Torontonians Asked to Stand Up for African Mothers on December 7

Rush-hour blitz of key TTC subway stations draws attention to the unacceptable death rate of African mothers.

TORONTO, December 7, 2012 – Torontonians are being asked to Stand Up for African Mothers on Friday, December 7 to help combat the unacceptably high rate of deaths among moms in Africa.

In 2010 alone, 177,000 women in Africa died in pregnancy or childbirth, accounting for 60 per cent of all maternal deaths worldwide. The lifetime risk of an adult African mother dying in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 39. In Canada, it’s 1 in 5,600.

Spearheaded by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), the leading African public health organization, Stand Up for African Mothers day will take over the Bloor and Queen TTC subway stations during the morning and afternoon rush. Special ads will also be running in elevators in office towers throughout the downtown core. It’s all in an effort to draw attention to the needless deaths of African women during pregnancy and childbirth, and to raise funds to support AMREF’s maternal health work.

“The simple fact is that moms in Africa are dying because they have no trained midwife, birth attendant or doctor to provide care.” -Anne-Marie Kamanye, Executive Director, AMREF Canada

“The simple fact is that moms in Africa are dying because they have no trained midwife, birth attendant or doctor to provide care,” said Anne-Marie Kamanye, Executive Director, AMREF Canada. “AMREF is changing that fact by training thousands of midwives. With support from the people of Toronto, we can train more midwives and save more lives.”

Since its founding 55 years ago, AMREF has trained more than 500,000 health workers. Under its Stand Up for African Mothers global campaign, AMREF is training midwives using both classroom-based training, and electronic and mobile learning.

Through mobile learning, midwives can use their cell phones to remotely access world-class health education, whether they are working in a rural area or a major city. Mobile learning means midwives can continue working in their communities while updating their skills; this is particularly important in rural and remote areas where mothers have limited access to midwives and other health care workers.

Midwives of all levels will be trained in key skills needed to save mothers’ lives, including how to manage common delivery complications, such as excessive bleeding, as well as how to provide mothers with antenatal and postnatal care. They will also be trained to recognize signs of complicated labour and to refer women to better equipped health facilities when necessary.

“No child should be left an orphan and no mother should die to give life.” -Anne-Marie Kamanye, Executive Director, AMREF Canada

“We believe in a future where no woman dies while giving birth and where African women have access to quality care during pregnancy and childbirth,” said Kamanye. “No child should be left an orphan and no mother should die to give life.”

AMREF’s global Stand Up for African Mothers campaign aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015. One midwife can look after 500 women and safely deliver 100 babies every year. Once complete, the Stand up for African Mothers campaign will directly affect about nine million mothers and babies.

Donations to improve the health of African mothers are being accepted at the Bloor and Queen subway stations on Friday, December 7, 2012 as well as online at www.amrefcanada.org.

About AMREF (www.amrefcanada.org@AMREFCanada): Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and with 55 years of experience, AMREF is the leading African public health organization. Recipients of both the Bill and Melinda Gates Award for Global Health and the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, AMREF staff and experts work to improve the health of the most disadvantaged in Africa, advocate for improved health practices and policies while sharing knowledge, materials and expertise with governments, other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international health agencies.

-30-

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact: Jennifer Foulds
AMREF Canada
(416) 961-6981
(647) 771-5815 (cell)

Jennifer Foulds
Director of Communications and Public Relations

Jennifer Foulds is the Director of Communications and Public Relations at AMREF Canada.

Want to interview an Amref Health Africa expert? Get in touch with our Director of Communications and PR, Jennifer Foulds.