The moment when a mother sees her newborn baby for the first time is a joyous, special occasion. However, sometimes there are instances when that special moment is followed by uncertainty and pain. As a volunteer for Operation Smile, I have experienced the joy and the heartbreak that comes with this type of work.
While motherhood is one of life's greatest joys, it can also lead to tragedy. It is vital that we redouble our efforts to make child bearing and rearing safer. As a global community, we all need to join together to determine what else we can be doing to make sure that women are able to see their children grow up.
Ever since I was a young girl, I've wanted to help Haiti. During my time at medical school in Haiti, and when studying for my master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University, I knew I wanted to return to my country and help residents get the healthcare they needed. And, as a mother of two, I recognize children's healthcare as exceptionally important.
Until I met Mariama, ten years after her agonizing delivery, I had never heard of vesicovaginal fistula (VVF). That's because in the United States, stories like hers haven't been told in more than 100 years. Today, VVF keeps company with obsoletes like smallpox and polio in the shadows of Western medicine, where its symptoms are referenced in the past tense. But in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, more than 2 million women still suffer from the condition.
Johnson & Johnson is partnering with (RED) to raise awareness of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to unlock up to $100,000 for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS. Each like, tweet or pin of this infographic gets us $1 closer to keeping HIV-positive mothers alive and helping to ensure that their children are born healthy and HIV-free.
If I really stop and think about it, water has been an important part of my life ever since my conception. Inside my mom's womb, it was part of what nourished me. As I entered the world, it helped ensure a hygienic delivery. It was part of my baptism. It was a source of limitless childhood fun. Today it defines my days.
I am a lucky mom. Many moms in developing countries aren't so lucky. In fact, children in an alarming number of countries do not get the nutrition they need from pregnancy to their 2nd birthday-the critical window for ensuring healthy growth and development -according to Save the Children's 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report released today.