By Jenny Eaton Dyer, PhD
Last week, on Tuesday, March 26, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Hope Through Healing Hands partnered to launch the first celebration of The Mother & Child Project: Raising Our Voices for Health and Hope, set to release March 31, 2015.
The event was held in the U.S. Capitol to emphasize advocacy for The Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide campaign, out of which the book emerges.
CSIS’s Steve Morrison, Senior VP and Director, Global Health Policy Director, opened the event, welcoming the guest speakers and contributors. He noted Senator Frist’s longtime service on the Board of Directors for CSIS.
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) spoke first. She eloquently shared her latest travels to Guatemala and offered a window into the lives of young women and children with whom she met on the trip. She connected the trip and the issues of women and children’s health with her commitment of leadership on these issues in Washington.
Senator Bill Frist, MD provided the keynote address. His remarks got at the heart of maternal, newborn, and child health as well as healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. He described HTHH’s current campaign with support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the gravitas and hope for the book. For his talking points, please click here.
Janet Fleischman, Senior Associate at CSIS Global Health Policy Center, an expert in international family planning as well as a contributor for the book, served as an excellent moderator for a star panel including Bruce Wilkinson, President and CEO of Catholic Medical Mission Board; Debbie Dortzbach, Director of Health and Social Development of World Relief: and Dennis Charian, Senior Director, Health & HIV, Resource Development and Management, International Programs Group, World Vision US.
These leaders in the faith-based NGO community were able to draw from their experiences in the field to discuss and debate the importance of women’s health to the infrastructure of community and societal development.
Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN) then closed the event. She too, like Rep. Ellmers, spoke about her latest trip to Guatemala with CARE and her interactions with women and children on the trip. Like Ellmers, she offered a call to action for leadership on these issues.
Finally, Jenny Eaton Dyer, PhD provided some final remarks of appreciation for all who spoke, attended, and contributed to the book.
The event was a beautiful symbol of advocacy from the leadership of the faith-based community intertwining with members of Congress for a united front to protect funding for maternal, newborn, and child health as well as international family planning.