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Posts Tagged ‘neonatal health’

In my last few weeks at the Maternal Health Task Force, I have been working with Raji Mohanam, Knowledge Management Specialist at the MHTF, Matthew Meschery, Director of Digital Initiatives at ITVS, and Lisa Russell, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of MDGFive.com, and an incredible team of presenters, to coordinate a panel presentation on digital tools for maternal health for the Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi. Take a look below for a post I wrote for the MHTF Blog about the upcoming panel session–with info on how to participate remotely.

I am off to India tomorrow! Check back next week for posts from the conference.

The upcoming Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi (August 30th-September 1st) will focus on lessons learned, neglected issues, and innovative approaches to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. The anticipated outcome of the conference is increased consensus around the evidence, programs and advocacy needed to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

One session, Maternal Health Digital, will showcase a number of digital communication tools being applied to maternal health. Matthew Meschery, Director of Digital Initiatives at the Independent Television Service, will moderate the session—and will guide panelists and participants through a lively discussion that will explore the potential of digital tools to improve the health of women around the world. Panelists will also address questions about how to measure the impact of such projects.

Throughout the session, conference participants will learn about an email help desk that is aiming to increase access to misoprostol and mifepristine, a mobile phone and radio initiative that is aiming to improve delivery of maternal and neonatal health services, an online media “mash-up” tool that is enabling users to make their own advocacy videos, a crowd-sourcing project that is tapping into the knowledge of front-line maternal health care providers in 9 languages, and more.

This exciting session will include presentations from Google.orgWomen on WebZMQ Software SystemsHealth ChildMDGFive.com, the Social Media Research Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis ReportingUniversity of Oxford, the Maternal Health Task Force, and the Independent Television Service.

Take a look at the session summary:

In recent years, the health, technology, and communication sectors have come together to innovate health communications through the use of digital media. Advances in tools for cross-media storytelling, social networking, digital games, real-time messaging, and mobile and location-aware technologies are being adapted to fit the needs of the maternal health community—and are helping to fuel the increased momentum around the issue. In this interactive session, conference participants will learn about a diverse range of innovative projects that are aiming to identify challenges and solutions for providing care to pregnant women, build stronger connections among maternal health organizations, create new ways to collect and use data, foster increased collaboration through engaging communities, and continue to drive attention toward the issue. As well as highlighting the promise of these new tools, we will also look at some specific challenges such as measuring impact, working in areas with limited connectivity, and merging online and offline strategies. There will be a series of mini-presentations on crowd-sourcing, interactive mapping, a media mash-up tool, an online reporting hub, mobile health campaigns, and more. Participants will not only get an over-view of a wide variety of strategies and recent developments in digital health communications—but they will also learn tips for applying many of these new tools to their own work and engage in a dialogue around how to maximize the utility of these technologies in order to significantly improve the health of women around the world.

This session will be live streamed! Click here for the live stream schedule.

Join the discussion via Twitter! Conference hashtag: #GMHC2010, Session hashtag: #GMHC2010Digital


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A recent study in the Lancet took a close look at a conditional cash transfer scheme to entice women to deliver in health facilities. The scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), aims to reduce maternal, perinatal, and neonatal mortality.

Published along side the study was a commentary by Vinod K. Paul that summarizes several of the key findings of the study–pointing out successes and challenges with the scheme.

“…In just 4 years, its beneficiaries multiplied 11-fold, from 0·74 million in 2005—06 to 8·43 million in 2008—09 (thus covering nearly a third of the 26 million women who deliver in the country annually). Budgetary allocation for the JSY increased from a mere US$8·5 million to $275 million in the same period. Surely, it is time to ask the question about what health outcomes are achieved by this massive and expensive investment and effort. On the face of it, by promoting a strategy of deliveries in the facilities, attended by skilled providers, JSY should lead to a reduction of maternal, perinatal, and neonatal mortality…”

Click here to read the full commentary. You will need to register (free) with the Lancet to access this article.

Excerpt from a Washington Post story on the study:

“…The payment program seems to be working, according to Indian health workers and researchers who conducted the study for the Lancet.

‘The cash payments mean that India is really starting to invest in women. That trickles out to the rest of the family and the rest of society,’ said Marie-Claire Mutanda, a health specialist with UNICEF, which is supporting the program.

In two of the poorest states in India — Bihar and Uttar Pradesh — the number of women giving birth in medical facilities soared from less than 20 percent in 2005 to nearly 50 percent in 2008, according to the most recent data available.

Doctors here attribute that to the payment program, whose Hindi name translates to ‘women protection scheme’…”

Click here to read the full story in the Washington Post.

