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"It always seems impossible, until it’s done.”
“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela’s words continue to give me hope when I think about the long road ahead to improving maternal health and reducing child mortality around the world. Poor maternal, infant, and child health remain significant global health problems facing low- and middle-income countries today. India and Nigeria alone account for more than 30% of maternal deaths globally. It’s these stark realities that force us to recognize the need for a global effort in order to achieve progress.
We know that the spread of mobile technology in developing countries has been dramatic. In fact, the mobile penetration in India and in Nigeria is almost 70%. The opportunity to reach more mothers through their mobile phones holds extreme promise that has not gone unnoticed by MAMA or the global health community at large. However, the technology is not the magic cure on its own. In order for the potential to be fully realized, it will require collective expertise.
Partnerships are key in addressing this crisis and on my recent trip to Nigeria, I saw first-hand how this awareness has moved to direct action across sectors. I met organizations with different backgrounds, missions and goals, all sitting at the same table to have honest conversations about the barriers of working together and how to overcome them. It was amazing to see not the differences but the similarities between the organizations in the motivations for being involved in maternal health. We all came to the consensus that partnerships are essential to this work.
This is a complex issue and we couldn’t possibly approach it alone. In order to meet this challenge, it calls for bringing together the key stakeholders that hold necessary pieces of knowledge. From the Ministry of Health, to the international non-governmental organizations, to local implementers, we each uniquely bring a perspective and needed skill that is essential to providing more women access to critical health information. I’m excited to work with these valuable partners in addressing the maternal health need in India and Nigeria moving forward, and know that together, we will make an impact.
Yes, at times it seems impossible. Working together is not without its challenges, but I am inspired to see how these cross-sector partnerships have come together, because in the end we are all fellow global citizens who want to provide people around the world the same chances for life and happiness.