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ICM Vice President Frances Day-Stirk represented the ICM at a high-profile event on the day following the International Day of the Midwife, when parliamentarians, celebrities and key players in world maternal health came together at the UK's House of Commons.

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ICM Vice President Frances Day-Stirk represented the ICM at a high-profile event on the day following the International Day of the Midwife, when parliamentarians, celebrities and key players in worldwide maternal health came together at the UK's House of Commons.

The occasion was the launch of a report bleakly titled 'Better Off Dead?' describing the severe toll of maternal morbidity across the world.

Christine McCafferty, MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health (APPG) carried out the launch of the APPG Hearing Report on Maternal Morbidity in collaboration with the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), IPPF and Marie Stopes International, at the same time celebrating International Day of the Midwife on Wednesday 6 May 2009.

Guests of honour included Sarah Brown, wife of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Patron of the WRA and Geri Halliwell, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador.

The report gave facts and figures on women's illnesses and injuries related to pregnancy and childbirth. These leave 10-20 million women and girls every year with long-term physical, psychological, social and economic problems. Many women are abandoned, ostracised and alone.

The complications include: obstetric fistula, perineal damage, prolapsed uterus, stress incontinence, puerperal infection and sepsis, haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia and fits, anaemia, infertility and ectopic pregnancy, depression and suicide. Maternal morbidity has root causes in gender inequality and violence.

Baroness Tonge, Chair of the APPG, said: '[Among] the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), MDG 5 to improve maternal health is the one with the least progress. For every maternal death, there are 20 women who suffer long-term illness and disabilities. These are often devastating to the woman ... some might even be better offdead. However, there is hope. We greatly reduced morbidities in the UK within a generation by ensuring universal access to family planning and safe abortion, skilled birth attendance, and basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Women in developing countries deserve the same; they should not be abandoned to suffer in silence'.

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Title Annotation:ICM news
Publication:International Midwifery
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:327
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