Spheres of Influence
At Save the Mothers (STM) we believe a multi-disciplinary approach is needed to save some of the 303,000 mothers and three million children who die in the developing world annually due to unsafe childbirth. The burden falls on more than just health professionals; simply building more hospitals and clinics is not the solution. The societies in which mothers live need to be awakened and changed from within. There are five important spheres of influence, along with health care, that have a direct impact on the number of mothers dying;
In many developing countries women have no voice and are denied basic rights during pregnancy. We encourage politicians and lawyers to enter the STM program to improve laws in their countries and ensure that mothers have basic rights. As William Wilberforce rescued slaves from the slave trade in the early 1800’s through the passing of abolition laws in British Parliament, STM graduates advocate for laws that ensure mothers receive the care they need during pregnancy.
One excellent way to spread a message is through the education system. We recruit educational leaders who are impacting young minds throughout the schools.
In developing countries, change often occurs at the grassroots level through passionate social workers and community activists. We mobilize professionals in social services and equip them to spread the message to their communities.
Journalists help ensure accurate public health messages are spread to the widest possible audience via newsprint, radio and television. We equip media professionals to tell the story of mothers dying, and to share how to prevent it from happening “on the front page.”
Religious leaders play an important role in both providing and reinforcing positive health behaviours for mothers and their children. Many people will listen to the advice of their minister/priest/imam before following the directions of a medical doctor. Religious leaders are being trained in the STM program to educate and empower their communities to improve maternal health.
The first Save the Mothers Program, which offers a Master of Public Health Leadership (MPHL) degree, was started at Uganda Christian University (UCU), near Uganda’s capital, Kampala, in 2005. Uganda has shown leadership in alleviating other health crises, such as HIV/AIDS. Uganda is in the heart of Africa. Change in Uganda will help promote broader change in the continent. In 2009, students from Kenya began studying at the STM training centre at UCU. Today, our international class attracts students from throughout East Africa.