Fulfilling Global Maternal Health Obligations: A Rights-Based Approach
AbstractThe crisis in maternal mortality rates is an acute reminder of the insufficient and unsustainable nature of many current global development strategies. While the Millennium Development Goals represent a global, institutional commitment to improve development outcomes by 2015, a majority of the eight goals will not be achieved. Goal Five, created to address maternal mortality rates, is the least likely Millennium Development Goal to be reached. This paper asks why and hypothesizes that a meaningful reduction in maternal mortality rates will not be achieved without a shift in the fundamental justification for women’s health care. I argue that a human rights–based approach will most likely achieve the necessary commitment from national governments to extend health care benefits to poor and rural populations typically left out of health initiatives. In order to rely less on intermittent international aid programs, national governments must include in their constitutions an attack on maternal mortality through gender-inclusive, universal health care.
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