While you read this, another new mother will die

WE often take for granted the much maligned but ultimately indispensable service the NHS has provided for the United Kingdom. To mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS, Oxfam and parenting website mumsnet.com have launched a new initiative to document memor

WE often take for granted the much maligned but ultimately indispensable service the NHS has provided for the United Kingdom. To mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS, Oxfam and parenting website mumsnet.com have launched a new initiative to document memories of childbirth in the UK before access to healthcare became universal.

Maternal mortality in the UK 60 years ago was more than 13 times higher than the present day, in large part because thousands of women were unable to access the healthcare they needed in pregnancy and childbirth.

Today millions of women in poor countries across the world are dying for exactly the same reason - lack of access to healthcare.

In the next minute, this will claim the life of another mum. This year, half a million mums will die because of poorly-equipped hospitals, or because they can't afford to pay health care fees.


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The call for memories is part of Oxfam's campaign to help reduce the number of women who die needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth.

If readers have a story about childbirth in the UK before the NHS, please phone Sarah Blakemore on 0113 3944293/0778660496.

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You can also e-mail her at sblakemore@oxfam.org.uk, or write to Oxfam Campaigns, 47 Park Square East, Leeds, LS1 2NL.

Jonathan Leith

Oxfam London & South East

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