Today, August 3 is #BumpDay 2016, a day designated to raise awareness of maternal health care issues across the world. The cause urges women to share pictures of their "bump" (or pregnant belly -- current or previous) to help raise awareness of the maternity crisis that exists worldwide. More importantly, in sharing, urge people to actively advocate and support maternity health worldwide. Here's why, with facts from the BumpDay website:
One-third of all births worldwide are performed without a skilled professional
800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy EVERY DAY (emphasis mine)
99% of all maternal deaths take place in developing countries
Become an Active Advocate
Sharing pictures and increasing awareness is a good start, but real change comes about by real action. One of the simplest ways to help is to donate money. Consider offering a donation (no matter how small!) to one of the following organizations:
International Medical Corps works to improve the health of expectant mothers by offering services, including family planning, delivery by skilled birth attendants and quality care for obstetric and newborn emergencies. They also promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Over 220 million women worldwide want to delay or avoid a pregnancy but are unable to practice family planning because they lack the access. Globally, up to 80% of internally displaced people and refugees are women and children. In times of crisis, when the traditional social codes protecting women can easily break down, women and children become more vulnerable to abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. International Medical Corps offers culturally appropriate services for gender based violence and works to reduce forms of violence rooted in gender discrimination.
The United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project works to empower girls and women by improving their access to reproductive health and family planning services globally. Their vision is a world where girls, women, and their families are empowered and healthy. They partner with a community of donors and NGOs to strengthen US support for access to family planning and reproductive health care globally.
1,000 Days is the leading nonprofit organization working in the U.S. and around the world to improve nutrition and ensure women and children have the healthiest first 1,000 days. Armed with powerful scientific evidence, they are changing the way the world views the problem of malnutrition and what it takes to solve it. 1,000 Days fights to make good nutrition for women and children in the 1,000 day window a policy and funding priority. They’re building a movement of mothers, advocates, thought-leaders and partners committed to changing the world 1,000 days at time.
There are ways other than donations to get involved in supporting worldwide maternal health. Visit each of the avbove websites to find out how you can "act" -- they will provide information (and make it easy) on how to do things like sign a petition, contact a member of congress, share on social media, support their partners, and more. Beyond these organizations, there are several other worthy organizations that help improve maternal health. Check out this list for more information and ideas on how to advocate.
One More Thing...
Since it's #BumpDay, it's only fair that I share my most recent bump. Baby #3 for me -- almost five years ago!