Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, an obstetrician with more than 20 years of experience and the founder of Save the Mothers, an international organization founded in 2004 that promotes maternal health in the developing world, spoke to the Rotary Club of Jamestown during its Nov. 23 meeting. Earlier this year, the Rotary Club of Jamestown donated $2,500 toward the purchase of a surgical kit for the organization. 
During her presentation, Dr. Chamberlain Froese said 800 women in developing countries die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications every day and as many as 3 million babies die in their first week of life, many because of poor prenatal care. To illustrate the scope of the problem, Dr. Chamberlain Froese compared Canada and Uganda. While both countries have the same population, Canada loses between 20 and 30 mothers to childbirth each year while Uganda loses 6,000. Mothers are lost in developing countries because of a delay in seeking care and a delay in transportation. Many women in developing countries have no money with which to seek care and, in many cases, don't have the ability to consent for themselves. What's more, mothers in developing countries typically walk everywhere -- sometimes as many as 5 kilometers to the nearest health center. Dr. Chamberlain Froese said these challenges together account for 50 percent of childbirth-related deaths in developing countries.
Since its inception, Save the Mothers has trained more than 400 East African professionals, who each have earned a masters degree in public health leadership from the organization. These professionals have included five members of the Ugandan parliament, an editor who leads the second-largest newspaper in Uganda, a local mayor and the owner of a school, and the leader of a major church. "It's important that we equip local professionals with the ability to influence positive social change through their specific vocations," Dr. Chamberlain Froese said.  What's most striking, Dr. Chamberlain Froese said, is the closeness of these mothers and their plight. "We are all part of a global community -- a very small global community," she said. "In just one day's travel from your local airport, you can be face-to-face with these mothers who so desperately need help. They're dying of preventable pregnancy complications, just one day's travel away from you. They're so close to us, closer than we might believe. It's so important to recognize that and reach out to help where and when we can."
Dr. Chamberlain Froese is the author of the award-winning Where Have All the Mothers Gone?, a book of essays highlighting the struggles faced by mothers in developing countries. To order the book, click here. Proceeds benefit Save the Mothers.
PHOTO: From left are Rotary Club of Jamestown president-elect Gary Padak; Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, the founder of Save the Mothers; Mary Harvey, chairman of the Save the Mothers Canada board of directors; John Lampard, a member of the Save the Mothers U.S.A. board of directors; and Rotarian Marijka Lampard.