Play Your Part
Commitment: Increasing Leadership & Investment in Maternal and Newborn Health
- WRA President Theresa Shaver joined 40 women urging U.S. Congress to support continued foreign assistance for women's health and rights abroad and maintain funding for reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS care, family planning, and maternal health programs.
- The Presidents of the International associations for midwives, nurses, obstetricians, gynecologists and pediatricians urged President Kikwete of Tanzania to act for women and children ahead of International Women's Day.
- WRA-Nigeria, Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and UNFPA call for Government to invest in Nigeria's Midwife Service Scheme
- In Bangladesh, maternal deaths have declined 40% and the prime minister pledged to add 3,000 midwives in five years. Member of Parliament Meher Afroz Chumki and Humayun Kabir, Health Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, were among those who joined with WRA-Bangladesh in calling for health workers and policymakers to invigorate efforts to extend lifesaving care to all.
- The WRA and over 300 other organizations, including Save the Children and Merlin, launched the Health Workers Count campaign which calls for more health workers, better supported. In the 3 months leading up to the United Nations General Assembly, the WRA and other organizations united to call for more health workers as part of this campaign.
- During the week of September 19th, 2011, WRA members from Yemen, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh and Tanzania came together in New York to represent WRA at numerous events set to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly to amplify the voices of frontline health workers, girls and women from communities around the world.
- Around 200 Yemeni midwives have signed a petition urging world leaders who will meet in the UN annual General Assembly session in New York this month to take action to reduce Yemen's maternal mortality rate.
- African Speakers of Parliaments and Presidents of Senate unanimously adopted a landmark resolution on a Declaration of Commitment to prioritize parliamentary support for increased policy and budget action on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in African countries.
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon used his key note speech at the Every Woman Every Child event to highlight health workers as the 'unsung heroes' in achieving the MDGs.
- Over 5,000 midwives from 80 countries around the world delivered the Midwives Save Lives petition to global leaders
- Nigerian advocates rallied at the Federal Assembly until the Senate agreed to pass Nigeria's first National Health Bill, a bill that had been on the floor of parliament for seven years.
- The Respectful Maternity Care Advisory Council has now been established, working on the principle that 'safe motherhood' is more than the prevention of morbidity or mortality: It is respect for every woman's autonomy, dignity, feelings, choices and preferences. The council's recent work includes building a broad consensus among stakeholders groups on The Charter of the Universal Rights of Childbearing Women.
- The government of Tanzania has added its own promises to the Global Strategy, publicly pledging to increase spending on health from 12% to 15%, promising to increase the enrolment of health care workers from 5,000 to 10,000; pledging to increase the numbers graduating from 3,000 to 7,000 – and to improve the recruitment, deployment and retention of health care workers.
Mobilization: Building a Stronger Alliance for Safe Motherhood
- The total number of White Ribbon Alliance members rose to 20,000 members representing 155 countries with 1,900 new members in 2011.
- WRA National Alliances in Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sweden and Uganda have begun to use social networking sites and new media to engage their members.
- In Nigeria, Ibe Traffina was horrified by how many women were dying needlessly in the rural communities where she works, so she organised 'Save our Mothers' community gatherings to discuss the traditional practices which people use for lack of trained health workers. These practices have now stopped and there have been no deaths in most of these communities since.
- WRA Uganda saved the life of Rachel Namata's baby by helping Rachel gain access to the medicine necessary for mothers with incompatible rhesus condition.
- WRA partnered with EQUALS campaign to champion women's rights in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day
- WRA Uganda member Sarah Kyomugisha gave birth to a healthy baby in January. She and her husband wore their white ribbon pins every day throughout her pregnancy to promote safe motherhood. Sarah is thankful to her husband for his care throughout her pregnancy, noting that he attended antenatal clinics with her and when you attend with a man you are given first priority.
- White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania celebrated White Ribbon Day by calling for more health workers and better access to care for women. “It is the right for every woman in labor to be attended by a qualified health worker.”
- Renowned fashion designer Mustafa Hassanali hosted a charity fashion show to celebrate 100 years of International Women's Day, to benefit White Ribbon Alliance and “to support women in provisions of promoting social responsibility through maternal health.”
- WRA members in Sudan organized a historic "Walk For Safe Motherhood" that united over 200 people in a peaceful solidarity procession in the streets of Khartoum.
- WRA-Kenya organized a Convoy to Kisumu, attracting huge crowds and shocking many who were unaware of the country's maternal mortality rate – 26 maternal deaths per day.
- WRA was at the Glastonbury Festival with the hugely popular Mum's Tattoo Parlour in The Park, tattooing mums, dads, kids, babies, policemen to raise awareness about maternal mortality.
- performers and random celebrities with our free 'I Heart Mum' tattoo transfer.
