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Posts Tagged ‘Millennium Development Goals’

On Tuesday, September 14th, the Guardian launched a new website in collaboration with the Gates Foundation. The site is dedicated entirely to global development, was built with the Millennium Development Goals as a framework, and launched just one week before the UN Summit.

Be sure to check out the following components of the new site:

See below for the press release about the new site:

The Guardian today has launched a new website in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help focus the world’s attention on global development. The site will provide a new space for discussion and interaction on the biggest challenges affecting the lives of billions of people across the developing world, including poverty, hunger, infant mortality, adaptation to climate change and economic development.

One aim of the website, which launches just a week before a major UN summit, is to hold governments, institutions and NGOs accountable for the implementation of the United Nations millennium development goals (MDGs), which 192 countries signed up to in 2000. Huge advances have been made with many of the MDGs, and the new site will enable people around the world to better monitor how each country is performing.

For the first time, individuals will be able to access a central data store using the world’s top sources for development and aid data, through which they can access development statistics, and information. For example, users will be able to find out who has given the most aid to Pakistan, or which countries have the highest Aids rates.

Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian News & Media, said: “All too often the mainstream press ignores long-term development stories. However, it is essential to have a place where some of the biggest questions facing humanity are analysed and debated, and through which we can monitor the effectiveness of the billions of pounds of aid that flows annually into the developing world. The creation of this website is a natural step for the Guardian, which has always been internationalist in its outlook and passionate about social justice.”

Kate James, Chief Communications Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is part-funding the site along with Guardian News & Media, said: ” We are excited to be working with the Guardian on this unique project – creating a global hub for information, debate and action around global development. We welcome the Guardian’s commitment to bringing together and galvanizing the community engaged on these issues and believe that, in doing so, this hub can play an important role in putting a spotlight on global health and development.”

The website features the best of the Guardian’s writers on development, including Madeleine Bunting, Sarah Boseley, Larry Elliott and John Vidal, as well as bringing together a selection of the most distinctive development blogs from around the world and a monthly ‘Poverty Matters’ podcast. In keeping with guardian.co.uk’s mutualisation strategy, the website will focus on linked reporting and response, giving readers the ability to follow conversations and debates, compare sources and links, and get involved.

It is also being supported by more than 20 of the world’s leading development experts, including Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen and American economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeff Sachs.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation is holding a policy forum (open to the public) where experts will comment on progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5–and explore the role of the U.S. in improving global maternal and child health. The event will take place on May 24th, from 9:30am to 11:00am ET at the Foundation’s Washington D.C. office.

The Kaiser Family Foundation

“…Recently published data from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) show some progress in improving maternal health globally in recent years, though substantially more progress will be needed to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by 2015...

…The expert panel discussion will include Jennifer Klein, senior advisor on global women’s issues at the U.S. Department of State; Flavia Bustreo, director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, World Health Organization; Ana Langer, president, EngenderHealth; Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington; and Jen Kates, vice president and director of Global Health Policy and HIV, Kaiser Family Foundation.  Foundation Executive Vice President Diane Rowland will moderate…”

For event details and information on how to RSVP, click here. You will also find information on how to view the archived webcast of the event.

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Today, May 5th, is International Day of the Midwife—and UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives have released a joint statement calling on world leaders to address the shortage of 350,000 midwives around the world. Their statement explains that increased investments in training midwives are critical to reaching the most marginalized communities–who typically lack access to health services.

UNFPA

“…The UNFPA and ICM point out that midwives can prevent up to 90 per cent of maternal deaths where they are authorized to practice their competencies and play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. They have a critical role in providing family planning, counselling, and preventing HIV transmission from mother to child.

As the world gears up for the 10-year review of the Millennium Development Goals, both organizations will be campaigning to increase funding for goals 4, 5 and 6 to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV and AIDS.

We look forward to the high-level Midwifery Symposium from 5 to 6 June in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding the Women Deliver Conference. The symposium aims to raise awareness around the core role of midwifery services in achieving MDGs 4, 5 and 6; address challenges in global standards on education and regulation of midwives; and strengthen midwifery services…”

Read the full statement.

Also, take a look at this video statement of the President of the International Confederation of Midwives, Bridget Lynch.

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In honor of World Health Day, I wrote a post for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases blog, End the Neglect. The post looks at the relationship between these two historically neglected global health issues–and calls for more integration.

End the Neglect

“The theme of this year’s World Health Day is “Urbanization and Health.” Maternal mortality and morbidity, and neglected tropical diseases have a hugely debilitating impact on urban slum populations—who often lack access to health services. I would like to take this day to celebrate the increased attention to the connected issues of neglected tropical diseases and maternal health and to highlight the importance of a comprehensive, integrated approach to maternal health. This sort of approach not only includes universal access to reproductive health services but also addresses neglected tropical diseases—and their impact on maternal morbidity and mortality…”

Read the full post, Women and NTDs: Shared History, Shared Hope.

