Global Motherhood

Before the recent historical win by Germany in the World Cup Championship and the riotous parties in the streets, there were other strong magnets to Berlin by young outsiders. A new generation of international women have been flocking to Berlin for its green, woman-centric, and family friendly culture.
Mother's Day is soon approaching and with International Women's Day last Saturday, suddenly everything seems to be about women, and Mums, and how much we really do learn from them. The people I look to for inspiration are all women, every single one of them.
Women around the world are still facing some of the worst discrimination imaginable. From child marriage to female genital mutilation and inexcusably high rates of maternal mortality, the list goes on. As we approach International Women's Day, it doesn't seem like there is much to celebrate.
In an effort to save millions of newborn lives, we are urging all global leaders to take a stance this year and commit to a blueprint for change, namely, the Five Point Newborn Promise. This agenda focuses on training and equipping enough skilled healthcare workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help, and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services.
With the recent loss of Nelson Mandela, South African found its voice - and during the memorial service, its silence - in Desmond Tutu. He was Mandela's ally through so many decades of struggle. He remains a hugely respected scourge of the world's wrongs, and irrepressible champion of the oppressed.
Today in Northern Ireland, over 200 babies will be born, about 20 preterm, but only about three newborns die each week. In Belfast, newborns dying of infection recently precipitated a major media storm.
The basic human rights of children must always over-ride the 'cultural' sensitivities of adults. Until nations everywhere perceive FGM not as a custom, but rather as an epidemic which must be addressed by governments as well as community workers, it will continue to blight the lives of millions. Whole communities over generations suffer because of it.
When Comic Relief invited me to Uganda for Red Nose Day to meet families affected by malaria, I was worried and scared in equal measures. Worried about how I would cope with hearing from parents who have lost children to this deadly disease, and scared that I too could get bitten by a malaria infected mosquito and fall sick.
Childbirth is not a rite of passage. We are not cave men. We have choices. Men do not have to hunt and women do not have to gather berries and breed children. Just because our bodies are built to do something, does not mean we have to pump out children and slay wildlife.
I visited Bangladesh in January and think I must have left a little piece of my heart with the amazing mothers and children over there who have to battle for everything to survive.
No matter where she is from, a mother's happiness will depend on her child's wellbeing. This similarity cuts through all other differences that may exist between mothers living on opposite sides of the world.
Until a few weeks ago the thought of getting malaria had never crossed my mind as I'm fortunate to live in a US city where malaria is not a problem. Even when I travel to tropical areas like my parents' home country of Panama where mosquitoes eat me alive, I'm not worried as malaria is no longer present in that part of the country. This is a stark contrast to my recent trip with Malaria No More UK to Ghana, West Africa, where malaria affects the entire population of 24 million people and is a leading cause of death amongst young children. The charity has released a short film today about my trip - I went to learn as much as I could about malaria and the work happening to make sure every home in the country has a mosquito net by the end of this year.
New figures from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that global aid fell in 2011 for the first time in 14 years. The cut of nearly 3% will impede progress in reducing poverty and cost children's lives.
Thousands of lives and millions of pounds were lost needlessly because of a "dangerous delay" in the response to the East
According to new research today, babies who are breast-fed cry more, laugh less and generally have ‘more challenging temperaments
From the Arab Spring to floods in Thailand and droughts in East Africa, children are often the most vulnerable in society
Enfield based charity 'Baby i' is aiming to provide abandoned babies with the support and assistance they need in giving
High street coffee shops could pose a risk to pregnant women due to large variations in caffeine content, according to research
Just less than a month ago, we moved house from Edinburgh to the South East of England, so that my husband could start his new job with Save the Children. Ever since then our 2 and a half-year-old son Tom has been working really hard to understand what his dad's new job is all about.
Maternity services in England and Wales have been "overwhelmed" by a rising number of births, including more complex cases