How Can We Make Pregnancy Safer for Everyone?

By Amy DiElsi

August 25, 2016

This week as we head closer towards the UN General Assembly, we reflect on some critical conversations that happened earlier this year at Women Deliver. Check out our first article from the series, “We’ve Nearly Eliminated Polio — Here’s Why It Keeps Coming Back.”

Today 60 percent of mothers die in childbirth or from complications in pregnancy.

54 percent of children die before the age of five.

45 percent of newborn deaths are happening in crisis settings such as in conflict zones or refugee camps.

To help change these statistics, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child to combine resources from countries, international donors and the private sector to improve the lives of mothers, children, and adolescent girls.

During an interview with Global Moms Community Manager Chrysula Winegar, Mariam Claeson, the Director of Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed what excites her as she works on this issue. She talked about simple ways to save children such as promoting kangaroo care and improving the labor rooms so women can receive safe, clean respectful care during childbirth. “One thing that is exciting is we put a labor room in the conference. We could put the labor room with technologies in emergency settings like refugee camps.”

Watch the full interview with Mariam Claeson from the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen.

Take Action Challenge

Every woman deserves the right to a healthy pregnancy and birth — and every child deserves the right to a healthy childhood. As Mariam said in her interview, we have had the science, but we haven’t had the voice of women and girls saying they have the right to these things. Now we do! You can help right now. Visit

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Lead photo of a mother and child at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit for Children at Schiphra Hospital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, during Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the facility. By UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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