Written by Alexandra Dent, MPH candidate at University of South Florida and the Centene Institute for Health Education Scholar at the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program
As a student in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Track, I participated in a seminar with Elvin Geng, MD, MPH, who discussed health inequities and how they represent a host of challenges for individuals, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those principles can be applied to maternal mortality rates. The addition of risk factors, maternal education, socioeconomic status, building environment, race/ethnicity, institutional/structural factors, can all influence a woman’s risk of dying due to childbirth-related complications.
Geng discussed implementation science and how implementing evidence-based programs and practices within the COVID-19 pandemic needs to include key features, such as motivation, community behaviors, and opportunities. These indicators can also guide policies and programs in the maternal and child health field. Furthermore, he emphasized collectivity, rapidity, and equity as key components in surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also, implementing policies, mandates, and other restrictive measures to slow the spread, which can translate into reduction in maternal mortality and as stated in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #3: Ensure healthily lives and promote well-being for all ages.
Mothers are timeless; they defy all the odds to ensure their children are cared and provided for. Their unconditional love for their children exceeds all time, whether their children are newborns to adults, from one end of the Earth to the other. The bond between the mother and her child is vital to his development, whether that be emotionally, socially, physically, intellectually, or mentally. Yet mothers, nationally and internationally, face adverse challenges in the beginning of their motherhood journey, such as maternal mortality.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #3 is even more important than ever in a global health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations, before the pandemic, great progress has been made globally in reducing the numbers and the causes of maternal mortality. However, health emergencies such as COVID-19 highlighted vast disparities in countries struggling to fight or recover from the pandemic, thus stalling or even reversing previous progress.
The SDG target is to have fewer than 70 global maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by the year 2030. In order to meet this goal, the world needs to continue to invest in and develop further maternal health and women’s health research, programs and policies. Focusing on maternal and child health ensures that families and communities are well-provided for and ready for the any challenge on their path.
Mothers are timeless; even when long gone, they will never be forgotten. The blessings and lessons will be passed down from generation to generation, community to community. Protecting mothers feeds enrichment, imagination and wisdom to our next generation of leaders.