Click here to read the study, India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana, a conditional cash transfer programme to increase births in health facilities: an impact evaluation, in the Lancet. You will need to register (free) with the Lancet to access this article.

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Today, July 12th, marks six months since the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti earlier this year, killing more than 200,000 people.  An article, published today on Relief Web, outlines several of the components of the national health plan of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (with support from UNFPA) that was developed after the earthquake. The plan includes reviving the National School of Nurses and Midwives to reestablish midwifery training programs, working with UNICEF to set up clinics to provide skilled reproductive health services and basic emergency newborn care, supporting the Haitian Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to improve referral systems for maternal and neonatal services, and a variety of other activities to reduce morbidity and mortality among Haiti’s most vulnerable populations.

Relief Web

Excerpt from the article:

“…Life in the temporary camps poses a number of health challenges, especially for women and girls. Living in tight, often insecure quarters with minimal access to sanitation can expose women and girls to sexual violence and other dangers.

Over the past months, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has provided maternal health supplies, including birthing kits to serve a population of 2 million people, as well as 22,000 hygiene kits aimed at the female population living in temporary camps, along with nearly 1,000 tents, 2000 mattresses and 17,000 solar lamps…”

Click here for the full story.

For information on UNFPA’s work in Haiti, click here.

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In an effort to improve the reproductive health, maternal and neonatal health, maternal and child nutrition and access/use of vaccines of the poorest 20% of Mesoamerica (which translates to 8 million people in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize and the southern states of Mexico), the Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Health Institute, the Spanish government and the Inter-American Development Bank have formed an innovative public-private partnership–called Salud Mesoamerica 2015.

IDB (Inter-American Development Bank)

“…Salud Mesoamérica 2015 will work in partnership with the health ministries of Mesoamerican countries and in close coordination with the Mesoamerican Public Health System. This system is part of the regional integration platform known as Proyecto Mesoamérica.

In contrast to many other international programs, countries will not compete for resources under SM2015, because amounts will be allocated per country over a five-year period based on their poverty and health inequality status. Moreover, governments themselves will determine the projects that will be financed by the Initiative within the identified areas…”

Read the full story.

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Join Dr. Harry Strulovici, Founder and President of Life for Mothers, Director of  the International Maternal Health Initiative within the Division of Reproductive Global Health and  Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NYU School of Medicine; Julie McLaughlin, the Sector Manager for Health, Nutrition and Population in the South Asia Region of the World Bank; and Samuel Mills MD DrPH, a consultant in the Health, Nutrition and Population Unit of the Human Development Network for a presentation and Q&A  at the World Bank on reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda through a holistic approach.

Life for Mothers

When: Jun 15, 2010, 12:30-2pm

Where: World Bank: 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433

What : Presentation on a Holistic Strategy To Reduce Maternal/Neonatal Mortality in Uganda

Who:

  • Dr. Harry Strulovici, director of  the International Maternal Health Initiative within the Division of Reproductive Global Health and  Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NYU School of Medicine
  • Julie McLaughlin,the Sector Manager for Health, Nutrition and Population in the South Asia Region of the World Bank
  • Samuel Mills MD DrPH, a consultant in the Health, Nutrition and Population Unit of the Human Development Network at the World Bank

Schedule of events: Lecture with Q&A

RSVP: Contact Victor Arias at varias@worldbank.org

Click here for more details.

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Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) and mHealth Alliance are holding a free online conference this Wednesday (May 5th) to discuss how mobile technologies can improve family planning and maternal and newborn health services in developing countries.

The conference will include live discussions with mHealth leaders on a variety of topics including strengthening community health workers; open source trends and implications; and gender, phones and reproductive health. The themes of the three panel discussions will be mHealth interventions along the continuum of care, mHealth applications addressing different stakeholder needs, and cross-cutting mHealth issues.

Click here to view the conference schedule and to register as a participant.

Click here for a March 13 post on this conference with additional background information.

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The Seattle Times reports on a rise in Gates Foundation funding for programs that aim to improve maternal and newborn health–and according to Melinda Gates, investing in the health of moms and babies saves lives at a far lower cost than treating diseases later on.

The Seattle Times

“…Gates talked about teaching a method known as “Kangaroo Mother Care,” which encourages mothers to wrap and hold their babies until they can maintain their own body temperature. (In fact a study published this week found that “kangaroo mother care” cut newborn deaths by more than 50 percent and was more effective than incubators). Inexpensive drugs can also prevent mothers from hemorrhaging in childbirth.

Such a comprehensive program, together with contraception, could cut maternal deaths by 75 percent and reduce newborn deaths by 44 percent, she said…”

Read the full article, Melinda Gates: Foundation Investing More in Mothers and Newborns.

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