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Parliamentarians and activists from across the world gather to combat maternal and newborn deaths

Influential women from all over the globe have come together in London* to urge the world to redouble efforts and boost investments to reduce the global burden of maternal and newborn death. The policy makers and parliamentarians from developing and developed countries are meeting to mark UK Mother's Day on Sunday, 18 March.

Key participants include Cherie Blair, wife of the UK Prime Minister and international lawyer, Hilary Benn, MP, Secretary of State, Department for International Development, UK, Liya Kebede, Supermodel and World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and the First Lady of Lesotho, Mrs Mathato S. Mosisilli.

Every minute, somewhere in the world a mother dies from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Each year, four million babies die within their first 28 days of life and another 3.3 million are stillborn. Millions of lives could be saved using the knowledge we have today. The challenge is to transform this knowledge into action.

A Global Plan of Action agreed at the meeting calls for a universal right to health for mothers and their babies by ensuring skilled care at every birth, active community involvement, global monitoring networks, and better infrastructure including roads, transport and human resources. The plan calls on governments to take the lead in fighting maternal and newborn illness and death.

Members of Parliament from countries including, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Tajikistan will gather to pledge commitments and to honour this day by recognizing the importance of mothers -- women who have a great impact on our lives.

"Whether you have a mother or whether you are one, think about the task of being a mother - nurturing a child, working, raising a family and keeping yourself healthy," says World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador Liya Kebede. "So many mothers across the globe don't have access to basic health needs and many are deprived of skilled care before, during and after birth."

Make your Mother's Day, Every Day.

* Meeting of Women Parliamentarians on Maternal and Newborn Health and Survival
House of Commons, London, United Kingdom, 13-14 March 2007
Co-organized by: The World Health Organization, The Commonwealth Secretariat, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Hosted by Sally Keeble, MP

For more information, please contact:

In London:
Tala Dowlatshahi
Communications Officer
Making Pregnancy Safer
Mobile:+ 41 79 449 5784

In Geneva:
Christopher Powell
Communications Adviser
Family and Community Health
Tel.: +41 22 791 2888
Mobile: +41 79 217 3425