Wayyy too salty

We are wayyy, wayy too salty in the Caribbean. And I don’t mean that in a colloquial sense. I mean it in a we consume wayyyy too much salt sort of a way and it is sending many of us into an early grave while wreaking havoc on our bodies and finances along the way.

I myself am no exception. Daily I do battle with consuming salty treats while reminding myself to imbibe on, you guessed it … ‘wata’, aka water, aka agua, aka l’ eau.

Most days I feel I win the battle; at least that is the story I tell myself. Earlier today, I was reminded of the need to stay the course while holding firm to my seat on the ‘Cut Back on the Salt’ wagon.

The occasion was the regional workshop on strategies to reduce salt consumption for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean.

It is being hosted by the Caribbean Public Health Agency in conjunction with the Ministry of Health & Wellness here in Jamaica; the Ministry of Health, Grenada; and the Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago.

From the reduction of salt consumption workshop. (Photo: Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica)
From the reduction of salt consumption workshop. (Photo: Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica)

There, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton called to mind some eye-opening statistics, based in the findings of the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey for 2016/2017.

Dr. Tufton on the floor at the workshop. (Photo: Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica)
  • 1 in 3 Jamaicans are hypertensive – 35.8% women and 31.7% men. Deep breath.
  • Four out of every 10 of us with hypertension are unaware of our status – 60% men and 26% women. Say what now?!!!!
  • More and more Jamaicans aged 15 to 74 years old are developing hypertension. In 2017, 31.5% of persons in this age group had high blood pressure compared to 20.9% in 2001. Gasp.

What is more, this is not only a Jamaica problem; it is also a regional problem.

Quite a part from the scope of the challenge reflected in it being a regional problem is that fact it also represents an opportunity; an opportunity to bring to bear our collective resources to benefit the greater good of the region: public health. The Minister himself advanced the need for collaboration among a wide cross-section of stakeholders.

What is more, we have things like the Caribbean Cooperation in Health Mechanism to aid us in our efforts and some global targets, to say nothing of the benefit to the population in the way of wellness – physical, mental, emotional, and financial – as incentives.

As the 2009 Policy Statement from the PAHO/WHO Regional Expert Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Reduction tells us, ‘Reducing salt consumption population-wide is one of the most cost-effective measures available to public health. It can lower the rates of a number of related chronic diseases and conditions at an estimated cost of between US$0.04 and US$0.32 per person per year’,” Tufton said.

“The economic benefit of action today is also reflected in the 2018 Investment Case for NCDs in Jamaica, which projects that the economy stands to benefit to the tune of more than 77 billion Jamaican dollars over a 15-year period (2017-2030) from investing in a package of interventions for tobacco, alcohol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” he added.

From the regional workshop. (Photo: Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica)

Now for a few interesting or perhaps inspiring (coercive even?) facts.

  1. There is a distinction to be made between salt and sodium. One is a component of the other. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
  2. The World Health Organisation recommends 5 grams of salt daily and 2 grams of sodium.
  3. Increasing blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death globally and the second leading risk for disability by causing heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Had enough?

Salt, I mean.

I hope so.


Flu Alert, Jamaica

Jamaica has been been put on alert for influenza, known more commonly as “the flu”.

In the public health interest, I take the opportunity to share the media release distributed by the Ministry of Health on the subject on February 12, following the Health Minister’s appearance before Parliament.

Here are a few key points to note from the press release, which follows.

  1. The flu is spread from person to person, primarily by coughing, sneezing and through close contact.
  2. Flu is highly contagious. It is vital that you take precautions to prevent its spread – from frequently washing hands with soap and water to coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying at home in the event you become infected.
  3. The flu vaccine is offered free of cost to high-risk groups, details of which are provided in the press release below.


Jamaica on Flu Alert

Kingston, Jamaica. 12 February 2019. Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton has put the island on alert for influenza (the “flu”), noting a significant increase in the number of cases of fever and respiratory or flu-like illnesses.

Flu is an acute viral infection that spreads easily from person to person, mainly by coughing, sneezing and through close contact. The viruses circulate worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group with symptoms varying by age and include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose.

“Mr. Speaker, we wish to advise this honourable house and the members of the public that the flu is to be taken seriously, as it can lead to pneumonia and blood infections, and cause diarrhoea and seizures in children. The flu can also worsen chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease,” Minister Tufton told Parliament in a statement on the subject on Tuesday afternoon (Feb 12, 2019).

Persons at highest risk of dangerous complications from the flu are infants and young children, adults 60 years and older, pregnant women, and persons with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems.

“Mr. Speaker, in preparation for this flu season, a total of 21,900 doses of Influenza vaccine were purchased by the Ministry of Health through the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) Revolving Fund for Vaccines and distributed to parish health departments in late October 2018. Vaccination of target groups commenced in November 2018,” the minister noted.

The vaccine is offered free of cost in the public health system to the following high-priority groups:

  • Healthcare workers;
  • Children and elderly with chronic illnesses;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Individuals who are institutionalised or in state care; and
  • Non-health frontline workers.

Private health care providers are encouraged to procure the influenza vaccine through private distributors in order to provide for the general population.

By activating the protocols for an alert status for Fever and Respiratory (Influenza-like) Illness, the Ministry of Health will immediately:

  • enhance its public education campaign to reinforce good hand hygiene and emphasize respiratory etiquette;
  • activate enhanced infection control programme in hospitals and health facilities for preventing, controlling and investigating communicable diseases;
  • increase stocks of medication in hospitals and health facilities to respond to increase in the number of persons hospitalised;
  • continue and expand the extended opening hours at health centres to provide access to at-risk populations to include the elderly and children under 5 years; and
  • continue implementation of overcrowding management plans for major hospitals.

“Mr. Speaker, the implications of this increase in the number of cases of the flu will mean that members of the public will experience longer waiting times at public health facilities. We crave their indulgence, as we seek to ensure that all those who visit our facilities receive care,” Tufton said.

“At the same time, we strongly encourage members of the public to practice good hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water; and covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing,” he added.

For more information, you can contact the Ministry of Health at 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683).

At the sound of NCDS … My heart beats just a bit faster

I have been too long gone from my blog, but, as with my running, absence does make my heart grow fonder. ‘The bug’ has hit and I have to go for it … And NOW, despite already long hours spent at a computer today.

On this occasion, I am turning my attention to public health and letting loose on NCDs. Yes, you know, Non-communicable Diseases, aka, ‘the silent killers’.

Honestly, the data reflecting the scale of the challenge to Jamaica from hypertension, cancer and diabetes – to name a few NCDs – is more than eyebrow raising.

My heart beats just a little bit faster at these numbers:

  • 1 in 3 Jamaicans have hypertension.
  • 1 in 8 Jamaicans have diabetes.
  • 4 of every 10 Jamaicans with either of these diseases are unaware of their status.

This is according to the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (JHLS) 2016-2017.

And then there is overweight/obesity, a known modifiable risk factor for the development of NCDs, including the two named above. The data tells us that 1 in 2 Jamaicans are overweight or obese.

To put things squarely into perspective, seven out of every 10 Jamaicans die from a NCD each year.

Alarmed anyone? Well, one COULD be, but one does not NEED to be. The statistics are a #WakeUp call. The beauty about a #WakeUp call is, unlike an alarm clock, you cannot simply hit the ‘off’ button and then roll over in bed under your warm blanket … Not usually anyway.

When the wake up call comes, I (face on the right) am not always minded to get up. But then I remember the face on the left and I get moving.

With a #WakeUp call, you have a voice at the other end, asking, ‘Are you sure you’re awake?’ And this, having already announced, ‘This is your #WakeUp call’.

The team at Jamaica’s Ministry of Health is that voice at the other end. And they are doing a lot to see that we all wake up.

I know you have heard of Jamaica MovesRestrictions on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Schools; the Taking Responsibility Road Tour … Indeed, you have.

These are efforts that encourage us to really #WakeUp. Translation? Get your health checked; get moving and get to adjusting your diet to include more water, less sugar, and certainly less salt … A little at a time, a day at a time.

Yeah, now, I’m up.

This is nothing that is going to be achieved overnight, but we must get it done. ‘1 in 3’, ‘1 in 8’, ‘1 in 2’, and ‘7 of 10’ dictate that we must.

In the wake of the Big ‘C’

Writing in December on the Big C, I was at least half way convinced that my friend, Jan — I can write her name now — would, by some miracle, have beat the dreaded disease. She didn’t. And I am compelled, daily, to face that.


It is said that there are five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I  don’t know where I am at the moment. I feel like a pendulum, suspended and swinging from one to the other — today in denial, convinced I need only pick up the phone to hear her at the other end; and tomorrow, accepting, barely, that there is no such option.

Jan & Rayne
Jan with my daughter Rayne.

Now close to seven months since her death,  I am convinced it will be some time yet before I can truly accept that Jan is gone and, critically, that she won’t be back — not in the way that my human consciousness would like her to be — and I must, as my husband and I did with Alexandra, continue the onward march that is life.

Jan, Raynor & Raynor
Jan (right) with my husband and I some years ago.

The thing is, if I am honest, Jan would have it no other way. Her lasting gift to me, after all, was the reminder to LIVE and to live well and in purpose, God’s purpose.

Hopping the maternal, child health bandwagon

MNIH_VJH_April 11
Linnette Vassell (centre), advocacy specialist on the European Union-funded “Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health in Jamaica” project leads a discussion on maternal health and rights at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on April 11.

It’s been a few days since the celebration of International Day for Maternal Health and Rights on April 11.

Still, with maternal deaths at 89 per 100,000 live births up to 2015, compared to 79 per 100,000 in 1990, what is a few days late in helping to draw attention to this day and its value? Certainly it matters, if to no one else, then to the families of women who lose their lives in pregnancy and childbirth each year or who, even as I write, are at highest risk of death and/or compromised health.

I am using this space, therefore, to share a statement from the ‘Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health in Jamaica’ project.

This three-year project is being implemented as part of the European Union-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) and aims to, among other things, enhance the capacity of civil society organisations to advocate for maternal and child health and rights, and to effectively participate in healthcare planning and monitoring.

Brown & Thompson_Nov 29
Research assistant on the patients’ rights project Casine Brown (left) and Dr Eulalee Thompson, the project’s curriculum development specialist, in discussion at the November 29, 2017 workshop on patients’ rights held in Kingston. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)

Among the planned outputs of the project are a civil society consultative forum, a charter of patients’ rights and an agreed complaints and redress system.

Below is the statement issued by project implementing partners, the University of the West Indies Department of Community Health and Psychiatry and the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre.


KINGSTON, Jamaica. 12 April 2018

As Jamaicans we are known to refer to each other as ‘wagonists’, particularly when it comes to the performance of their sports stars, who, while loved, do not always enjoy their favour.

For International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, celebrated each year on April 11, we are counting on that label to begin the conversation on the plight of our women and girls when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.

The goal is to have individuals and organisations transformed into advocates for maternal and child health and rights, as we remain on the wagon to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, which has among its targets the reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

From hypertension to unsafe abortions, together with heart disease and sickle cell disease, among other illnesses, Jamaican women and girls continue to die in pregnancy and childbirth. The result is that the island’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) stood at 89 per 100,000 live births in 2015. That 2015 figure represents a worsening of the health outcomes for pregnant women and girls when compared to 1990 when it was 79 per 100,000 live births.

It is against this background that the ‘Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health’ project has taken the time to get behind the celebration of International Day for Maternal Heath and Rights, and calls on other Jamaicans, from the Government to the private sector and civil society, to offer their own support to the day and to champion the cause of maternal and child health and rights.

