erin-thornton_executive-directorEvery mother has the right to access the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth – care that can identify, prevent, and manage complications should they arise. But failure to meet these needs results in the loss of 800 mothers every day, even though up to 98% of these deaths are preventable. 

 Every Mother Counts is working to provide solutions that can make pregnancy and childbirth safer. We know that with the right care at the right time, it IS possible that every mother could have the chance to survive and thrive.

Recently, World Moms Blog sat down with Executive Director of Every Mother Counts, Erin Thornton, to talk about how she got involved with the organization and what drives her to work so hard for maternal health.

World Moms Blog: Erin, you’re the mother of three young girls and you live in the metro-Boston area yet you are the executive director of Every Mother Counts, a New York-based non-profit working in five locations around the world. How did you get involved?

Erin Thornton: My involvement with Every Mother Counts grew out of a 10-day trip to Africa with my former organization, ONE. We had invited  Christy Turlington Burns along and she and I got chatting about maternal health. Maternal health was not an issue ONE focused on and I was really drawn to what Christy was telling me about.

WMB: What about maternal health drew you in?

ET: Well, Christy had just completed the film, “No Woman, No Cry” a documentary about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. During our  trip through five African countries, Christy and I spent a lot of time comparing notes on what was needed to move the maternal health agenda forward. Through all my time at ONE, I realized how interlinked so many poverty challenges are to maternal health—that if moms are kept alive, we can better keep kids alive, better give them an education and clean water, etc. Yet still no one was really talking about it.

WMB: What prompted you to leave behind a long career with ONE and join Christy in her pursuit of spreading maternal health awareness as she built this new non-profit?

ET: I had been with ONE since 2002, when I became the first hire in the US for ONE’s predecessor organization, DATA. By 2010, ONE had grown to 120 people in four different global offices. I had two young girls and I was starting to think about making a change. The more Christy and I talked about the need for an “awareness campaign” for maternal health, the more I realized I wanted to be a part of it too, so six-months later, I formally signed on to help her build the organization.

WMB:  In just a few days (May 10), we celebrate Mother’s Day here in the US, can you share with World Moms something about what makes you a passionate believer in Every Mother Counts?

ET: Physiologically, every woman goes through pregnancy the same way and faces the same chances of developing a complication. The difference in how they fare mainly comes down to whether they have access to good health care- or not. Helping more moms enjoy a safe pregnancy and delivery may sound like an overwhelming challenge but we really CAN make a difference. EMC has identified three target areas to focus our support on: 1. transport, 2. education and training for healthcare providers, and 3. supplies for clinics–including birth kits, solar suitcases and lighting. And we’re seeing that these seemingly simple things are making a big difference.

This Mother’s Day, Every Mother Counts is celebrating #WhatIsPossible for every mother.

Every mother has the right to access the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth – care that can identify, prevent, and manage complications should they arise. But failure to meet these needs results in the loss of 800 mothers every day, even though up to 98% of these deaths are preventable.

Every Mother Counts is working to provide solutions that can make pregnancy and childbirth safer. We know that with the right care at the right time, it IS possible that every mother could have the chance to survive and thrive.

So this Mother’s Day, as we look at the future of maternal health, we ask ourselves #WhatIsPossible? And the answer is, a lot.

With your help, Every Mother Counts has already impacted thousands of lives by improving access to critical maternal health care for vulnerable mothers.

During the month of May, we invite you to spread the good news about #WhatIsPossible by sharing this film.

This is an original interview with Erin Thornton posted by World Moms Blog Managing Editor, Kyla P’an.

The image used in this post is from the Every Mother Counts website and is used here with permission.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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