5 things about moms around the world that are helpful to know

We all knows moms are important to their children, but were you aware of these other facts?

5 things about moms around the world that are helpful to know
Gates Foundation

Moms matter! The bond between a mom and her baby is priceless.


Without moms, the human race would come to a halt. We can all agree that we need them. But you know what else we need? For them to be healthy! And for many mothers around the world, this isn't an easy task. Here's what you need to know about moms and their health:

Over and over again, research shows the crucial role that mothers play in the well-being of their families. A child's physical, mental, and emotional health, their academic success, their economic prospects — not to mention their day-to-day survival and the strength of the family — all of it can be tied back to mom in some way. Kind of a big deal.

But the very act of becoming a mom can be pretty dangerous in some parts of the world. Women in developing countries, particularly those who live in rural areas and poorer communities, are at risk of dying from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

However, there's some great news on that front:

Between 1990 and 2013, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by almost 50%. — World Health Organization

And even better? The things that are putting expecting moms at risk of death are generally preventable — things like infection, hemorrhage, hypertension, obstructed labor, and complications of unsafe abortions. That's a lot of lives that could be saved with proper care.

Right off the bat, the number of moms who die from pregnancy and childbirth complications could be slashed by 30% if women had access to family planning.

The best part about knowing these statistics is that you can do something simple to help. You can tell your representatives in Congress you support legislation that aims to keep moms and their kiddos healthy with a call, tweet, or email.

You can also sign this petition to encourage Congress not to overlook women who need access to family planning services and maternal health care.

Using our voices matters!

If you have a minute, you might enjoy the sweet mom-and-child pairs in this video

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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