Mothers Night demands more progress on Millennium Goal 5, the reduction of maternal mortality and the realization of good health care before, during and after childbirth. Emphasis on sexual education and prevention, access to contraceptives and good health care, and access to safe and legal abortions for all women are key requirements in fighting maternal death.
Maternal mortality is a global tragedy. Annually, more than 350,000 women die needlessly in the agony of childbirth, that is one woman every 1,5 minute; 99 per cent of these women live in the developing world. The risk of a woman dying as a result of pregnancy or delivery is about one in 36 in Africa, compared with about one in 11,000 in Western Europe. This is intolerable.
Mothers Night calls for attention to these issues, in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Mothers Night asks all Dutch people to remind the politicians in The Hague of their responsibilities. The Netherlands must retain its international pioneering role in the pursuit of sexual education and sexual health for women in developing countries. The right of women to decide for themselves if and when they want to have children must be safeguarded.
Therefore, Mothers Night organizes various activities and a media campaign preceding Mothers Day. The first Mothers Night was organized in 2007, and since then every year. The campaign takes place just before Mothers Day, a day of happiness for many women, to be celebrated with their families. Mothers Night wants to emphasize the fact that giving birth is not always such a happy event in the developing world, but in many cases quite dangerous. This is so to speak the dark side of Mothers day.
The activities that are organized so far vary from an evening event with debate, music and cultural events to a public breakfast in bed for national politicians. A special Mothers Night song is composed and sung by a national famous singer/songwriter. And every year the Minister of International Affairs is present to receive and comment upon the advocacy message of Mothers Night.
The Dutch Mothers Night is organised by Rutgers WPF, NCDO, Simavi, MREF Flying Doctors, Cordaid, KNOV (Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives), ICM (International Confederation of Midwifes), KIT (Royal Tropical Institute), and MDG5 Meshwork for Improving Maternal Health. It is made possible with the support of the European Union and the Dutch Postal Code Lottery.