I'm about the get on the plane to Los Angeles for the Leadership for Health: African First Ladies Health Summit. Just before I left, my team equipped me with a checklist to hand to all the First Ladies at the event. The paper asks them to check off at least one committment that will help promote maternal health within their own country. It says:
I am committed to ensuring that maternal and sexual and reproductive health is kept high as a political priority within my country. In the next eight months, I pledge to:
- increase awareness and engage at least 10 activists, professionals (doctors) and organizations (Rotary or others) to advocate for improved maternal and sexual and reproductive health, which is fundamental to the social and economic well-being of my country.
- raise public awareness through at least two media interviews about the importance of maternal and sexual and reproductive health to the economic well-being of my country.
- speak to my husband and the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance (or Planning) and ask them to support improving maternal and sexual and reproductive health in my country.
- ask for a progress report on my country’s plan to achieve the Maputo Plan of Action and advocate for funding in appropriate ministerial budgets to further implement the Maputo Plan of Action.
- deliver at least one speech on how improved maternal and sexual and reproductive health is important to the economic well-being of my country.
- organize at least one event where the main topic/theme will be how my country can improve maternal and sexual and reproductive health.
What do you think? Anything else we should ask these First Ladies? And better yet, what can YOU committ to doing in the next 8 months?
Jill Sheffield is the founder and Executive Coordinator of Women Deliver.