Noting that the global epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis now receive lots of international attention and billions of dollars in funding, UNICEF's chief of health Peter Salama called for a similar effort for reducing maternal mortality:
"The time is right. We now know exactly what to do for maternal mortality reduction to make this one of the next big issues in global health."
I can't help but wonder how much racism plays a role in the neglect of attention paid to the problem of maternal mortality. 99% of the maternal deaths occur in the Third World, with over half occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.
I don't mean to belittle breast cancer activism, but that disease claims around the same number of women annually (the World Health Organization estimates there were 548,000 deaths from breast cancer worldwide in 2007) yet it receives far more attention than maternal mortality does. When's the last time you saw a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness? When's the last time that you heard anyone talking about all the moms dying needlessly during pregnancy or childbirth?