The UN Millennium Development Goals are due to expire in less than three years. As the end date approaches, many are wondering – how close are we to achieving our goals for global development? Moms may be particularly curious. After all, half of the goals are directly related to their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their kids. Two focus on health: goal #4 is reduce child mortality and goal #5 is improve maternal health. With that in mind, let’s look at how Million Moms Fund organizations are working toward these critical goals.
One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine.
In response to these utterly preventable deaths, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign launched Blogust during the month of August – a relay of inspirational blog posts by influential bloggers and parents. Every comment on a post initiated a $20 donation, the same amount of money it takes to immunize a child with four essential life-saving vaccines. Shot@Life reached their initial goal of 1,500 comments and $30,000 in donations in just a week! By the end of the month Blogust had received 10,000 comments, enough to protect 10,000 children from diarrhea, pneumonia, polio, and measles.
James Kainerugaba is a pastor of the Kakooge Full Gospel Church in Kirowooza Village, Uganda. For the past 12 years he’s been a member of his Village Health Team, supported by AMREF. AMREF works toward achieving MDGs #4 and #5 by promoting child and maternal health throughout Africa, often by training Village Health Team workers like James. “We were given a lot of health education, which helped me understand that most health issues can be dealt with at community level,” he says.
One woman who listened to James is Jesca Nzamukosha. The 35-year-old mother of six had her first three children at home, but the youngest three were delivered at the Kakooge Health Centre. “Before AMREF started working here with James, most of us had our babies at home,” says Jesca. “We were not tested for HIV or malaria, even when we were pregnant, because very few of us ever went to the health centre. We did not know how important it was for us to be checked.” James is proud of the work he is doing in his community. “Just visit any health facility and you will see the increased number of pregnant women there. This is because of our referrals.”
For all of the successes, there is still much more to be done to come close to achieving the Millennium Goals and improving the health of mothers and children. What can you do to help more mothers like Jesca and their children? Learn more about being part of the global community of moms here.