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Mothers and Children:
Make Them Count

The birth of a child is one of life's greatest miracles, and motherhood is virtually sacrosanct in cultures around the world. But how much are the lives and health of mothers and children really worth to families, communities, countries, and the global community?

Mothers and children are important in their own right, as human beings and loved ones. But equally important are their contributions to economic and social development.When mothers and children become ill or die, it is more than a personal or family tragedy; it exacts an enormous cost from their families, communities, and nations.Ensuring the health and well-being of children and mothers is not only humane and just; it also helps ensure the health of societies.

According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization,more than half-a-million mothers die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than 30,000 children under 5 die every day.Many more children and mothers suffer ill health and permanent disabilities as a result of complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

Experts in maternal and child health say that most of these deaths and illnesses are preventable. The knowledge and the means already exist to save lives and stop the suffering of millions of mothers and children around the world. To highlight this, PAHO/WHO dedicated World Health Day 2005 to healthy mothers and children.The message is that investing in the health of mothers and children is essential for the well-being of individuals, families, and entire societies.

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