Access To Quality Health Care, Political Will Essential For Continued Progress In Reducing Maternal Mortality

In this Daily Beast opinion piece, Sarah Brown, an adjunct professor at the Institute for Global Health Innovations at Imperial College in London and global patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynecology and deputy head of clinical sciences at St. George’s University of London, highlight the Global Health Policy Summit scheduled to take place in London on Wednesday. Led by Ara Darzi, former U.K. heath minister and chair of the World Economic Forum’s global health group, “this event is driving a new, dedicated approach to find radical answers and new collaborations,” they write, noting, “Our particular stake in the summit is the maternal health session that is specifically taking on an assessment of lessons learned and the next critical steps to take in order to reduce maternal mortality.”

They discuss progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which they say aim “to reduce world poverty by placing the mother at the heart of the world’s health,” and write, “In order to continue to save mothers’ lives otherwise tragically lost through pregnancy problems and difficulties in childbirth, [Wednesday’s] checklist includes the need for high quality, desirable, affordable, and accessible health care.” Brown and Arulkumaran add, “Health professionals should be led by three clear priorities: family planning needs, protection from unsafe abortions, and provision of appropriate maternal care,” and continue, “What is essential, though, is political will and a committed government.” They conclude, “The network of health leaders that gathers in London on August 1 are taking on a great task identifying how to save even more lives and create better opportunities for women everywhere” (7/31).

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