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Amref Health Africa and Liya Kebede Foundation support #SaveMothersDay

NEW YORK, May 5, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Every three minutes, a mother in Africa dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – deaths which can be prevented with access to basic healthcare. This Mother's Day, many of us will post photos of our moms on social media. Embracing this positive trend, Amref Health Africa is asking people to use the hashtag #SaveMothersDay to post a photo with their mom to stand in solidarity with mothers across Africa.





A joint U.S. and Canada initiative, #SaveMothersDay will unite families across North America this year in an effort to highlight the need for better access to maternal healthcare in Africa, while also celebrating their mothers.

In the U.S. and Canada, a woman could expect to see a trained health professional at least 12 times during pregnancy, and have access to basic healthcare services. In many countries throughout Africa, however, the situation is very different – only 50% of all pregnant women will see a trained professional for up to four antenatal visits, or more often, no visits at all.

Amref Health Africa is making childbirth safer in partnership with the Liya Kebede Foundation, a non-profit that aims to improve access to maternal health care in Africa. Liya Kebede, an Ethiopian-born supermodel and designer, is in Addis Ababa today to visit Amref Health Africa's maternal health programs, while marking International Day of the Midwife.

"Amref Health Africa is making a real impact on the lives of thousands of women across Africa," says Kebede. "I've spoken with several midwives here – all trained by Amref Health Africa – and their dedication to pregnant women, their children and to their communities is admirable. The mothers are grateful knowing they have reliable, effective care, and a chance at surviving childbirth. I hope everyone will take some time this Sunday to use the #SaveMothersDay hashtag and show their support for African mothers."

"#SaveMothersDay is a great way for people to get engaged in this important cause, while doing a little something special for mom," says Robert Kelty, Executive Director of Amref Health Africa in the U.S. "We're pleased to have the support of the Liya Kebede Foundation as we work to spread the message that midwives save lives. One skilled midwife can really mean the difference between life and death for so many women in these communities."

Apart from their crucial job at delivery, midwives also monitor pregnant women throughout their term, and treat malaria and HIV, including preventing mother-to-child transmission. They provide educational services, such as breastfeeding counsel, family planning, and helping women to deliver at a health facility with a midwife or skilled attendant. It is estimated that a trained midwife can assist at least 500 women during childbirth per year.

"Canada has shown global leadership in focusing attention and funding to improve mother and child health," says Anne-Marie Kamanye, Executive Director of Amref Health Africa in Canada. "With #SaveMothersDay, Canadians can celebrate their moms while showing their support for better healthcare for African mothers."

Every photo that is tagged #SaveMothersDay on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be uploaded to the digital photo gallery on www.savemothersday.net. A matching donation of $5 will be made for every photo posted (in the U.S. only), and all visitors to the site can choose to make a donation. While a hashtag might be a small gesture, it is also a powerful statement.

Learn more about our partnership with the Liya Kebede Foundation.

Want to help improve maternal health in Africa? Make a gift today at www.savemothersday.net.

ABOUT AMREF HEALTH AFRICA

Amref Health Africa is an international African organization founded and headquartered in Kenya. Amref Health Africa works with the most vulnerable African communities through its country programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and its Southern Africa and West Africa regional hubs based in South Africa and Senegal respectively. With over half a century of experience in delivering health care and building health systems in Africa, Amref Health Africa supports those at the heart of the communities, particularly women and children, to bring about lasting health change.

ABOUT LIYA KEBEDE FOUNDATION

Founded by supermodel and designer Liya Kebede in 2005, The Liya Kebede Foundation in a non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of women in Africa by promoting access to life-saving maternity care. LKF invests in health worker training and maternal health advocacy activities. Kebede launched the Foundation alongside her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal & Child Health for the World Health Organization – a role she held through 2011. From 2011 to 2015, LKF supported a health worker training program in Ethiopia that assisted over 10,000 mothers to give birth safely. For more information about the Liya Kebede Foundation, please visit lkfound.org or @lkfound on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

ABOUT DROGA5

Droga5 is a creative and strategic advertising agency headquartered in New York, with an office in London. Founded in 2006, Droga5's clients include Amref, BBC, Belstaff, Blizzard Entertainment, Chase, The Coca-Cola Company, Farfetch, Georgia-Pacific, Google, Heineken, Hennessy, Johnsonville, Mondelēz International, Motorola, NBTY, NRG, Prudential, Reckitt Benckiser, Scion/Toyota, T-Mobile, Under Armour, UNICEF, Unilever, and the Y, among others. In 2013, leading entertainment and media company William Morris Endeavor made a significant investment in Droga5, launching a strategic partnership to best serve each entity's clients. Droga5 has won Agency of the Year nine times in the last ten years and is the only agency to be named in Advertising Age's A-List over six consecutive years. For more information, visit droga5.com.

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CONTACT: Aliya Ladha, Amref Health Africa in the USA, (212) 768-2440, ext. 120 ladha@amrefusa.org Jennifer Foulds, Amref Health Africa in Canada, (416) 961-6981; (647) 771-5815 (cell); jfoulds@amrefcanada.orgSource: Amref Health Africa in theUSA