James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, will be marking Mothers Day this year with the publication of a report about the health of women giving birth in poor countries.

James and his colleagues on the cross-party International Development Committee in the House of Commons will be publishing a report which finds that up to a million pregnant women die every year from largely avoidable causes. The report highlights poor mothers’ lack of access to healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth – which contributes to high death rates, the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child and long-term disabilities amongst mothers and their children.

James is particularly concerned to flag up the need for action on maternal health in developing countries in light of the contrast with the services available to mothers in Southend. James’ wife Katy gave birth to their second son, Henry, in Southend Hospital only a few weeks ago.

James said:

“Both of our children have been born here in Southend within the last two years, and we’ve had excellent care and support from the local health services.

“But mothers in poor countries aren’t as lucky – for every rare instance in the UK where a woman sadly dies during childbirth, there are up to 1,000 childbirth deaths in the poorest countries. Sadly maternal deaths have hardly been reduced over the last 20 years, and it’s time that changed.

“There needs to be more political will in countries like ours to bring these numbers down. More needs to be done to expand access to basic services like midwifery and emergency care.”

28 February 2008