Every mother has a story to tell. Mine begins at a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Memories of the pain and the 12 long hours of labor during the birth of my first child still linger 13 years later.
After long hours of labor, my son came out with the umbilical cord around his neck. Every day I thank God we both survived with no lasting injury. The journey of motherhood can be exciting and terrifying. For many mothers, the day they give birth is the most dangerous day of their life, and the life of their baby. But mothers like me all across the world will do anything to give their children a healthy chance in life.
Unfortunately for too many of us, we feel helpless because our communities lack lifesaving resources to give us a chance to do that.
Despite the efforts of mothers around the world, every year 5.6 million children die of preventable and treatable illnesses before their fifth birthday. That’s about 11 children every minute. In addition, more than 300,000 women will die this year from preventable pregnancy related causes, each of them never having the opportunity to meet and protect their child.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, our members of Congress have an opportunity to do something remarkable: end these preventable child and maternal deaths by passing The Reach Every Mother and Child Act.
More than 180 members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, in the House and the Senate, have signed on to the bill. If passed, the Reach Act will change the lives of millions of mothers and children around the world. I can’t think of a better way to honor mothers than by moving this historic opportunity forward.
My own Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the bill by saying he was committed to “ensuring American ingenuity and leadership can continue to save lives and offer communities around our world a brighter future.”
We can encourage other members of Congress to help achieve this goal by calling on them to co-sponsor the Reach Act.
Remember: your member of Congress is just a call away. We can write, email, track them down at town hall meetings and ultimately make this lifesaving legislation a priority.