the mother’s chest,” she said. “This is health for both baby and mother and it also creates an emotional bond between them because the baby is held skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest… With the help of kangaroo care, we are helping mothers save their babies.”