Reducing Maternal Mortality: Roles for Faith-Linked Institutions and Communities

Author: Katherine Marshall

January 1, 2013

Religious institutions and leaders can and should contribute more directly to global and national efforts to address shockingly high levels of maternal mortality in the poorest countries. There is untapped potential for better partnerships. Areas for attention include: a greater focus on faith-run health facilities, efforts to address specific cultural and attitude threats to maternal health; and advocacy for action and priority to the topic in political arenas. Impediments include poor knowledge about actual and potential work of faith-inspired organizations, poor coordination of programs (public and private), and mistrust fueled by negative preconceptions that arise in part from polarized positions on reproductive health and gender equality. This brief highlights potential areas for dialogue and action that build on common concern for families and social justice. It draws on the Georgetown University Berkley Center/World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) 2011 review of faith and maternal health.

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