Mum’s the word for Newport Free Grammar students and global forum

A STAGGERING 1,000 women die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth and students from Newport Free Grammar School were in London this week to find out more about the greatest health inequality in the world today.

“Nearly every minute, a woman dies of complications in pregnancy and childbirth,” said Molly Curran, 17. “We discovered that 99 per cent of these deaths occur in the developing world. That cannot be right. What’s more they could be prevented with basic care and help.”

Molly was one of 12 students from Newport who attended the Global Student Forum (GSF) held in Westminster, London last Tuesday (June 28).

With the help of multi-media presentations, workshops and live music, GSF explored why the world is so far off-track in meeting the Fifth United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

GSF also offered practical suggestions of how students could make a difference.

Seventeen-year-old Camilla Tebbetts said: “When we found out that children whose mothers had died in childbirth were themselves more likely to die before the age of two, it was not only heart wrenching but astonishing, especially as the deaths could easily be prevented.

Jessie Burlinson, also 17, added: “Having a niece of just six months, the problems facing young mums in other countries really hit home to me.”

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Since GSF’s inception in 2005, more than 4,000 sixth formers have attended forums in London, Liverpool and Hull, returning to their schools to inform an estimated 200,000 fellow students of key global issues raised during the day.

Citizenship coordinator at Newpor Simon Curran said: “Our students have already discussed creative ways to tell their peers about the things they’ve learned.

“Because the message is coming from them, it is likely to hit home much harder.”