Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 11:57 UK

Sarahs unite for health campaign

Sarah Brown and Sarah Palin
Sarah Brown, left, with Sarah Palin in New York

Gordon Brown's wife Sarah has met US vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin at a dinner to promote better support for childbirth in developing countries.

The two, who met in New York, have turned in political show-stopping performances in recent days.

Mrs Brown was hailed by British papers for her surprise decision to take to the Labour conference stage this week.

And Mrs Palin was widely lauded in the US media for her speech earlier this month to the Republican convention.

Those present at the women's dinner urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and global leaders to renew their commitments to deliver the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015.

Motherless millions

The UN estimates that in 2005, a woman died every minute of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth - more than 500,000 women a year.

Almost all of these women, 99 per cent, live and die in developing countries, the UN says.

Sarah Brown, queen Rania and Wendi Murdoch
Sarah Brown, Queen Rania of Jordan and Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi.

In sub-saharan Africa, a woman's risk of dying from treatable or preventable complications during pregnancy is one in 22, compared with one in 7,300 in developed regions.

Every year, more than one million children are left motherless and children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.

Sarah Brown co-hosted the dinner for influential women less than 48-hours after taking to the stage in Manchester to defend her husband's record as Prime Minister at the Labour Party conference.

Those present at the dinner included many first ladies, model Elle Macpherson, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Jordan's Queen Rania, former Irish President Mary Robinson and media mogul's Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Murdoch.

Sarah 'surprised me', says Brown
24 Sep 08 |  UK Politics
Sarah Brown steps into spotlight
23 Sep 08 |  UK Politics
Sarah Brown: The new 'first lady'
28 Jun 07 |  UK Politics
Sarah Palin's speech
05 Sep 08 |  Newsnight
Palin introduces her family
04 Sep 08 |  Americas
Profile: Sarah Palin
29 Aug 08 |  Americas

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