The International Day for Maternal Health and Rights was launched in 2014 by the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and other global sexual and reproductive health and rights organisations, who continue to work towards its official endorsement by the United Nations. Meanwhile, support for the day continues to grow.

To have the day recognised in Jamaica, we feel, presents a number of benefits, not the least of which is a vehicle to bring public attention to issues of maternal health and rights in Jamaica, since it is at the point of awareness that the labour for change begins. As citizens, we must, of necessity, understand that there is something that needs to be changed before we can become invested in the effort toward it.

This awareness can then be amplified by a national discourse on the subject, one that can be engaged in among and between different stakeholders, from patients, their families and local communities to healthcare providers, policymakers and members of industry, as well as international development partners.

The recognition of the day can also help to set the stage for the sustainability of the current efforts to improve maternal and child health outcomes. These efforts include the European Union-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality, of which the ‘Partnership for the Promotion of Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health in Jamaica’ project is one component.

Launched in April last year (2017), that component of the work – implemented jointly by the University of the West Indies Department of Community Health and Psychiatry and the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre – is focused on advocacy for the human rights approach to the delivery and receipt of maternal and child healthcare, and to improve the role and effectiveness of civil society in addressing this goal.

Further, local recognition of the day may serve the island’s brand as one committed to maternal and child health, anchored in the human rights approach to patients’ care. This approach sees respect accorded to each actor in the care provider-patient relationship, as rights such as the right to informed consent to treatment, as well as to privacy and confidentiality are upheld.

Come join the bandwagon!



The Press for Progress: International Women’s Day 2018


It’s been close to 20 days since we celebrated International Women’s Day 2018 on March 8, under the theme “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”, and with the call to action #PressForProgress.

In paying homage to that theme and in responding to the call, The Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), a non-profit established 30 years ago, recognised the work of five phenomenol women who have worked tirelessly and for decades, in the interest of community development.

Green Seeds takes the time to share this story, in hopes that the light of these women will shine well beyond its current reach, inspiring others among us.


IWD Yeza
‘Nuh trouble wi!’

“Nuh trouble wi, leave di women alone”

WROC hosts International Women’s Day Forum and 35th Anniversary Awards Luncheon

The Women’s Resource & Outreach Centre recognised five (5) women from the Lyndhurst/Greenwich Community on International Women’s Day for their outstanding contribution to community development and nation building.

IWD 2018 awardees
The winners.

The women recognised were:

  1. Joy Matthews, who has dedicated her life to community development, youth and peace advocacy for over 27 years;
  2. Sister Grace Yapp, a member of the Franciscan Ministries, who has worked in numerous communities across Jamaica for over 30 years, providing upliftment and support to Jamaicans in need;
  3. Joyce Linton, who has has worked through the Lyndhurst Methodist Church to help the Community of Lyndhurst/Greenwich;
  4. June Barnes Lewis, who has taken a leadership role in promoting participation in representational politics while working to ensure her community receives the maximum benefits accorded them by the Government; and
  5. Agatha Lewis, who has dedicated 15 years of her life to working with WROC, sticking with the organisation through thick and thin, in service to residents of surrounding communities.

“Community work: I sleep it, I walk it, I dream about it, and today I say thank you,” noted Barnes Lewis, after receiving her award.

The other women shared her sentiments.

Matthews was moved to tears by the recognition and encouraged WROC to continue its work.

“Mi haffi big up WROC fi dem initiatives weh mek mi so powerful as a community mobiliser,” she said tearfully.

The celebration was held at the Lyndhurst Methodist Church, where more than 60 women from the Lyndhurst/Greenwich community gathered to “reason”.

Linnette Vassell
Linnette Vassell

Advocacy specialist and a founding member of WROC, Linnette Vassell, asked the women to reflect on leadership within their homes as this will then reflect on how they lead in the society.

