Keeping Promises, Accomplishing Change – Milestone Moments in Women Delivering Maternal Health
On Maternal Monday today, I recall marking the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative in 2007. History was made as the 1st Women Deliver Conference began in London that October, bringing together nearly 2,000 advocates, researchers, policymakers, and global leaders from 115 countries to assess progress in preventing maternal deaths and promoting child survival. The conference, with its theme of “Keeping Promises, Accomplishing Change,” garnered attention globally and showcased the determination of individuals and nations to tackle the pressing issues of maternal health.
With strong support from world leaders, including the British Prime Minister at the time, The Right Honourable Gordon Brown HonFRSE, who emphasised the significance of investing in women as the most productive strategy for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Women Deliver cemented the core strategies for improving maternal health, and reframed it as a basic human right and an integral strategy for achieving just development, reducing poverty, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s decades of work from the United Nations MDGs to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), celebrated last week’s 6th Women Deliver Conference, and the first in Africa, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, which exemplified transforming promises into action. With advocacy efforts intensified, the political will to address maternal health is growing stronger while also addressing a broader range of women’s issues, such as family planning, reproductive rights, and gender-based violence. Women Deliver 2023 was instrumental in sparking dialogues and driving meaningful change by engaging policymakers, grassroots organisations, and communities.
Tangentially, the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment, which took place in Rome, Italy, at the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) premises, highlighted the critical importance of nutrition for women, and its pivotal role in creating sustainable and resilient food systems, unlocking a cascade of positive impacts, from enhancing maternal health to empowering communities and driving economic growth.
A testament to the power of collective action towards a world where women’s rights are upheld, and gender equality is the norm, we move into the future and inspire new generations of leaders, carrying the spirit of Women Deliver with us, continuing to keep promises and actively accomplishing change, until every woman’s voice is heard, and every woman’s rights are respected.