Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All
Nov 05, 2011

Mothers and children first

Mothers and children first

Padua, Italy, 5 November 2011. "Last year, on 11th November Doctors with Africa Cuamm celebrated its 60th anniversary in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, the Right Hon. Giorgio Napolitano. The event was very well attended by many civil, religious and military dignitaries and an extraordinary number of our volunteers. The aim was to reassert the meaning and dimension of the experience of choosing, from the very onset, to serve the world’s poorest people in the name of the Gospel and of justice.

On that occasion, we publicly asserted one of our commitments: to guarantee mothers access to safe childbirth and neonatal health free of charge, thereby contributing in an innovative, albeit indirect way, to achievement of the 4th and 5th Millennium Goals, i.e. the reduction in maternal and childhood mortality.

We now want to get together to start doing just that!

Gradually but determinedly, and just for starters, we intend to move from announcements to work in the field in the district hospitals of Aber (Uganda), Chiulo (Angola), Tosamaganga (Tanzania), Wolisso (Ethiopia)… We know that families pay for access to childbirth and many mothers – without means – die at home with their child. Our aim is to start providing access and obstetric care free of charge in these four places.

It is a great challenge, with complex ethical, political, organizational, technical and financial implications. The only way it can be addressed and overcome is by involving everyone: individuals, groups, associations, public and private government and religious institutions.

On 5th November, representatives of the Church and governments of Italy and the African countries involved, will join us at our event in Padua, to reassert their commitment, support, and concrete contribution to the fight for the right to health. African Diocesan Bishops will be welcomed by the President of the Italian Bishops, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. Some Health Ministers (from Ethiopia and Angola, to be confirmed) – will be accompanied by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Flavia Bustreo – assistant for the mother-child area to the General Director of the World Health Organization – has agreed to take part with great conviction.

We wish to keep up the fight and spend all our energy in giving signals that go against the tide compared to the current crisis situation and period of decline. We wish to activate the positive energy in that part of Italy that bravely looks towards a more just future, for Africa too.

The event on 5th November will be a new opportunity to say, all together: “Mothers and children first!”

Fr. Dante Carraro
Director of Doctors with Africa CUAMM

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