Below is a guest blog post on maternal mortality by the Pulitzer Center's Kate Steger published this morning on One.org.
The miracle of birth is astonishing, humbling, and wonderful to behold. After witnessing my nephew's delivery, I thought a maternity ward must be the best place in the world to work.
But anyone who works there for long knows that it doesn't always go well. Modern technology and good obstetric training help many in the developed world avoid difficulties during birth, but in the developing world—where health facilities can be difficult to reach, understaffed and lacking in even basic equipment and medicine— delivering a baby can be filled with danger.
Our team at the Pulitzer Center would like to solicit your thoughts, experiences and opinions on maternal health. To do that, we've teamed up with the writers' site Helium to sponsor a writing contest that we hope will prompt a global conversation. The question for the competition is:
"Hundreds of thousands of women die each year due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. What are first steps to making a difference?"
For me, witnessing a birth—even one without complications—was a life-changing experience that's motivated me to raise awareness about maternal mortality issues. I know the collection of essays inspired by this contest will be a powerful voice in that effort and I look forward to reading them.
The deadline for the competition is Thursday, June 24 so make sure to submit your essay right away. All submitted essays will be shown on the Helium and Pulitzer websites and a winner will be selected from the 10 best entries as judged by the Helium community. The winner will receive the Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award and will be announced on Wednesday, July 7.