Fiji white ribbon safe motherhood intiative launched


In Fiji every year about five to eight women die from pregnancy and childbirth complications while many more suffer from morbidities, says Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma.

He highlighted this while officially launching the Fiji White Ribbon Safe Motherhood Initiative (FWRSI) at the National Gymnasium in Laucala Beach today.

The Fiji White Ribbon Safe Motherhood Initiative is a local coalition of groups formed to promote increased public awareness of the need to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all women in Fiji.

This initiative is also a member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, which is an international coalition of organizations from all over the world with the same motive of promoting women’s health.

Dr Sharma said FWRSI also represents an opportunity for new partnerships that can strengthen and advance women’s health and rights.

“In addition, it complements the work of the International Safe Motherhood Initiative (SMI) led by partnership of key international organizations including UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, World Bank and others.”

He said the white ribbon itself, as adapted from the White ribbon Alliance is dedicated to the memory of all women who have died in pregnancy and childbirth.

“It is a symbol that unites the individuals, organizations, and communities who are working together to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all women. Not only does the color white signify grief and death, but it also signifies hope. A hope that for mothers and their families, pregnancy and childbirth will always be a rewarding experience,” he said.

The White ribbon safe motherhood initiative will not only target women of reproductive age group but also family decision makers, community opinion leaders, community health providers involved in maternity care, health facility based health professionals (private and government), birth attendants, policy makers and private sectors.

Dr Sharma said the strategies of FWRSI will centre on the following:
Creating demand and support for antenatal care through early booking.
Creating environment where each mother will have a birth preparedness plan that ensures access to clean and safe delivery by a skilled provider.
Creating environment where each mother will have a Complication preparedness plan that focuses on preparing the mother and the people around her to recognize complications and plan for money, transportation, access.