This week, PAI sponsored several of our partners from the Global South to attend the Maternal Health Supplies Caucus at the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition annual meeting in Delhi, India. There is no substitute for country voices and we were thrilled to support the participation of country advocates from across Africa and Asia.
The Maternal Health Supplies Caucus was established in 2012 to in part raise the profile of maternal health supplies and facilitate collaborative relationships. One of the clearest messages coming from our partners this week is the need to translate global discussions and initiatives into local action. If the disconnect between the international arena and what happens at the community level persists, women will continue to die, from treatable complications like post-partum hemorrhage and eclampsia. These deaths could be prevented by access to the effective, life-saving supplies of misoprostol, oxytocin and magnesium sulfate.
Here are some reflections from our partners, in their own words:
“What has been important to me in this meeting [MHS Caucus] is learning from countries that have done well in high-level advocacy for maternal health supplies. It has also been critical to learn about experiences of other countries that are similarly struggling. It’s good to be a part of a global community dedicating to promoting these critical supplies.” – Dr. Mwai Makoka, Christian Health Association of Malawi
“Today’s discussion and workplan at the Maternal Health Supplies Caucus show what can be done at the country and RHSC level to influence both family planning and maternal health outcomes. Even though the reproductive and maternal health challenges of South Sudan are enormous, I am encouraged that this can change. It was particularly beneficial to discuss mounting a strategic advocacy agenda and enhancing our capacity to work together.” – Joy Mukaire, Christian Health Association of South Sudan
“There is such a big disconnect between maternal health supplies at the global level, including advocacy and what is happening in the Global South. It is critical that we do something about how advocates from the North and South coordinate around maternal health supplies. This is exactly why opportunities to share are so important and we need to strengthen partnerships with organizations like PAI and PATH.” – Rosemarie Muganda, PATH-Kenya
“The day was great because there were so many champions talking about maternal health supplies. It gave me tremendous encouragement that there is hope for saving the lives of women who die due to the lack of supplies at the point of care.” – Monica Oguttu, Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET)
“The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition’s Maternal Health Supplies Caucus should be made more visible as this is such an important coalition and people need to make use of this resource at the country level. I would love to be more involved in further discussions as this type of information sharing is useful in shaping country programs.” – Dr. Kusum Thapa, Jhpiego-Nepal
“The important thing that I have taken out of this meeting is that there is a gap or missing link between the global advocacy and what is happening at country level. There is need to link the two in order to move at the same level and have a some common goals in meeting the agenda. A lot of advocacy work has been done at the global level and now there is need to ground the work at country level.” – Amos Mwale, Youth Vision Zambia