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Posts Tagged ‘emergency obstetric care (EmOC)’

Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) and Maternova are partnering on a project aiming to increase access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care for women in Chiapas, Mexico—through the use of mobile technologies for health (mHealth).

From an email announcement I received from ARHP on Tuesday (5/11):

“All of us who care deeply about reproductive health have been closely following the conflicting data from The Lancet and the WHO on maternal mortality rates.

Regardless of the direction of global rates, we know that women in remote areas of Mexico are facing incredible challenges in giving birth safely. Patients lack a comprehensive clearinghouse directing them to local clinics or differentiating levels of care available at facilities.

With generous support from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ARHP and Maternova have partnered on a pilot mobile health (mHealth) initiative in Chiapas, Mexico. We are pleased to be on the leading edge of the mHealth movement, which aims to leverage the growing worldwide popularity of mobile devices to provide critical health services.

This project will create an interactive maternal health mapping tool, allowing women to find skilled providers by geographic area quickly and easily. This SmartMap will be accessible from any web-enabled device and provide detailed information about the quality and types of services offered in each clinic listed. In an emergency obstetric situation, the ability to find skilled attendants and well-equipped facilities via mobile phone can make the difference between life and death.

We are just beginning to work with our partners, Development Seed and the Comite Promotor por una Maternidad sin Riesgos (Committee for the Promotion of Safe Motherhood), on this pilot project identifying and mapping facilities in Chiapas. We are looking forward to launching the populated map by the end of 2010 and to the possibility of future stages of the project, which would make the map accessible via text message.

Get involved in this cutting-edge, lifesaving initiative:

  • Reach out to Aleya Horn at ARHP and let us know if you or your colleagues work in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Provide local contacts for collaboration or local clinics for the map
  • Make a donation to support this critical partnership and help us expand the pilot project to other underserved areas in Mexico and around the world”

Be sure to check out the Maternova blog–that highlights all sorts of innovations in maternal and neonatal health.

Posts I found especially interesting:

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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative, the Maternal Health Task Force, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) invite you to attend (or watch online) the fifth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health: Improving Transportation and Referral for Maternal Health. The event will be held on May 20th from 3-5pm in Washington, D.C.

The MHTF Blog

“…Access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care are key solutions to improving maternal morality, yet functioning referral systems and poor road infrastructure delay efficient care. Increased research, funding, knowledge sharing, and coordination between private and public sectors are necessary to make transportation and referral a global health priority.

Today’s discussion will highlight the lessons and knowledge gaps identified at a Wilson Center workshop in Washington DC with 25 experts from the transportation and maternal health communities, as well as representatives from the private sector and donor community.

Víctor Conde Altamirano, obstetric nets manager, CARE-Bolivia will discuss how transportation and referral data is being incorporated into Bolivia’s health system to improve maternal health. John Koku Awoonor-Williams, east regional director, Ghana Health Service, will address the utilization and maintenance of ambulances in rural Ghana. Subodh Satyawadi, chief operating officer, GVK Emergency Management Institute will discuss the lessons learned and challenges faced through India’s “Emergency 108” call system. Strategies and recommendations identified at the Wilson Center workshop in Washington DC will be provided by Patricia Bailey, public health specialist, Family Health International…”

Click here for event details, information on how to RSVP or watch the live/archived webcast, and additional info on the series!

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An editorial published in the Globe and Mail on Monday calls on Canadians to “abandon posturing over funding abortion overseas,” and turn to a new focus for their plans to improve maternal health abroad: a new facility focused entirely on maternal and child health at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The idea is that this model would allow recipients of funds to decide on the interventions that work in their particular countries, in their specific social contexts.

The Globe and Mail

“…The recent political debate on maternal mortality has focused on unsafe abortions, but this is a distraction. Unsafe abortions do account for some of these pregnancy-related deaths and the reality of abortion services in Africa is a horror. But given that abortion is highly restricted for 90 per cent of Africans, and wholly illegal in 14 countries, the G8 would accomplish little by focusing on the issue. The bigger task – and one where the G8 can actually make a difference – is empowering women to have more control over their sexual lives, by increasing access to family planning and ensuring that pregnant women have access to care when they are ready to deliver…”

Read the full editorial, When it comes to maternal health, let Africans decide.