The discussion called for an end to issues that not only these women face on a daily basis, but those which also affect women around the world, such as domestic abuse, disrespect, rape, injustice and inequality.

This day’s activity was funded by National Integrity Action, under the “Strengthening a Culture of Integrity in Jamaica” project. It was one in a series of events planned by WROC to celebrate women throughout the month of March.


For more information please contact Ms. Onica Grannum at 929-8873 or via e-mail at wroccommunications@gmail.com and/or Ms. Marsha Grant at 839-6544 or via email at kymanie25@gmail.com.



Reflections on the Big ‘C’: The words

My life changed a year ago, with the news that one of my best friends has cancer.

With just two words — delivered over the phone in one of our routine evening chats — I began to take a different view of the world.

The words? ‘It’s cancer’.

In the typical style of girlfriends, my friend, who I will call ‘M’ — a woman with a heart of gold, the workaholic tendencies of a true feminist and eclectic tastes of one of life’s true creative types — had kept us abreast of all the symptoms of illness, from a swollen stomach to pain that seemed to never go away.

Life changes when you know someone with cancer. Photo: http://makambaonline.com/index.php/2016/11/24/7-mistakes-avoid-life/#.WkQTlFWnHIU

We, her friends, were also kept in the loop regarding the battery of tests performed to get to the bottom of her ailment. Through it all, I — we, I think — never for a moment considered cancer. But I suppose no-one ever does; no-one ever wants to.

And then the words.

Up to that point, cancer — outside of the stories I had heard or read — had really meant little to me. I know that now.

Yes, I felt sympathy for those who I understood to live with the disease and for the families of those who had died because of it.

Yes, I was moved to participate in cancer runs.

Yes, I had worn the pink ribbon over the years.

But it had never saturated my consciousness.

After the words, I no longer sit in a safe zone, isolated from cancer’s brutality, the sheer power of the blows it deals — and not only to the body of the people waging war against the physical toll it can take, but also to your dreams, to your ideas about who you are and what you are capable of achieving.

I get it now; cancer is a cancer.

Stop cancer_filipefrazao_Thinkstock
Photo: filipefrazao/Thinkstock as cited by https://www.health.harvard.edu/cancer/the-family-history-of-cancer

After months of the experience, I find myself at a crossroads.

Yes, my friend is alive.

Yes, I am extremely grateful for this.

I am also compelled to write for write I must — or burst at the seams from equal parts anger and extreme sadness.



High praise for workshop on maternal, child health  

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

These words by Eleanor Roosevelt are especially powerful as I take stock of a recent workshop to raise awareness about the human rights linkages to maternal, and child health in Jamaica — one that has won the praise of civil society and public sector stakeholders alike.

MNIH Coleman Nov 29
Alisha Coleman (left) and another participant at the recent patients’ rights workshop give their attention to the issues under discussion. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)

They include Alisha Coleman, the mother whose child was reportedly left with the mental capacity of a baby due to medical negligence and for which the assessment of legal damages is now set for next year.

“It is important to know your rights and to know where you stand with everything and to find out the best way to deal with whatever you are going through. It is good to know and workshops like these make you know,” she said from the event, staged at Alhambra Inn in Kingston on November 29.

The discussions were timely, coming as they did only days ahead of International Human Rights Day, celebrated globally on December 10 each year.

Meanwhile, the workshop — which looked at rights, including the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health — was put on under the European Union-funded project titled “Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health (MNIH)” in Jamaica.

Brown & Thompson_Nov 29
Research assistant on the patients’ rights project Casine Brown (left) and Dr. Eulalee Thompson, the project’s curriculum development specialist, in discussion at the recent workshop on patients’ rights held in Kingston. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)

Implemented by the University of the West Indies’ (UWI’s) Department of Community Health and Psychiatry and the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre, the project is to strengthen patients’ rights and improve the role and effectiveness of civil society in advocacy for MNIH.

