As 2014 draws to a close, the clock ticks down on the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Improving maternal health was fifth on the list of millennium development goals created in 2000 and sought to reduce worldwide maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015. The plan to achieve this involved improving access to reproductive, pre and antenatal healthcare by raising the proportion of skilled birth attendants in developing areas. Although progress has been made since putting maternal health on the global radar, it remains the goal that shows the least progress out of the 2015 list. The Maternal Health Task Force reports that since 1990, the global maternal mortality has dropped by 45%, going from 380 deaths per 100,000 live births to 210 in 2013. The maternal mortality rate in developing counties remains 14 time higher than in the rest of the world.

How do counties where MAR has active projects fit into these statistics? According to the World Health Organization, in Tanzania the maternal mortality rate is 400 deaths per 100,000 live births, 190 deaths above the world average and 355 deaths above the maternal mortality rate in Belgium (5/100000). Haiti comes in at 350 maternal deaths per 100000 live births, 66 deaths per 100,000 in Egypt, in Kenya, 400 per 100,000.

As world leaders collaborate to create a new set up development goals for the post- 2015 era, maternal health issues have been brought to the forefront of the conversation. Experts hypothesize that maternal health, along with HIV/AIDS prevention and environmental goals, will be one of the top priorities while creating a new sustainable development plan. During the EU Week of Action for Girls events that took place in Brussels in October, leaders from European NGOs came together to discuss how crucial improving conditions for women and girls across the world is to combatting poverty. The overwhelming theme was that further improvements in maternal health and mortality rates in developing countries will need to be made using a holistic approach. Many issues women face in these regions stem from larger problems such as cultural beliefs, global warming and education. The post-2015 goals will need to address the root of maternal health issues in order to continue making progress.


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Dr. Marleen Temmerman Source:

Check out this thought-provoking TED Talk given by Marleen Temmerman, founder of the International Center for Reproductive Health, an organization MAR has partnered with to support maternal health in Kenya.

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Looking for a way to be more involved in Mothers at Risk? MAR invites you to participate in the Friends of MAR program. Through making a monthly or annual donation, you help MAR support sustainable health and education projects for vulnerable women and girls around the world.

As a Friend of MAR:

Your 3 Euro monthly donation enables one rural women with high obstetric risk have access to a safe delivery in Nicaragua.

Your 10 Euro monthly donation gives one girl in the Cairo slums a year of participation in a life skills and literacy program.

Your 20 Euro annual donation makes it possible for a trained midwife to proved prenatal care to a village in rural Haiti for a year.

Your 50 Euro annual donation supplements the nutrition of nomadic expectant mothers in Turkana, Kenya.

Donations of 40 Euros and above are tax deductible.

To sign up as a Friend of MAR or for more information on how donations impact MAR projects visit the MAR website.

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MAR is excited to annouce dates for the 2014/2015 fundraising concert series. These high class, cultural events are held on a regular basis in a private house in Uccle. The minimum participation fee is 30 euros and includes a lovely cocktail. If interested, please contact the host directly at


21 November, 7pm- Conference (French), speaker Werner van Zuylen discusses trekking from Santiago de Compostella to Moscow.

13 December, 7:00pm- Chamber orchestra featuring four outstanding string players from Antwerp Philharmonic


31 January- Piano 4 hands, Anait Karpova and Engine Agabalyants, Daphne Wston (soprano), Sophie de Tillesse (mezzo), Rene Covarrubias (tenor), Emmanuel Forest (basse). Opus 142 Schurbert and Liebeslieder Brahms.

7 March, 7:30pm- Mozart and Prokofiev sonata and short Greek compositions featuring the piano and violin stylings of the legendary Dimitra Mantzouratou and Dimitri Semis

28 May- 7:30pm- Lisa Houben, top international soprano preforms, accompanied by world renowned pianist Daniel Blumenthal

25 September- Wild and Fabulous Scottish musician Daniel Barbanel preforms so called “Uncool” Jazz

Ebola’s Effect on Maternal Health 

Liberian midwives in protective gear hand newborn to mother. Source: UNFPA Liberia/ Calixte Hessou

Liberian midwives in protective gear hand newborn to mother. Source: UNFPA Liberia/ Calixte Hessou

The Ebola crisis sweeping across West Africa has wreaked havoc on the healthcare systems in the region. Healthcare workers, supplies and financial recourses in affected countries have all been redirected towards getting the deadly virus under control. The focus on Ebola leaves few options for those with more common health issues who now face the additional concern of contracting Ebola if they seek out the medical attention that they need. The epidemic has also limited the number of hospitals and clinics treating patients who are not infected with the virus. Pregnant women are one of the groups that is most affected by these problems.  The following articles published by the UNFPA address the alarming statistics about maternal health in Ebola affect areas and tell the story of one Liberian women’s birth experience.

Ebola Wiping Out Gains in Safe Motherhood

Pregnant in the shadow of Ebola: Deteriorating health systems endanger women