Living in Canada, news of a pregnancy is often associated with love, celebration, and the excitement of bringing a new life into the world. Regular checkups take place, baby showers are held, and women and girls have access to the care and resources they need and deserve. However, in developing nations, mothers and their babies are often faced with difficulties and complications that result in death.
The harsh reality is that complications surrounding pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for young women worldwide. Each day more than 800 women and girls die due to these complications, and unfortunately, 99% of these maternal deaths occur in developing nations. Globally, approximately 2 million girls under the age of 15 fall pregnant each year. An additional 2.7 million newborn babies lose their lives each year, equivalent to the population of Toronto.
Issues and Barriers:
In developing countries, young women and girls face numerous barriers and delays to receiving the proper care and resources necessary for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. These barriers include the recognition of complications, the capacity to seek care, available transportation to care, and receiving skilled care from qualified professionals.
The sad truth behind these injustices is entrenched in the inequality of the sexes and the cultural notion that women and girls are subordinate to men. In many parts of the world, women and their bodies are not given the respect and care that they deserve. Unfortunately, this translates over to a lack of access to resources and education, increased gender-based violence, decreased decision-making opportunities, and increased rates of early marriage and pregnancy. Around the world, women are continually denied their reproductive rights and their ability to make decisions about themselves and their bodies. As a result of the injustices they face, they are left unable to make decisions about the timing or amount of children they wish to bring into the world.
Change the Birth Story:
I am very excited to be working with Plan International Canada as one of their Youth Advocates who are working to raise awareness about their Change the Birth Story campaign. Plan is working with 4.7 million people in 5 countries around the world – Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, Nigeria, and Senegal. They are working closely with communities to increase access to resources and care so that women and children can receive proper health services. Additionally, they are engaging entire communities including men and boys to raise awareness about the diverse needs of women, girls, and their male partners. Plan is making a real and lasting impact in the lives of millions of women, girls, and their children around the world.
Your Name has Power:
My role as a Youth Advocate is to educate and inspire the Canadian public to take action on this issue and endorse the meaningful change that Plan is implementing globally. Over the course of this year, I will be collecting 1000 endorsements of support from Canadians across the country. Your name and 60 seconds has the power to amplify this campaign and truly change the birth story in developing countries.
Click HERE to sign your name and help #changethebirthstory!
Thanks for joining me on my journey to change the world!