safe motherhood

Safe Motherhood at 10

During 1997-98, the IAG developed an ambitious two-year "Safe Motherhood at Ten" programme to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative.

One of the primary goals of Safe Motherhood at Ten was to pull together the growing body of research on the impact of different maternal health interventions, and identify the "lessons learned" for programme planners working in a wide range of circumstances. The Safe Motherhood at Ten programme focused on articulating these lessons and sharing them with country-level partners, so that programme planners could draw on them to design effective safe motherhood interventions.

The Safe Motherhood at Ten programme included two key events:

  • Safe Motherhood Technical Consultation in Colombo, Sri Lanka, October 1997. A meeting of national and international programmers, policy-makers, and technical experts, to identify the most effective strategies for making motherhood safer.

  • World Health Day, April 7, 1998. An international Call to Action for key decision-makers (governments, donors, technical assistance agencies, etc.) at World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C.; and a campaign to encourage national and local efforts to raise awareness about safe motherhood and launch new programmes.

These events fuelled an 18-month communications campaign for audiences in both developed and developing countries. Elements of this campaign included:

  • A core package of information tools and resources, including a Safe Motherhood Brochure, Safe Motherhood Policy Card, Technical and Non-Technical Fact Sheets, videos, and Public Service Announcements.
  • The development of the Safe Motherhood web site.
  • A media campaign to increase coverage of safe motherhood among a range of press outlets (print, television, radio, and internet).

Safe Motherhood Technical Consultation

The Safe Motherhood Technical Consultation, Ten Years of Lessons and Progress, was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in October 1997. A broad spectrum of participants, including program planners and managers, policy-makers, and technical experts, came together to share their knowledge and experiences, review ten years of research and experience, and to identify the most effective ways to improve maternal health.

During the five-day meeting, participants came to a consensus on ten, high-priority Action Messages for organisations to use as guidelines for their safe motherhood programmes.

The presentations, and the international consensus articulated at this meeting, served as the basis for a set of easy-to-use and accessible information tools to help policy-makers and program-planners guide action within their own organisations and countries.

World Health Day - Launching the Year of Safe Motherhood

The IAG celebrated World Health Day (April 7, 1998) by organising international events in Washington D.C. and by aiding national activities around the world. In Washington, the World Bank hosted a major Call to Action that consisted of speeches by political leaders (including US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton) and premieres of videos and public service announcements for an audience of more than 500 government officials, UN representatives, health advocates, and the media.

The Call to Action had two audiences and two objectives: developing country decision-makers, who were urged to make safe motherhood a programmatic and policy priority; and donors from developed countries, who were urged to ensure that safe motherhood receives continued and sustained financial support. In addition, IAG members worked closely with WHO to enhance their customary efforts to encourage national and local action around World Health Day.

The Call to Action was highlighted by a series of distinguished political leaders and heads of the IAG member organisations who spoke about what can and must be done to improve maternal health globally. The program was divided into two sessions:

The first session: Key speakers in the first session included:

James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank
Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States
Dato'Seri Datin Paduka Dr. Siti Hasmah mohd. Ali, First Lady of Malaysia
Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Health, Uganda
Vendela Thommessen, UNICEF International Spokesperson

The second session: IAG members and distinguished leaders participated in a panel discussion on successes and challenges for safe motherhood. Speakers included:

Sir George Alleyne, Director, PAHO (representing WHO)
Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UNFPA
Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
David de Ferranti, Vice President, Human Development, The World Bank
Ingar Brueggemann, Secretary General, IPPF
Margaret Catley Carlson, President, The Population Council
Mahmoud Fathalla, Senior Advisor, The Rockefeller Foundation