Raising awareness about maternal health worldwide on National Bump Day


No matter where in the world they live, all moms-to-be want what’s best for their babies: a healthy beginning to a healthy, bright future. But tragically, far too many moms-to-be around the world don’t receive the basic health care they need to ensure a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery, and a healthy baby.

Wednesday was National Bump Day, a day devoted to raising awareness and redoubling our efforts to meet the urgent need for better maternal health care around the world.  Every day, 830 women, almost entirely from developing countries, die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and 16,000 children under five years old around the world die of treatable conditions, such as pneumonia and diarrhea.  Although the risk of a woman dying in child birth is 47 times higher in Africa than in the United States, maternal death rates in our country have also steadily risen in recent years and are higher than rates in any other developed nation.

{mosads}It is a tragedy that so many preventable deaths still occur, especially given that many life-saving maternal and child health solutions, including clean birthing practices, vaccines, nutritional supplements, and handwashing with soap, are well-known and cost-effective. Yet these simple solutions remain elusive for far too many women and children in developing countries.

We see a clear opportunity for Congress to take action in the fight against preventable maternal and child deaths. The bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act was recently reintroduced by Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Chris Coons of Delaware. This legislation would strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children. Taking lessons learned from past initiatives, such as the successful President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Reach Act would provide the focus and tools necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of the hardest to reach mothers and children and create a more stable world.

It would also provide the U.S. Agency for International Development with greater flexibility to use “pay-for-success” financing models, where foreign aid is primarily used for programs that produce results. This financing model both protects U.S. taxpayers from ineffective and inefficient programming and allows the U.S. government to capitalize on the private sector’s ability to innovate.

Many organizations, including CARE International, PATH, RESULTS, Save the Children Action Network, and WorldVision, have endorsed the Reach Act.  In the last Congress, it achieved the distinction of being the most widely supported piece of bipartisan global health legislation in at least a decade. 

You can help turn the world’s attention to the vital need for the basic, low-cost care that can make the difference between life and death for moms and babies globally by posting and sharing on #BumpDay, a collaboration of Heidi Murkoff, What To Expect, and International Medical Corps to support healthy pregnancies and safe births.

Due in large measure to U.S. leadership, we have made great progress in the fight to bring preventable deaths among mothers to zero. But we must keep fighting until we reach our goal, and help every mother reach her goal of delivering a healthy future for her baby.

By supporting simple interventions and increasing access to resources for those who need them most, we can do that–one mother and one baby at a time–on #BumpDay and every day.

Collins is the senior senator from Maine, Coons is the junior senator from Delaware, Murkoff is the author of the What to Expect When Your Expecting books.

Tags Chris Coons Susan Collins
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