MDG 5: Improving Maternal Health


 At the GBC Impact Conference earlier this month, Sarah Brown, the global patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood made a statement to urge businesses to help in the fight for maternal health.  This follow-up blog post is to shed some light on this particular Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) and share some innovations and interventions I have learned in recent months.

*Premise: The lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth in Africa is 1 in 22, while it is 1 in 120 in Asia and 1 in 7,300 in developed countries.

The White Ribbon Alliance is an international coalition which pushes for change to make childbirth safe for women and newborns. It has 15 national alliance organizations and is a growing global movement in 152 countries, amplifying the voices of women in areas where they have been traditionally ignored. Join in your country!

Women Deliver works globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling MDG 5.  This organization further pushes the agenda in that investment in women pays in spades for global development and economic opportunity for all.  If the World Bank asserts investment in girls’ education is the best buy against poverty, then let’s ensure women live.

Muskoka Initiative – Launched at the June 2010 Canada-hosted G8 Summit, the new partnership focuses on maternal, newborn and child health. The initiative mobilized $7.3 billion commitment from 2010-2015 for MDG5.

Now, after clicking and learning about the first two advocacy organizations and then learning the shift in political will from the G8 summit  – wonder what action can individuals/organizations take?

Check out Maternova – a global portal that showcases tools and ideas that save mothers and newborns. Why I like this organization: – it recognizes the problem of the status quo, it tracks innovations, packs and sells low-cost tools for front line health works and also maps maternal health facilities. It “maximizes resources and empowers efforts” for all stakeholders in MDG5.

For interested scientists and technology innovation fans: check out Maternova’s database of health innovations (adaptable for variety of contexts/environments).

For social enterprise fans, love that this entrepreneurial organization is backed by social venture capital!

Social Venture Partners Rhode Island

S.E.VEN Fund

& Foundation funding from MacArthur Foundation

Public-private mix of funding and two streams of revenue-generating income makes me think Maternova can genuinely scale and be sustainable in the efforts of MDG 5.  Nice example of business model innovation. Kudos.

Please add any other MDG5 Advocacy campaigns/organizations as a link below and any individuals/organizations with a proactive and innovative response to help progress maternal health.


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