Be sure to take a look at the comments section of the editorial.

For more coverage of the G8/G20 in the Globe and Mail, click here.

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Just a reminder! This event will happen this Thursday, April 29th!

The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative and Environmental Change and Security Program, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced  the fourth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog

The event, Family Planning in Fragile States: Overcoming Cultural and Financial Barriers, will be held on April 29th in Washington DC. Speakers include Nabila Zar Malick, Director of Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan; Karima Tunau, OB/GYN with Usmanu Danpodiyo Hospital; Grace Kodindo, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Sandra Krause, Reproductive Health Program Director with the  Women’s Refugee Commission.

“…Countries threatened by conflict rank lowest on maternal and newborn health indicators and have fewer resources for reproductive health services such as family planning and emergency obstetric care. Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services in fragile states may challenge cultural beliefs and gender relations within a country. Program managers, policymakers, and donors can mitigate these tensions through culturally sensitive approaches and increased female participation during peacebuilding efforts…”

For event details, information on how to RSVP , and information on how to watch the  live or archived webcast, read the full announcement here.

For more information on the series, click here.

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On April 13th 2010, the New York Times published an article,  Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe, about the recent findings published in the Lancet that suggest a dramatic reduction in global maternal mortality. Since then, the paper has published a series of Letters to the Editor. These letters come  from leaders of organizations working on reproductive and maternal health and from health professionals working on maternal health on the ground in countries where maternal mortality continues to be a major problem.

The New York Times

A variety of opinions and sentiments are expressed in these letters that certainly add depth to the initial story published in the Times. Two themes pound through the letters: a new sense of hope that improvements in maternal health are possible and a sense of urgency that this battle has not yet been won–that now, more than ever, is the time for the maternal health community to stick together (despite squabbles among advocates over whether or not the Lancet should have published the paper when they did) and engage in concerted efforts (that include emergency obstetric care, HIV services, and expanded access to family planning) to achieve MDG5.

A careful look at these letters will stimulate a much more robust understanding of the myriad of factors contibuting to global maternal mortality—as well as the potential implications of the findings of the Lancet paper and necessary next steps towards achieving MDG5.

Some authors express cautious excitment that investments are (or might be depending on the author) paying off while simultaneously declaring that it is not yet time to celebrate; far too many women are still dying of pregnancy-related causes!  Joanne Jorissen Chiwaula, director of the African Mothers Health Initiative describes her frustration with Chris Murray (one of the authors of the Lancet paper) for downplaying the importance of emergency obstetric care services in favor of playing up the importance of HIV services, when a comprehensive approach is really what is needed. Mary Robinson, president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, calls attention to the relationship between maternal health and discimination against women, lack of reproductive choices for women, child marriage, sexual violence, unsafe abortions and inability to own property. She emphasizes the importance of considering maternal health in the context of human rights—and also points out the need to focus on strengthening entire health systems. 

Take a look at a group of Letters to the Editor published on April 18th, and more on April 19th.

For readers comments on the initial story in the Times, click here.

And for Nicholas Kristof’s take on the new maternal mortality estimates, click here.

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The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative and Environmental Change and Security Program, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced  the fourth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog

The event, Family Planning in Fragile States: Overcoming Cultural and Financial Barriers, will be held on April 29th in Washington DC. Speakers include Nabila Zar Malick, Director of Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan; Karima Tunau, OB/GYN with Usmanu Danpodiyo Hospital; Grace Kodindo, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Sandra Krause, Reproductive Health Program Director with the  Women’s Refugee Commission.
“…Countries threatened by conflict rank lowest on maternal and newborn health indicators and have fewer resources for reproductive health services such as family planning and emergency obstetric care. Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services in fragile states may challenge cultural beliefs and gender relations within a country. Program managers, policymakers, and donors can mitigate these tensions through culturally sensitive approaches and increased female participation during peacebuilding efforts…”

For event details, information on how to RSVP , and information on how to watch the  live or archived webcast, read the full announcement here.

For more information on the series, click here.

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Ray Suarez of PBS, travels to Peru to investigate how health officials, obstetricians, nurses and activists are making better use of existing resources and linking pregnant women to those resources—all in hopes of seeing a reduction in maternal deaths. In this article and video, Suarez reports on a system of maternity homes, homes where pregnant women from remote areas can stay in the final stages of their pregnancies in order to be closer to emergency obstetric care, in the event of an emergency.

PBS NEWSHOUR/The Rundown

“…The NewsHour team headed out to the remote rural town of Vilcashuaman, high in the Andes mountains, to see the new approach at work. We visited a Casa Materna, a mother’s house, where three women from communities far away waited to deliver. In a nurse’s office was a felt bullseye map, with the name and due date of all the women in the region known to be pregnant, along with the approximate distances and travel times to their homes…

…Once ready to deliver, a woman can choose a conventional Western delivery table with an elevated bed and leg stirrups, and as part of the new approach traditional birthing chairs are also available. Women who use the chairs do not have to completely undress, very important in a culture in which modesty is prized…”

Read the full story, In Peru: Life for the Life-Givers—and watch the video.

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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at EngenderHealth, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced the third event, Maternal and Newborn Health as a Priority for Strengthening Health Systems, in their series, Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog
The event will be held on March 8th, 2010 from 3-5pm at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

About the Event
“Increasing investments for strengthening health systems requires improved donor coordination and additional research to help guide decisions about where investments will have the greatest return. The inclusion of key maternal health indicators such as access to emergency obstetric care is an important strategy to improving health systems and encourages the implementation of priority evidence-based interventions.”

Presenters
Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard University School of Public Health; Helen de Pinho, Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Agnes Soucat, Senior Health Economist & Lead Advisor for Health, Nutrition and Population with the World Bank, will be presenting.

Visit the MHTF Blog for more information, including a PDF invitation, RSVP information–and info on how to watch live or archived videos of this event.

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International aid groups and public hospitals are struggling to keep up with births in post-earthquake Haiti. The city still lacks adequate numbers of health workers and supplies–leaving many pregnant women without access to obstetric care services.

Miami Herald

A young Haitian doctor finishes delivering 26-year-old Joanne Desir's first baby as she's being held by her husband, Patrice Zephir, in the back of a pickup truck outside the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

“..There are new concerns for the 63,000 pregnant women now living in Port-au-Prince. More than 7,000 are expected to give birth this month.

`People here are giving birth under the absolute worst conditions,’ said Dr. Jonathan Evans, a pediatric gastroenterologist volunteering at the University of Miami field hospital. `They can’t find access to midwives. Little problems become big problems.’

In the sprawling camp at the city center of Champs de Mars, where the fruit flies are unrelenting and the stench of human waste inescapable, Antoine Toussaint worries about the health of her unborn child.

Toussaint, 27, is nine months into her pregnancy. She lost her last baby, a son, in childbirth two years ago. This time, Toussaint will have only the help of her family if complications arise…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on the University of Miami response to the earthquake, click here.

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According to a report by Observatorio de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva, Argentina has the means to address  maternal mortality, but fails to do so because of a lack of political will.

Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS)

“…Argentina has a maternal mortality rate of 44 for every 100,000 live births – two and a half times higher than the average in neighbouring Chile and Uruguay, and a far cry from the six per 100,000 or seven per 100,000 live births in Spain and Italy, for example. Both national authorities and independent experts working on these issues say that at this pace, Argentina will fail to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of significantly reducing the number of maternal deaths by 2015, bringing it down to Chile’s and Uruguay’s current levels…”

Read the full story here.

Visit the Observatorio de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva site here.

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A fall in the number of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth was announced at a National Maternal Death Review Committee dialogue meeting.

Cocorioko

“Dr Kisito Daoh, chief medical officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said the implementation of a maternal death review had been essential due to the high number of women dying every day. Since the beginning of the programme, the death rate has fallen from 30 fatalities a day to five, he claimed. Even so, Dr Daoh said this figure remains too high, and the government is committed to further reductions. He insisted that the fight against maternal death is part of President Koroma’s agenda for change in Sierra Leone…”

Read more here.

