When moms are healthy, so are their communities. Learn how your organization can support maternal health from experts in the field.
The past two decades have seen significant progress in the state of maternal health around the globe. Between 2000 and 2017, the maternal mortality rate was reduced by 38% worldwide. Despite this, there remains much room for improvement—there were 295,000 maternal deaths in 2017, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls globally, and barriers to access (such as poverty, distance to healthcare facilities, and inadequate services) persist.
The nonprofit community continues to play a vital role in taking on this challenge. In February, GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners in the Peer Learning Network met to discuss maternal health in their communities and how non-health focused organizations could support maternal health through their existing programs. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Community health is closely tied to maternal health.
Access to clean water and sanitation enhances maternal health outcomes across the board while Adequate nutrition is important for the healthy development of girls’ and women’s bodies and helps to avoid problems in pregnancy and childbirth.
2. Traditional midwives are critical lines of access to healthcare for women in many communities.
Skilled midwives can play an essential role in providing culturally appropriate care and connecting mothers to the wider healthcare system.
More advocacy and support for midwifery is needed to end the discrimination and lack of professional investment often faced by midwives working in formal healthcare settings.
3. Mental healthcare is a key part of the solution to improving maternal health.
Identifying women at risk of postpartum depression and investing in trauma-informed care can mitigate harm experienced by pregnant women and new mothers. Proactively screening for intimate partner violence enables early mental health interventions for mothers who lack physical, psychological, and other forms of support.
4. Maternity groups can serve as a powerful source of connection and support for new mothers and mothers-to-be.
Peer support can promote the emotional wellbeing of mothers who may not otherwise feel heard. Focus groups create a space for advice and challenges to be shared between mothers with similar experiences.
5. Boys and men cannot be left out of the conversation on maternal health.
Research shows that actively engaging boys and men can have significant effects on promoting maternal and child health. Wider community involvement will continue to be pivotal in changing the narrative of maternal health on a global scale.
6. Education remains vital to improving maternal health.
Decreased maternal mortality rates are directly correlated with increased female literacy rates and maternal education. Promoting the education of girls helps to avoid child marriage and increases economic opportunities for girls, women, and communities as a whole.
Source: Global Giving Learn Library
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