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Screenshot from Women Deliver conference website.

 

Women Deliver 

Volunteer at the conference and receive free registration for the conference, including three days of panel presentations and breakout sessions; access to Tuesday’s Technology Symposium and to the Exhibition Hall; and a Women Deliver volunteer t-shirt.

The conference will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC from June 7th to the 9th, 2010. The deadline to apply to volunteer is March 31st, 2010.

For details on eligibility and information on the various volunteer assignments, click here!

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Immpact is looking for a researcher to conduct a scientific literature review of the quality of international maternal health care—and prepare proposals/implementation of formative research studies to improve quality of maternal health services in developing countries.

Immpact

Screenshot from Immpact website.

About Immpact and their current research activities

Immpact is a research unit at the University of Aberdeen with a focus on knowledge generation, knowledge management and knowledge transfer dedicated to reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in developing countries. This is a global research initiative whose aim is to promote better health and is closely linked with global efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015, especially those related to maternal mortality reduction.

Immpact has recently been awarded funding by the Norwegian Government to conduct multiple research activities related to improving the quality of maternal care in developing countries, including systematic literature reviews, formative research and developing a large-scale international field trial testing package of quality of delivery care interventions including birth kits.    The current focus of the research project is India and a few selected African countries.

This initiative will contribute to the better conceptual understanding of quality of care available via maternal health services and will generate evidence on the means improving maternal care in the context of developing countries.

The study will improve the quality of delivery care and strengthen health systems, and thus impact upon maternal mortality. The key potential outputs will be:

  • Scientific literature reviews to describe status of quality of maternal care and to identify the effective health systems interventions in developing countries.
  • Prioritisation and pre-testing of promising targeted interventions through series of formative research activities
  • Robust evaluation of the quality of a delivery care intervention package in target developing countries”

Download the full job description here.

See the online posting here.

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The government of Sierra Leone has announced an end to health center user fees for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five. Questions remain regarding the multiple factors that contribute to maternal death in Sierra Leone.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

In this story, IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis takes a closer look at the issue of maternal mortality and raises concerns regarding the various factors leading to extremely high levels of maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, factors that will likely not be addressed by a quick-fix abolition of user fees.

“…C.T.H. Bell, a gynaecologist with the privately owned New Life hospital in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, says that more critical than free treatment is speed of decision-making in the home, an efficient transport infrastructure, and prompt treatment on arrival at a health centre…

…Monir Islam, head of WHO’s Making Pregnancies Safer Programme, told IRIN poor roads and a lack of ambulances made it hard for people from rural areas to get to a city for emergency care. ‘Free care means little on its own. If women cannot make it to a centre, what good is free care?’…”

Read the full story, Free Care for Expectant Mothers: Is it Enough?

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A recent study by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Population Council of India outlines just how prevalent early marriage remains in many parts of India.

Bernama.com (Malaysian National News Agency)

This article cites many of the findings of the recent study in India by IIPS and the Population Council. It also raises several of the implications of early marriage in India—including unintended pregnancies and infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Read the full story, Child Wedlock Still Haunts India.

For more information on the Population Council’s work in India, click here.

This story, in Times of India, offers more information on the state of reproductive health among youth in India.

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Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, the Iranian Health Minister, spoke to a group of people in Hendoodar, in the central province, about the state of maternal health in Iran.

Tehran Times

She described major improvements in maternal health and pointed to shortages in specialized human resources as the major challenge in eliminating maternal mortality in Iran. She also highlighted a new nursing and midwifery training program in the city—and discussed the importance of such projects.

Photo Credit: Tehran Times

Read the full story here.

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Global health activist, member of the Maternal Health Task Force Editorial Committee and film-maker, Lisa Russell, has teamed up with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena, to launch a new media project called MDGFive.com. The project is a collaborative effort of international organizations and artists committed to bringing awareness to maternal health.

RH Reality Check

In a February 16th, 2010 post on RH Reality Check, Lisa described the new project:

“As a global health activist and filmmaker, I believe in the power of
 imagery, sound and the spoken word to inspire cultural exchange, unite
 international communities, and to promote social progress worldwide,
 yet I see a large disconnect between the humanitarian world and the
 creative communities who have an incredible impact on their societies
at the local level when it comes to global health advocacy.

I would like to see greater communication and partnerships between 
these two worlds to address issues of women/motherhood/maternal health.
 Therefore, I am developing – in collaboration with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena – a new media “mash up” project called MDGFive.com.  We are collaborating with international organizations and artists to bring awareness to maternal health.

