Global Health Centre

Dying for life: Are mothers still a global health priority?

International Geneva Global Health Platform
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Hybrid: Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Geneva Graduate Institute, Maison de la paix and online.

Moderated panel discussion followed by a reception

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Event | Dying for life: Are mothers still a global health priority?


“Childbirth should be a time of life, not death.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) affects 1 in every 6 women giving birth and is the leading cause of maternal mortality globally. Death from PPH is largely preventable and has been nearly eliminated in high-income countries, yet women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) continue to be disproportionately affected. In 2020, an estimated 287,000 women died, i.e. one woman every two minutes, from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, or unsafe abortion, and for every woman who died, 15-30 more survived childbirth with life-altering disabilities.

Maternal mortality from PPH is an issue at the intersection of gender, health, and leadership. While tools, knowledge and resources to end maternal deaths from PPH exist, progress has stalled, global PPH efforts have failed to gain traction, political will is weak, gender inequalities in health have not been prioritised, and countries are significantly off-track in achieving the 2030 sustainable development target for maternal mortality. Maternal health seems to have fallen down the list of global health priorities.
Would this situation be the same if men, not women, were dying from PPH? How can national governments ensure that mothers do not fall down on the health agenda? What is the effect of empowering leadership in a ministry of health? How might a gender-sensitive dimension be integrated into health sector policymaking with access to medicines and trained health workers for safe maternity? 

Join us for this conversation – the floor is yours!



  • Metin Gülmezoğlu | Executive Director, Concept Foundation
  • Femi Oladapo | Head, Maternal and Perinatal Health Unit, WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research
  • Shirin Heidari | Senior Researcher, Gender Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute and Founder and Director of GENDRO
  • Maya Hidayati | Midwife, Tamiajeng village, Trawas subdistrict, Mojokerto district, East Java Province, Indonesia

Closing remarks by Eric Comte | Executive Director, Geneva Health Forum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva

Moderated by Claire Somerville | Director, Gender Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute


Access speakers' biographies


Organised by

The International Geneva Global Health Platform, Concept Foundation, Geneva Health Forum, the Gender Centre of the Geneva Graduate Institute and GENDRO.

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