International expert on maternal and child health to speak at University of
Toronto

TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - While researchers report for the first time in two decades a significant drop in the global rate of maternal deaths, the plight of the world's neediest mothers and children remains tremendous, says a respected Canadian expert on maternal and child health.

"It is welcome news if maternal deaths are falling in parts of the developing world," says Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese. "But as privileged Canadians we need to continue to work diligently to ensure that every pregnant mother receives the care she needs, regardless of her geography or economic state."

Chamberlain Froese - awarded the prestigious Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award in 2009 by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada - will give a public address about her work in Africa during a special appearance at the University of Toronto on May 12.

For eight months a year, the Canadian obstetrician works in Uganda, where an estimated 6,000 mothers die annually while in "the war" of childbirth. Dr. Chamberlain Froese is founding director of Save the Mothers International.

The British medical journal The Lancet recently reported that there may be as few as 342,900 maternal deaths in the developing world annually, a dramatic drop from the previously estimated figure of 526,300.

The drop, however, relates in part to different statistical methods used. And maternal and child death rates in sub-Saharan Africa remain stubbornly high, up to 100 times more than in Canada.

The May 12 address by Dr. Chamberlain Froese, to be held at Wycliffe College, also comes in the midst of Ottawa preparing its signature plan to reduce maternal and child mortality worldwide. Ottawa's plan is part of the upcoming G8 Summit.

"There has never been a better time for Canadians to take a leadership role on this issue," says Dr. Chamberlain Froese. "And the key to sustainable change is to work with indigenous leaders in the developing world," she adds. "It's not just a matter of Westerners going in and saying, 'This is how it's done.' We need to develop key partnerships on-the-ground."

Dr. Chamberlain Froese's address is at 6:30 pm at Leonard Hall, Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Avenue. It marks the return to her alma mater for the obstetrician who formerly trained at the University of Toronto twenty years ago.

Members of the media, medical professionals, students, and advocates of global public health development are invited to attend. Parking is available on Tower Road and Hoskin Avenue. Refreshments will be provided.

Dr. Chamberlain Froese's award-winning book Where Have all the Mothers Gone? will also be available.

Save the Mothers, which Dr. Chamberlain Froese founded in Uganda in 2005, is recognized for its innovative, multi-disciplinary approach. With its training centre near Uganda's capital of Kampala, the program trains both medical and non-medical professionals to bring grassroots change from within their own culture.

To date, more than 120 Ugandan leaders, including parliamentarians, journalists and educators, have entered or graduated from the program, a Masters in Public Health Leadership. It's hoped that Save the Mothers will be expanded to other developing nations.

Prior to founding Save the Mothers, Dr. Chamberlain Froese worked for five years in Yemen. She also worked for shorter stints in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Pakistan. While in these countries she realized that rather than top-down, macro approaches, the best way to bring sustainable change in developing countries is by working with local leaders and innovators.

When in Canada, Dr. Chamberlain Froese is based at McMaster University, where she is an associate professor and where she co-chairs the International Women's Health Program.

For more information, including national news video features on Save the Mothers, please visit www.savethemothers.org

SOURCE Save the Mothers

For further information: For further information: To schedule an interview with Dr. Chamberlain Froese, and to get other information such as high resolution photos of African women and children, please contact the following representative: Denise Lodde, Save the Mothers media contact, Phone: (905) 220-2533, Email: dlodde@savethemothers.org

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