I grew up knowing my mother had killed her mother. A tragedy: yes, but in those days in Xuzhou, China, dying in childbirth was just a fact of life. And, sadly, it still is in many parts of the world. Today, one woman dies every minute during pregnancy or childbirth, according to the World Health Organization. More than a million children - like my mom - are left motherless each year. It’s a travesty when simple, cheap interventions could have an immediate impact on maternal mortality.
Access to emergency medical services, health education, family planning and contraception could prevent 80 per cent of maternal deaths for less than $1.50 per woman in the 75 countries where 95 per cent of maternal deaths occur. Think about it: we could save a woman’s life for less than the price of a subway ride. So, why aren’t we doing it?
I have two daughters who I pray will grow up to have beautiful children of their own and never experience the fear I associated with pregnancy. But there are millions of women around the world who continue to be gripped by that terror every day. It’s time to put an end to it. Shame on all of us if we don’t.