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Capps to Lead Bipartisan Women's Caucus Congressional Delegation to Represent United States at Women Deliver Conference in London
Date:10/17/2007

Delegation Will Join More Than 1500 World Leaders at Major International Conference on Combating Maternal Mortality

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congresswoman Lois Capps, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, will lead a bipartisan Congressional delegation in representing the United States at the Women Deliver Global Conference on Maternal Mortality. The delegation members, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (CA-32), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4), Congresswoman Donna Christensen (VI), Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10) will join more than 1500 world leaders -- including cabinet ministers, heads of United Nations and other multilateral agencies, senior government officials, health professionals, researchers, economists, and reproductive health advocates -- in a historic conference in London from October 18-20. Conference participants are meeting in an effort to reduce the 500,000 deaths that occur annually due to pregnancy and childbirth.

"I am honored that my colleagues and I will be representing our country at the Women Deliver Conference as we work with nations from around to world to address the serious issue of maternal mortality," said Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. "This is why the Women's Caucus was founded -- to be leaders on issues that affect women and children -- and I can't think of an issue that is more directly related to the wellbeing of women and children than pregnancy and childbirth. People often assume that motherhood is the most natural thing in the world and there's nothing to worry about, but clearly there's something to worry about when a woman dies every minute in childbirth. The challenges and risks of motherhood are universal. They affect every woman, yet the poor are the most vulnerable regardless of where they live. Even women in one of the richest, most powerful nations on earth, the United States, are at risk. Amazingly the United States is ranked 41st in the world in maternal mortality rates, despite having access to the most advanced medical technologies and top experts in healthcare. This is unacceptable! We have to ask ourselves what are these 40 countries doing to better protect the health and wellbeing of their mothers, how can we learn from them and how can we improve conditions throughout the world? We simply have to do better for our mothers and their families, both in the United States and around the world. Common sense measures like improving access to health education and preventive care are effective measures that can make a world of difference. This conference will be the first step as women leaders from around the world come together to tackle this challenging, but solvable, problem."

Despite advances in medical care and technology around the world, motherhood remains a risky endeavor that results in millions of tragic deaths annually. These fatalities are a major factor in persistent global poverty, yet many of these needless deaths could be prevented with effective, low-cost investments in preventive health care and education.

According to analysis by Women Deliver based on a recently released United Nations' study conducted by four key United Nations agencies (WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank) the United States dropped to 41st in the world in the lifetime risk of a women dying in pregnancy or child birth. This significant setback relegates the United States to the lowest ranked industrialized country in terms of lifetime risk to women of reproductive age.

The Women Deliver Conference participants will examine strategies to improve how health information and care are funded and provided as well as address other important issues for women including poverty reduction, women's human rights, and economic development.

The agenda: Five plenary sessions and nearly 100 concurrent workshops at the conference will focus on five critical areas of investment in women and girls:

-- Improving women's and newborn health;

-- Advancing human rights;

-- Expanding financial resources;

-- Building political will; and

-- Promoting women in the world.

The organizers: The conference core planning group includes UNFPA (The UN

Population Fund); UNICEF (The UN Children's Fund); the World Bank; the World Health Organization (WHO); the UK's Department for International Development (DFID); the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); Family Care International; the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Save the Children; and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The organizing committee includes more than 40 non-governmental organizations.

For more information please visit http://www.womendeliver.org.


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SOURCE Office of Congresswoman Lois Capps
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