- WRA members from around the world were out in force in Durban for the 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives, raising voices and strengthening partnerships to make real the vision of every girl and woman seeking and receiving quality care before, during and after childbirth.
- Stories of Midwives, a multi-media collection of stories of midwives from over 20 countries who exemplify midwives' crucial role as the linchpins of an effective maternity care system, was launched in Durban, South Africa during the International Confederation of Midwives Conference.
- WRA-Sweden celebrated Mother's Day with display of 1000 female symbols representing as many girls and women how die every day in pregnancy and childbirth and launch of "It's Urgent" postcard campaign appealing to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to do more through development aid. Nearly 2000 people signed postcards appealing to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to "work proactively internationally to increase the European Union's development aid for sexual and reproductive rights."
- WRA India launched its West Bengal state chapter with a workshop attended by representatives from the Indian government, national and international organizations, professional bodies and the media.
- The WRA held a workshop with all fifteen National Alliances in Indonesia to strengthen advocacy efforts at various country levels.
- WRA Zambia, together with five other organizations, signed a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) aimed at implementing a joint program to improve maternal health services in Zambia by asking for increased political commitment. The specific objectives of the coalition are to get Members of Parliament (MPs) to increase budgetary allocations to maternal health in their annual planning cycles and to get journalists to make maternal mortality a regular feature of their programming and coverage and to increase awareness and debate on safe motherhood.
- ABC launched their Million Moms Challenge campaign calling on 1 million American moms to take up their challenge and do something for maternal health.
- HealthProm, a small NGO in Afghanistan, worked to meet MDG5 in a number of very poor villages (currently 20) in the mountains near Mazar-e Sharif in the north by employing a female facilitator to set up Safe Motherhood Groups . There have been no maternal deaths in a set of 10 villages since work began there in mid-2010: in the previous two years, 7 deaths.
- In Uganda, the Ministry of Health declared the commencement of the safe motherhood week which has kicked off on October 11th in Kasana Luwero District. The event offered cervical and breast cancer screening, family planning services, and information sharing on matters related to safe motherhood through Community dialogue meetings, radio programs, and a public rally.
- Stories of Mothers Lost was featured at the Women Hold Up Half the Sky exhibit in Los Angeles, an exhibit which addressed gender equality as the human rights cause of our time.
- Twelve White Ribbon Alliance National Alliance representatives gathered in India for a Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop to learn how to facilitate a Capacity Self-Assessment for their National Alliance.
- WRA Tanzania launched a documentary that seeks to educate communities on various aspects of safe motherhood. The documentary dubbed 'Play Your Part' was made and filmed by 6 Tanzanian Health Workers.
- WRA joined Girls Not Brides, a global partnership to end child marriage.
- In Nepal, WRA now has over a thousand organisations as members, with representatives in nearly every state. They have held 25 Public Hearings, building on a model championed by WRA India.
- In Indonesia youth members are spreading messages of the white ribbon alliance across social networking sites to many thousands of followers
- In Burkina Faso WRA youth members are writing to music stars asking them to perform in charity concerts for safe motherhood
Accountability: Holding Governments, Donors and all Stakeholders Accountable for Maternal Health Commitments
- In India, WRA member organization Human Rights Law Network filed public interest litigation after a pregnant woman died giving birth on the streets of Delhi. The court ordered the Delhi government to build shelters for destitute pregnant women so they can receive proper care while giving birth. According to Human Rights Law Network, "this is the first decision that we know of in the world to hold maternal mortality as a human rights violation, and order compensation and other relief against the government for such violations."
- Women exposed corruption and loopholes in health care systems and the challenges of maintaining pressure on government to make changes through public hearings in Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra India.
- In Tanzania, White Ribbon Alliance has convinced politicians that this is a hugely important issue for the progress of their country. The first ever committee of Parliamentarians for Safe Motherhood has been meeting to press for changes to make sure the government is putting its money where its mouth is. Already there has been a notable success; the Ministry of Health now rejects any budget proposal from its 142 Districts, unless it contains a specific budget line for maternal health.
- WRA Uganda members advocated for more midwives and succeeded in getting midwives on the payroll. Within six months the number of midwives has nearly trebled.
- WRA Atlas of Birth calls for governments to allocate resources to improve access and quality of care during labour and delivery and fill gap of 350,000 midwives
- WRA Uganda challenged presidential candidates to make specific commitments to improving maternal health services and then invited candidates on television programs to discuss their commitments.
- Midwives and the Civil Society Organisations of Uganda petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, saying that government of Uganda has been reluctant to commit to the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, pledged to raise the concerns highlighted in the petition to the Social Services Commit of Parliament for consideration in their committee report to the House.
- Jayshree Satpute was placed on The Guardian's Top 100 Women list for using law for holding the government accountable for women's health as a human right.