This is to be achieved through, among other things, research, the establishment of an inter-civil society organisation consultative forum and an agreed framework to receive and resolve complaints.

Judith Wedderburn_Nov 29
Judith Wedderburn on the floor at the Nov 29 workshop on patients’ rights. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)

Gender and development advocate Judith Wedderburn lauded the organisation for the workshop, which brought together entities such as the Ministry of Health and the Child Development Agency with others, including Caribbean Vulnerable Communities, Fathers United for Change and the Lyndhurst Greenwich District Development Organisation.

“I loved how vibrant the discussions were. It reinforced the understanding that maternal, neonatal and infant health are rights issues. I don’t think many people know that when a woman carries her baby and the baby is born, that there are rights that need to be observed,” she said.


Maternal, newborn & infant health: A fresh look

There is a movement afoot in Jamaica, one designed to have people look with fresh eyes and through a human rights lens, at the health of women, their newborns and infants.

It is being marshalled by the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre and partners, the University of the West Indies’ Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, with their efforts entailed under the project titled “Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health in Jamaica”.

MNIH Coleman Nov 29
Stakeholders at a November 29 workshop on patients’ rights in Jamaica, held at Alhambra Inn in Kingston. The workshop, hosted under the “Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in #MNIH in Jamaica” project, brought together a variety of actors, toward the promotion of collaboration on the issue of patients’ rights. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)


There are a range of human rights “directly implicated” by maternal morbidity and mortality, including:

  • the right to life;
  • the right to be free from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment;
  • the right to privacy;
  • the right to an effective remedy;
  • the right to be equal in dignity;
  • the right to education;
  • the right to seek, receive and impart information;
  • the right to freedom from discrimination;
  • the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress; and
  • the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health.

The rights-based approach to MNIH also affirms that maternal, newborn and infant morbidity and mortality cannot be reduced to simply the risk women and teenage girls run when, whether by choice or circumstance, they become pregnant.

Rather, states are obligated to ensure, by virtue of the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health, as one example, that maternal morbidity and mortality is given priority.

IMG_4020 (1)
Advocacy specialist with the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre Linnette Vassell and Professor Wendel Abel of the U.W.I. Department of Community Health and Psychiatry lead a discussion at the November 29 workshop on patients’ rights in Jamaica. (Photo: Aldeno Stewart)

The promotion and protection of this right, according to Paul Hunt and Judith Bueno de Mezquita (2010), “demands actions that lead to a significant and sustained reduction in maternal mortality”.

Those actions include:

  • ensuring access to goods and services, including sexual and reproductive health care and information;
  • breaking down political, economic, social and cultural barriers that women face in accessing the interventions that can prevent maternal mortality; and
  • participation by stakeholders in policy and service development.

“And it requires accountability for maternal mortality,” write Hunt and Bueno de Mezquita.

The WROC/UWI project is intended to spotlight these rights when it comes to #MNIH in Jamaica. This is with the goals to

  • strengthen patients’ rights in #MNIH among members of the vulnerable population and other stakeholders, and
  • enhance the capacity of civil society organisations to become involved in patients’ rights advocacy and health policy planning and monitoring, in relation to #MNIH.

The project team is working to realise those objectives through a variety of activities, including stakeholder consultations, the development of an advocacy plan and toolkit, and the development of curricula and training manuals, together with a public education and awareness campaign.

The 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, meanwhile, has adopted the resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights.

In that resolution, the Council urged all states “to renew their political commitment to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity at the local, national, regional and international levels; and to strengthen their efforts to address multiple and intersecting inequalities and to remove all barriers” to access to sexual and reproductive health facilities, etc..

This, in order “to ensure full and effective implementation of their human rights obligations”, and their commitments to, for example, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development  and the Sustainable Development Goals.

With some 216,000 per 100,000 women dying globally each year; 43 children under 5 per 1,000 and 19 per 1,000 newborns, it is past time that we stepped up those efforts.



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