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Friends of White Ribbon Alliance for South Asia Launch

The News

June 2, 2014
Islamabad, Pakistan - The Friends of White Ribbon Alliance (FWRA) for South Asia, a new coalition that seeks to promote maternal health care in Pakistan, will be launched here today (Friday).This is a new alliance between the government and a new civil society group, Friends of White Ribbon Alliance.

In Pakistan, 40 mothers die each day in childbirth. In Islamabad, six mothers die each month from preventable causes. Failure to provide quality services results in avoidable deaths of mothers and newborns, as well as serious health problems for both. In spite of institutional deliveries implemented, there has not been a decrease in infant and maternal mortality.

The launch aims to raise awareness of maternal and neonatal mortality, to call on the government, members of civil society, multilaterals, and diplomatic missions to advocate for women’s health, and to help reduce the numbers of women who die during childbirth.

FWRA South Asia is created by its Global Headquarters’ in Washington. Dr. Ghazna Siddiqui leads the initiative in South Asia and she emphasises the need for Pakistan to elevate the status of women through education, health and empowerment. Quoting Mahummed Fathulla, the ex-president of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, she said, “Women do not die of diseases that we are unable to treat, they die because society has yet to discover their lives are worth saving.”

The White Ribbon Alliance is a global group of health care workers advocating for maternal health and rights of women. Their work focuses on communication for behavioural change and supporting maternal health care projects at grass roots. Friends of White Ribbon Alliance aims to form partnerships with local NGOs to implement programmes, to train health care workers, midwives and doctors to promote health care in Pakistan. Their work will include capacity building.

FWRA aim to work with the government to support grassroots projects which include Sarhad Rural Support Foundation, Real Medicine Foundation and Sahil. Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar will be the chief guest at the event.’ Shahnaz Wazir Ali is the patron of FWRA.

FWRA South Asia will be hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas. The launch in Islamabad coincides with the Muskoko initiative in Canada led by Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper. The Muskoko initiative includes prenatal care, health education and attended childcare birth.

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