Every year, our State of the World’s Mothers report reminds us of the inextricable link between the well-being of mothers and their children. As any mother – myself included – will tell you, our children’s health and safety is the most important thing in our lives. And we know that a strong and empowered mother is the best champion a child will ever have. More than 90 years of experience have shown us that when mothers have health care, education and economic opportunities, both they and their children have the best chance to survive and thrive.
But many are not so fortunate. Every year, 287,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, and 6.9 million children die before reaching their fifth birthday. Almost all these deaths occur in developing countries where mothers, children and newborns lack access to basic health care. While child mortality rates have declined in recent decades, 19,000 mothers still mourn the loss of a child each and every day – an unthinkable number of heartbreaks. This is especially tragic since most of these deaths could be prevented at a modest cost.
This year’s report looks at the critical first day of life, when mothers and their newborns face the greatest threats to survival, and when there is tremendous opportunity to save lives. It highlights approaches that are working to bring essential health care to the hard-to-reach places where most deaths occur. And it shows how millions more lives each year can be saved if we invest in proven solutions and help mothers do what’s best for their children. If we don’t save lives on this critical first day, we will never truly end preventable child deaths.
Please read the Take Action section of this report and join me in doing what any mother would do: put the well-being of children first.