Each year, an estimated 303,000 women and over 5 million babies die because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries, and many are preventable.
B!RTH was initiated in response to this inequality by the Oglesby Charitable Trust, which holds a firm belief in the power of theatre and storytelling to tackle hidden, complex social problems. Seven female playwrights from seven countries across the globe were each commissioned to write a play in response to the issues raised. These were performed at a four-day B!RTH festival in Manchester in 2016, alongside panel discussions highlighting evidence-based solutions.
Having begun life at the Royal Exchange Theatre, B!RTH is now hosted by the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and was presented in 2017 at the Edinburgh Festival, the Dublin Fringe Festival and at the WHO in Geneva, and in 2018 at several national midwifery conferences as well as at the Wellcome Collection. Free-to-use resource packs are available online and have been taken up by schools and universities. Bringing together arts and science and health policy decision makers, B!RTH is a unique partnership that we hope will continue to provoke debate, solutions and action.
Find out more about the project and the plays at www.birthdebate.com and follow its development at @BirthDebate
Each year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes. These are not mere statistics. They are people with names and faces.United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon