On International Maternal Health and Rights Day, Women’s Voices Create Change

Despite significant process, women and girls still live in a state of reproductive, maternal and sexual health that is far from optimal. Millions still lack access to quality reproductive and sexual healthcare. Approximately 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls age 15 to 19 years old.

Transforming this picture begins with women and girls.

Every mother deserves a healthy birth for herself and her baby. Every mother wants to have quality care and to be treated with dignity and respect. Every mother has a different idea of what quality, respect, and dignity mean to her. Too often, mothers’ voices are not taken into account when policies or programs are developed that affect their lives.

We know that when women’s values and priorities are not considered, too often that causes them to delay or avoid seeking health care. Globally and in the US, we are becoming better at recognizing that quality healthcare encompasses practices that result in good health outcomes and that incorporate the wants and needs of patients themselves.

Through our films, Every Mother Counts has created a platform to share women’s stories about childbirth. We seek to amplify women’s voices and to share their experiences through their own words. Now, we are joining together with partners around the world to learn and share what women want from childbirth on a global scale.

What better way is there to celebrate International Maternal Health and Rights Day, April 11th, than to ask women what they want to change about maternal health and care?

Every Mother Counts is proud to be a partner in a global campaign that will put women’s voices at the center of healthcare. What Women Want: Demands for quality healthcare for women and girls aims to collect perspectives from 1 million women about their top priority for quality healthcare services. We want to know what quality healthcare means to women and girls — no matter where they live, what religion they practice, or economic status in which they fall. And while every woman’s voice matters, we hope to hear from those whose voices are often hidden.

Based on what we learn, we plan to gather these priorities and create an advocacy agenda to realize their demands to help governments focus their human and financial resources in a way that will enhance health services, improve health outcomes and strengthen health systems.

Help launch the campaign by joining the What Women Want Twitter chat on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 10am ET to 11am ET and share why you are joining this movement for quality healthcare. Then take — and share — the survey!

Join the movement and help us reach 1 million women and girls. Find out more at www.whatwomenwant.org. Together, we can ensure that all women and girls receive quality healthcare as they understand it.

Topics: Human Rights, Maternal Health