In reading the article by Shiffman and Smith that was on our course reserves it reminded me of our discussion about getting a political group in place solely for advocating on the behalf of women and their maternal needs. Having a focused group that would be there in place just for policies that would benefit mothers and potential mothers will be a step in the right direction. That said, there is one point of discussion that Smith and Shiffman express in their articles that I found to be disappointing. In the article the two address why certain global health initiatives receive more attention and success then others. They break down the reasons down to 4 distinct categories for frameworks on determinants of political priority. One of the categories mentioned is Actors, otherwise known as the strength of individuals or organizations concerned with the issues. For safe motherhood the actors are of course the mothers and mothers to-be. However these women globally do not have much political power locally or globally. Another thing mentioned was that there is no historic or powerful organization that behaves as an actor when it comes to safe motherhood. I had to ponder this notion, and I was not able to think of any large over aching entity or institution that has advocated for safe motherhood. There are NGO’s and community organizations certainly, but no big well known name putting mothers on their list of things to be concerned about globally. With that stated, I am just wondering what kind of company/organization could you all see fit to take the issue of safe motherhood and make it a global priority? Do you think that it is even possible with just one?
I agree that this is something that needs to be better supported and, yes, we could always use a strong leader in the fight to improve maternal health. I do, however, think that having “improve maternal health” as one of the Millennium Development Goals has helped to draw attention to the crisis of maternal health. As well, this is something that many organizations do focus on, but it can be complicated because it infiltrates in to so many other areas of need (epidemics, refugees, prisons, education, etc)–many that we have focused on in class. How do we as a global community encourage others to step back and realize that focusing on maternal health might avoid other problems that come as a result? How can we place emphasis on something that can’t be quickly fixed or that has a simple solution? I think its the fact that these questions are so hard to answer that makes the situation so complex.