x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Give mothers a fighting chance, Sheikha Shamsa says

Chairwoman of Women and Health Alliance International appeals to G20 forum for renewed commitment to lowering mortality rates during childbirth.

It is "unacceptable" that women around the world still die giving birth, Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan said yesterday, in an appeal submitted to the G20 summit in South Korea.

Sheikha Shamsa said that in 2000, the member states of the United Nations general assembly committed themselves to reducing child mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015.

"Ten years later," Sheikha Shamsa said, "it is sadly clear that we are still far from achieving these goals."

The sheikha is chairwoman of Women and Health Alliance International (Waha) and wife of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region.

Sheikha Shamsa called for better access to medical services, stronger emergency obstetric care and "new telecommunications and transport strategies". She concluded: "Give women a fighting chance of surviving the delivery of their babies."

Sheikha Shamsa founded Waha in 2009 in response to high maternal mortality and morbidity rates in many parts of Africa and Asia. It is a medical non-profit organisation working to improve maternal health in poor communities.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae