Because Tomorrow Needs Her, a campaign to raise awareness for women’s health in developing countries, visited Northwestern University Wednesday night. Local Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) aid worker Rebecca Singer spoke about her experiences with the organization.
“The impacts of a woman dying are far-reaching,” said Singer, a nurse with over a decade of experience in humanitarian aid. “When a woman dies or a woman is ill and doesn’t get the healthcare that she needs, it’s not just her life that’s impacted. It’s her children’s life. It’s her family’s life. It could go on for generations."
According to the campaign, 800 women die every day from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes, most of which are preventable.
“I got involved because of the work that I’ve done and I’m very committed to women’s health issues,” said Singer, whose contribution to the book was a piece about sexual assault in “stable” areas. Singer defines these stable areas as “places where there is no active conflict but sexual violence is still a constant threat.”
Singer said it's important for people to realize that a lot of the work MSF does is about access to health services for general populations.
MSF published the book Because Tomorrow Needs Her, a collection of MSF health care providers’ stories about trying to save women’s lives in developing countries. It focuses on seven issues: emergency obstetric care, obstetric fistulas, safe abortions, sexual violence, prenatal and postnatal care, newborn care and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
“We live in such a globally connected world that it’s important that we know what’s happening in the world, that we care about each other,” said Janka Pieper, who works in Northwestern’s International Program Development and helped organize Wednesday’s event. The event was co-hosted by Global Health Studies, the University Academic Advising Center and the Buffett Institute.
“We need to be aware not only of the issues that face our local community, but also the world,” said Matt Hacker Teper, a junior in Weinberg who attended
Singer touched upon topics about women’s health, addressing the topic of conversation and getting more students to become aware about these global issues. Azaka Ajanaku, an independent TV producer and director who lives in Evanston and uses his television program to appeal to residents from the Caribbean stressed the importance of talking about these issues and bringing them to the forefront. “On my television program, these are two segments I always talk about: health issues and women’s issues,” said Ajanaku, which he says is a very taboo subject in Haiti.