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Bishop appeals to improve childbirth standards

Bishop John Davies said "no woman today should have to give birth in a stable" as he pledged support for Christian Aid's appeal this Christmas to help save the lives of women and babies in Kenya and Malawi where having a child can be dangerous.

It is estimated that a woman is 40 times more likely to die in labour in Kenya than in the UK with many still giving birth in dirty and dangerous places.

Hospitals being far away, too expensive or non-existent can leave woman giving birth in dirty and dangerous conditions.

Every year around 40,000 new-borns die in Kenya with most of the deaths preventable.

Bishop John said: "NHS performance in the UK seems to come under almost daily scrutiny. It's easy, then, to overlook the fact that for millions around the world, especially many of the most vulnerable, health-care is not a right but a scarce luxury.

"Christian Aid's Christmas Appeal focuses upon the risks faced by mothers and their new-born children in Kenya and Malawi. It's a particularly appropriate area upon which to focus, coming at a time of year when even people of little or no faith have at least some awareness of the stories about the birth of Jesus in a stable. The Appeal reminds us, in a crisp and clear way that birth in such surroundings, with little or no medical help, remains the dangerous and risk-filled norm for many.

"I'm very pleased to be able to endorse the Appeal and to welcome the pledge made by the UK Government to support it so generously."

Cathrin Daniel, Head of Christian Aid in Wales said: "This Christmas help us deliver hope by giving more than 68,000 women access to improved health services, providing life-saving immunisations to 130,000 children under five and training more than 1,000 community health workers.

"We will also work with local authorities to enable them to provide crucial maternal and child healthcare long term."

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