We United Methodist Women of West Ohio voted unanimously to partner with the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet project, an initiative of the General Board of Church & Society in Washington, D.C. Since January 2010 the project has sought to build a base of United Methodist support for increased U.S. funding for global maternal health and family planning programs, and we were invited to be one of those partners. More than 215 million women around the world would like to delay or prevent pregnancy, but have no means of doing so. Healthy Families, Healthy Planet is working to close that gap of unmet need.
Every 90 seconds somewhere in the world a woman dies from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in the developing world. If every woman who wanted family planning had access to it, maternal mortality would drop by a third. That’s because family planning is a critical component of achieving the healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy (HTSP). When a woman waits at least two years after the birth of her last child before becoming pregnant again, she is nearly four times less likely to miscarry, three times less likely to die during childbirth, and twice less likely to have low birth weight baby or a pre-term birth.
Katey Zeh, project coordinator for Healthy Families, Healthy Planet attended the 2011 West Ohio Cooperative School of Christian Mission and led several enrichment sessions on maternal health. She also spoke at the November Annual Celebration. She urged those present to contact their elected officials about increasing funding for programs that improve maternal health around the world. You can easily contact your representatives by sending an online letter on the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet website (www.umchealthyfamilies.org).
If you are interested in learning more about the project, or if you are interested in having Katey speak to your local congregation or unit at no cost to your local unit or church, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 704-604-6770.