On the 15th of January, UNICEF presented the report The State of the World’s Children 2009 in different countries throughout the world. Inspira was at the presentation that took place at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu which was organised by Dr Rubén Díaz, the Medical Director of the Hospital, Pablo Giménez-Salinas, the President of UNICEF Catalunya, and Luis Ruiz, a Member of the Board of Directors of UNICEF Catalunya.
The State of the World’s Children 2009 focuses on maternal and newborn health and discusses the interventions and measures that must be expanded in order to save the lives of mothers and newborns.
At the event, Luis Ruiz used a very well-structured presentation to explain some of the conclusions included in the report, which highlights the existing connection between the survival of mothers and their children and suggests measures to close the gap that exists between rich countries and poor countries. For example, while a woman in Niger has a one in seven chance of dying during the complications during pregnancy or delivery, a woman in developed countries has merely a one in 8,000 chance.
The report reveals that, although in recent years many countries have progressed greatly in order to improve childhood survival, advances have been less considerable in reducing the number of women who die while giving birth. Thus, in his discussion, Luis Ruiz brought to light the fact that 1,500 women die every day while giving birth or while pregnant. This information is especially alarming because of the reality that underlines such a figure and because it portrays how little information we receive from the media about this matter when compared to coverage given to other news stories with a much smaller death rate.
The conceptual framework dealing with the causes of maternal and newborn death show that the results in health-related matters are determined by inter-related factors that include, among others, nutrition, water, health and hygiene, health-care services, observing healthy habits and controlling illnesses. These factors are defined as immediate factors (meaning that they come from individuals), underlying factors (meaning that the come from homes, communities and districts) and basic factors (meaning that they come from society). Factors in one realm influence the remaining realms. At Inspira, we would like to stress that, according to statements made by Luis Ruiz during his presentation, one of the underlying factors that can lead to death is environmental health.
As maintained by the President of UNICEF Catalunya, Pablo Giménez-Salinas, in order to reduce maternal and child mortality levels, the report presents a road map for national governments and local and international organisations. One of the fundamental points of this road map is the establishment and consolidation of ongoing attention in key places that can be easily accessed by women and children, such as in homes and communities, attention that not only includes primary health care, but also aims to create an environment conducive to mothers and children that safeguards and promotes their rights. To do so, it is necessary to increase and improve medical staffing, to modernise and expand infrastructure and logistics, to find equitable financial solutions and to stimulate the demand for health-care services through social mobilisation and the quality of care provided and by fostering the commitment and the capacity of political leadership based on collaboration.
The last chapter of the report examines the programmes and cooperation alliances that aim to create promising environments and to explore ways to promote collaboration, increase the effectiveness of development aid and apply resources and commitment to obtaining specific results.
Conceptual framework for maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity