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New Campaign Asks: What Would the World Look Like #WithoutMom?

Ahead of Mother’s Day, celebrities, political leaders, and grassroots advocates join The Rockefeller Foundation to urge greater action to end preventable maternal deaths

WASHINGTON, DC, May 7, 2019 – The Rockefeller Foundation announced today a new social media campaign – #WithoutMom (WithoutMom.org) – to sound the alarm on the scandalously high rates of preventable maternal deaths around the world and in the United States.

Every day, 830 women globally die of pregnancy-related causes. The epidemic in the United States is the worst of any developed country, and Black mothers are at the highest risk.

“The world loses when we lose mothers, yet far too many women in the United States and around the world struggle to receive the care they need before, during, and after birth. It’s time to end this injustice – and that starts with prioritizing equity in maternity care,” said Dr. Naveen Rao, managing director for health at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We need to invest in strong, nimble health systems that protect the health of mothers and their children – and we need to ensure that digital health innovation is used to its full potential to save the lives of the most vulnerable.”

The campaign was unveiled ahead of Mother’s Day – celebrated this Sunday in the United States and more than 70 countries – at a bipartisan event on Capitol Hill co-hosted by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Also participating in the launch event were long-time maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns and mothers from across the United States visiting as part of Mom Congress.

Honoring mom by fighting for mothers

At the center of the #WithoutMom campaign is a new video that invites us all to share on social media what we wouldn’t have achieved #WithoutMom, and vow to fight to never have to imagine a world without her.

The video was commissioned by The Rockefeller Foundation from the purpose-driven creative agency Matter Unlimited. Available at WithoutMom.org, the video combines emotional found footage of accomplished people crediting their success to their mothers, and poses the question, What would the world look like #WithoutMom?

The crisis of maternal deaths is preventable

The vast majority of pregnancy-related deaths can be avoided by providing the quality, respectful care that women need throughout their lives and around childbirth. The new campaign encourages people to learn more about and donate to key organizations providing maternal health solutions around the world, including Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Every Mother Counts, National Birth Equity Collaborative, PATH, United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, and White Ribbon Alliance.

In the United States, 700 women die every year as a result of complications related to pregnancy or delivery. Key factors range from challenges accessing quality care, to limited data on maternal mortality, to racial bias in the health care system. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, even when controlling for education and socioeconomic status. Despite known solutions, the United States is one of the few countries in the world where the maternal death rate is rising.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s commitment to health for all

The Rockefeller Foundation has been working to improve health around the world for more than a century. Over the past few years, the Foundation has invested more than $100 million to help countries achieve universal health coverage to improve the health and wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable – including ending the epidemic of preventable maternal deaths.

To bend the curve on maternal deaths, The Rockefeller Foundation is making new investments in digital health equity. This includes leveraging advances in digital technology and data science to help community health workers, doctors, and public health officials work together to deliver quality, equitable care to those who need it most – especially mothers and children.

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About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, policy, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.