MDGFive.com‘ is a new media site that solicits creative content
 from artists around the world (musicians, filmmakers, poets, djs, etc)
 who work at either the global or country level.  Activists can access 
these 30-60 second license free clips to download and create their own 
personalized PSA’s which can be forwarded to their networks,
 development institutions and policy makers.  It offers an opportunity 
for artists and activists from both the developed and developing world
 to work together, share resources and contribute their talents to help 
create a global, *artistic* movement for women’s health.”

Read the full piece on RH Reality Check here.

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The Grameen Foundation, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Ghana Health Service are working together on a project called Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH). This joint initiative, funded by the Gates Foundation,  is exploring how to best use mobile phones to increase quality and quantity of maternal and neonatal health services in Ghana.

MobileActive.org

“…For example, a woman might come in for a health check-up when she’s 12 or 14 weeks pregnant, at which point she would be registered into the MoTeCH system. She would then be on track to receive two kinds of messages: informative texts and action texts. The informative texts simply tell the parents what to expect (i.e., developmental stages) during a pregnancy, while the action texts encourage parents to make clinic visits based on their personal histories (such as needs for shots or follow-up appointments).

The other target audience of MoTeCH is community health workers who provide the vast majority of primary care in much of the developing world. The workers use mobile phones to enter data such as when they have seen a patient and what kind of treatment these patients received. Data is then compiled to more easily track patients.

The idea behind MoTeCH is to link the two systems so that the messages can be more specifically targeted and tailored to the needs of the individual parents; for example, if a pregnant woman misses a tetanus shot, the community health workers’ records will show how many weeks along she is and she can be easily sent a reminder. Similarly, messages can be sent to village community health workers alerting them to patients who are in need of specific services in order to locate the patient and encourage him or her to get treatment. ‘It gets community health care workers out of the clinic and seeking patients who need care a little bit more immediately,’ said Wood…”

Read the full story here.

For more info on the subject, take a look at Dying for Cell Phones (Literally).

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Life span improves for Shanghainese

Shanghai Daily

The people of Shanghai are living longer—and they are seeing improvements in maternal and infant health, and infectious diseases. For the first time ever, levels of maternal death have dropped to (almost) meet the average for developed countries.

Read about it here.

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National Public Radio

“During the Bush administration, conservatives opposed even the use of the term “reproductive health services.” U.S. support for family planning abroad declined significantly. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that under the Obama administration, millions of women worldwide will have greater access to family planning, contraception and HIV counseling and treatment.”

Listen to the story here.

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A NOW team from PBS recently went to Haiti to investigate high levels of maternal mortality in the country. They happened to be in the Haiti when the earthquake hit. In collaboration with the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR), a non-profit video news production company, PBS produced Saving Haiti’s Mothers, a show that examines the state of maternal health in Haiti before the earthquake and immediately following it.

NOW on PBS

“Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, in addition to leaving lives and institutions in ruin, also exacerbated a longtime lethal risk in Haiti: Dying during childbirth. Challenges in transportation, education, and quality health care contribute to Haiti having the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, a national crisis even before the earthquake struck. While great strides are being made with global health issues like HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality figures worldwide have seen virtually no improvement in 20 years. Worldwide, over 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy. This week, a NOW team that had been working in Haiti during the earthquake reports on this deadly but correctable trend. They meet members of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), which operates a network of health agents in more than 100 villages, engaging in pre-natal visits, education, and emergency ambulance runs for pregnant women…”

Read the full story and watch the special here.

Learn more about Haitian Health Foundation, UNFPA, and Family Care International—all organizations featured in the show.

Visit the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR) site here.

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According to UNFPA, Timor-Leste has a maternal mortality ratio of 660 deaths/100,000 live births

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

Women in rural areas have little to no information on reproductive health. Photo by David Swanson/IRIN

“According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), women in Timor-Leste – the world’s newest independent nation and also Asia’s poorest – give birth to an average 6.38 children during their lifetime, one of the highest fertility rates in the world and second only to Afghanistan.  Melinda Mousaco, the country director for Marie Stopes International Timor Leste, told IRIN that awareness of family planning and reproductive health, particularly in rural areas, is ‘next to nothing’.

‘Because of a lack of education, accidental pregnancies happen frequently,’ she said. ‘When we show basic reproductive anatomy or give information about women’s menstrual cycles, people often tell us ‘this is the first time I’ve heard this’.’

Timor-Leste gained formal independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a long separatist struggle and a surge of violence in 1999, and health experts cite conflict and unemployment as key factors in the country’s high population growth…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on UNFPA in Timor-Leste, click here.

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