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Maya’s second birthday: Celebrating strong health systems

Cristian Baeza's picture

We’ve got something to smile about this week at the World Bank: Our baby Maya, who has shown us the importance of having a strong health system and access to quality maternal and child health care, has reached her second birthday!


To mark this special occasion, we’re launching a new video about the things that helped Maya achieve this milestone, including access to family planning and proper nutrition. These are two key services provided by well-functioning health systems that create healthy futures for mothers and their children—along with other affordable services, trained health workers, clean water, vaccines, well-equipped clinics, and many other moving parts.


The video—the second in a series that began with Maya’s birth—comes as the global health community holds a summit on family planning this week in London. I hope Maya’s story underscores what a difference access to effective family planning can make. By giving women the means to space the births of their children by three years, for example, deaths of children under-five would decrease by 35%.


Maya’s story also reminds us of the importance of good nutrition during the 1,000-day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.  Getting it right during this critical period can have a long-term impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and prosper.


Please take a few minutes to watch our video and let us know what you think—in the comments below or on Maya’s Facebook page, where she has a loyal following. We’ll also be Tweeting about Maya, so please follow along on our Twitter feed.



World Bank and Health

Making Maya cry: Why health systems matter


Submitted by Anonymous on
Maya gets vegetables for her second birthday, instead of a cake! What a lucky kid. And still she is not safe, after all the spinach and loving doctors, unless donors start financing better infectious disease surveillance and prevention in poor countries. Otherwise this is going to happen, probably before Maya is 5 and certainly before she starts having babies herself: or this . Please send this message to President Jim Young Kim. Second, you need to work on all the health risks facing Maya, not just the risks that come from not visiting a health center. More about vegetables. car accidents, violence, cholera, contaminated water, and viral epidemics, please. Will Maya be safe from antimicrobial resistence? Maybe it will not make a nice video, but it would be more realistic.

Submitted by David Bishai on

I agree. Economists focus too much on marketable commodities like food and clinic visits. Population level public health factors matter more, but are a bigger challenge for animators and photographers. This is what James Joyce would call the ineluctable modality of the visible.

Submitted by Rebecca on
Maya has a FACEBOOK page with 904 followers, after 2 years -- which seems low for a concept promoted, at high cost, by a huge organizations like the World Bank. I mean I can get a couple of hundred followers in a month or so for any silly initiative just at my school. How do you judge the success of this publicity campaign? Should Maya have 9,000 followers are this point? The creators of the concept will be of course pleased with any results.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Great video but might have reached further without the American voice-over - how inappropriate is that: an American voice telling mothers in low-income countries how to raise their babies...

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