Students Support Record-Breaking Maternal Mortality Initiative

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A unique global charity project which is aimed at reducing maternal death rates in the developing world was this month welcomed to the University of Worcester by two enterprising second year Midwifery students.

Sophie Jackson and Jackie Chavner invited the ‘Precious Cargo’ project to stop off at the University’s St John’s Campus as part of its global journey to collect signatures and donations, and raise awareness of maternal mortality.

The funds will be used to provide motorcycles to healthcare professionals struggling to get to mothers delivering their babies – precious cargo – in remote areas. The project’s scroll began its journey at Hampton Court Palace last month, and will be visiting around 40 hospitals and maternity units during its initial tour of the UK.

Organised by Motorcycle Outreach, and supported by Student Midwife.Net, the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes and the Royal College of Midwives, the project has already broken the Guinness world record for Most Signatures on a Scroll, and has an overall target of 72,000 signatures.

Sophie explains: “I saw some information on the project a while back, and thought it would be a really good initiative to get involved with, so I put my name forward as a volunteer.

“As well as visiting the University, we also got both the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital involved, so hopefully we can make a big contribution to the project and boost the number of signatures on the scroll.”

Jackie adds: “The University and our tutors have been really supportive, allowing us to take time out to back what is a really worthwhile initiative.”

Figures show that globally, 6.9 million children aged under five die each year, while 800 women die of childbirth related complications every day. The motorcycles, which cost £1,500 to buy and £20 per month to maintain, will be used to get healthcare professionals to the remote areas in which they are needed most.

Sarah Snow, Lead Midwife for Education and Programme Leader, says: “We are delighted that Jackie and Sophie have shown such initiative in supporting this fantastic project. Maternal and child mortality remain a serious issue in many parts of the world, particularly in remote areas, and we are fully behind this project as it bids to raise money and awareness.”