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The Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium applauds current relief efforts in Haiti while calling on humanitarian actors to provide lifesaving reproductive health services for women displaced by the earthquake.

The RHRC Consortium

The RHRC Consortium calls on humanitarian actors to meet the needs of women and girls—including the 63,000  pregnant women in Port au Prince.  (Other organizations have put the estimate lower at 37,000.) The RHRC estimates that 7,000 will deliver in the coming month.

The statement includes calls to action on issues of safe delivery,  sexual violence and exploitation, HIV/AIDS, and family planning.

Click here to read their full statement.

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March of Dimes

“The March of Dimes has made a grant to UNICEF to help thousands of pregnant women, mothers and babies in Haiti imperiled by the devastating earthquake and its aftermath.

‘The March of Dimes is deeply concerned about the thousands of pregnant women and moms caring for infants in Haiti, especially extremely fragile premature babies’ said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.  ‘Many babies and young children have been separated from their families, others are feared orphaned.’

The March of Dimes special gift of $100,000 will help Haitian women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and babies who are in dire need of proper nutrition, safe water, and safe ways to prepare infant formula, as well as supplies such as diapers and clothing…”

The article also points out several of the long-term needs of women and babies in Haiti including prenatal and newborn care, specialized care and equipment for an expected rise in premature births, multivitamins with folic acid for women of childbearing age, etc.

Read the full story here.

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Veil of Tears is a collection of transcribed interviews with children, women, and men in Afghanistan about loss in childbirth. These interviews are part of IRIN’s  Kabul-based radio project, which closed at the end of 2009 after six years of humanitarian radio production and journalistic capacity building in Afghanistan.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

“In Veil of Tears, a 60-page colour booklet launched today, IRIN brings you a unique collection of personal stories of loss and courage in childbirth, as told by women, men and children from different parts of Afghanistan.

The stories were originally recorded in local languages, Dari and Pashto, for IRIN Radio broadcasts. Transcribed into English in Veil of Tears, they convey the immediacy and intimacy of the interviews conducted by IRIN reporters, who travelled in some cases for several days to reach the remotest villages in Afghanistan.

The interviewees in the booklet talk about the struggle to get enough nutritious food to sustain a woman through pregnancy, and to feed their families on any given day; they describe the awesome distances and terrain that separate people living in the villages from the nearest health facility; they describe the lack of proper roads and transport that may leave a donkey cart as the only option to attempt a life-or-death journey with a pregnant wife or mother to a hospital; they explain the cultural and social rules that might mean decisions by men are made too late to save a woman and her baby…”

Read the full story here.

Click here for a PDF of the Veil of Tears.

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UNFPA is asking for help as they try to establish emergency obstetric services for the estimated 37,000 pregnant women affected by Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti.

ReliefWeb

“…To meet the urgent maternal health and other needs of women, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is seeking about $4.6 million as part of the coordinated United Nations Flash Appeal that will be launched today. The funding would supplement the supplies UNFPA is already providing in Haiti and address the specific needs of women, girls and other vulnerable populations for the next six months.”

Read the full story here.

Here is a list of what UNFPA will use the additional funds for:

- Refurbish maternity wards to handle emergency obstetric care and other life-saving health services

- Deploy skilled health professionals, such as midwives, obstetricians and nurses, to affected areas to provide maternal health and emergency obstetric care

- Provide emergency safe delivery and reproductive health medicines and supplies to temporary clinics and health facilities being set up

- Help safeguard the personal hygiene and dignity of women and girls by providing related sanitary supplies

- Facilitate access of affected populations, especially young people, to psychosocial counseling and other services

- Carry out interventions to prevent gender based violence.

UNFPA offers this contact information if you are looking for more info:

In Santo Domingo: Trygve Olfarnes, Tel: +507 301 7362, Satellite:

+ 898 8169 3160 0057 1740, olfarnes@unfpa.org.

In New York: Jessica Malter, Tel: + 1 212 297 5190, malter@unpfa.org

Omar Gharzeddine, Tel: + 1 212 297 5028 gharzeddine@unfpa.org

To donate directly to UNFPA, click here.

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