A message from Ann K. Blanc, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, on International Women’s day:
At the first International Women’s Day in 1911, the maternal mortality ratio in the United States was around 900 deaths per 100,000 births – approximately the same level as in sub-Saharan Africa today. While the figure has dropped to 11 deaths per 100,000 births in the US today, the ratio in Africa has barely budged in the last 20 years. I often wonder why this huge disparity exists and why the global health community doesn’t commit to the global eradication of preventable maternal deaths, a goal that I think is achievable if only sufficient political will could be mustered. After all, the number of maternal deaths every year is relatively few – “only” 500,000 – and the ways to prevent these deaths are known. In honor of the world’s women, the MHTF is using the occasion of International Women’s Day to renew our commitment to the global effort to improve maternal health through working with others in the maternal health field to identify and fill knowledge gaps, build consensus, encourage dialogue, and share lessons learned. What are you doing to honor the world’s women today?