I was glad to read the announcement
made by World Bank President, Dr. Jim Kim, at the start of this year’s UN General Assembly meetings, about the Bank’s projected financing support through the end of 2015 to help developing countries reach the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) for women and children’s health. As we move toward the culmination of the MDGs in 2015 and beyond, preventing maternal and child deaths should be seen by all government delegations and their partners in the international development community as a clear yardstick to measure their commitment for creating more just and inclusive societies.
But as evidence has shown across the globe, to effectively address the insidiousness of this challenge, a broad multi-sectoral paradigm for action is needed. In some countries, particularly in resource-poor settings and among certain population groups, there are social and cultural norms that need to be better understood to deal with myths and misconceptions surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and proper care of the newborn. There are also geographical barriers, as in rural communities high in the Andean mountains of my native Ecuador, or in the Caucasus mountain range in Georgia and Azerbaijan, where the poor state of roads in a challenging terrain, or the unavailability of transport to a health facility, contribute to preventable maternal deaths.