Every year, 60 million women give birth at home with no access to skilled care. More than 500,000 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth, 4 million newborn babies die every year before they are 1 month old, 3 million are stillborn. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) knows that the health of mothers and children play an integral part in the struggle to reduce poverty.
Through its network of National Red Cross Red and Crescent Societies, the IFRC has been supporting and implementing health initiatives related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health for over 20 years. The IFRC is committed to “Making Every Mother and Child Count”, by working with partners to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to dramatically reduce child mortality and improve maternal health by 2015. As part of this strategy, the IFRC cooperates with the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA and is part of an inter-agency working group to promote and facilitate reproductive health programmes.
Eliminating health inequities - Every woman and every child counts
Health inequities are affecting the life and future of all vulnerable groups of society across the world, creating systems of social injustice. By dismantling the barriers to health services and resources, we reduce the burden of disease that affects the future of children, impoverishes entire families and passes social injustice on through the generations. In the report, Eliminating health inequities, we focus on women and children not only because many of them suffer undue hardship, but also because women are instrumental in improving the health of their children, families and communities.
The report provides evidence that health inequities can and need to be addressed through a holistic approach. Health inequities, and the resulting social injustice are closely linked with other issues such as poverty, gender inequality and human rights violations which in turn, have an impact on education, transport, health, agriculture, and overall well-being. Our interventions should therefore be multi-sectoral, going beyond health to address social and economic determinants – malnutrition, alcohol abuse, poor housing, indoor air pollution and poverty, among others.