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Posts Tagged ‘reproductive health services’

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 honor of International Women’s Day (March 8th), Pathfinder International has launched an initiative called 200 Thousand for 200 Million. The goal is to reach 200,000 shares of the Girl2Woman videos–and for every video shared, $1 will be donated to improving access to reproductive health services for the 200 million women around the world who lack adequate access to modern contraceptives.

Pathfinder International

As 2010 International Women’s Day approaches with the theme, ‘Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity,’ Pathfinder International believes a crucial aspect of improving women’s lives is missing in the current development dialogue: reproductive health.

‘How can women have equal rights and equal opportunities to have healthy, productive lives if they do not have the ability to choose if, when, and how often to have children?’ Pathfinder President Dan Pellegrom said. ‘It is a fundamental and basic human right to have access to a range of reproductive health care services.’

Pathfinder wants to ensure every woman can exercise that right. Girl2Woman.org features six videos showcasing the importance of reproductive health care throughout life. Every time a video is shared through Girl2Woman.org, a generous donor will give $1 to improve reproductive health services.

‘This International Women’s Day we need to band together, raise our voices and insist that women around the world no longer be marginalized. It impacts the civil and economic success of communities—and to be effective, it must all begin with reproductive health care,’ President Pellegrom said.”

To help raise awareness and reach the 200,000 goal, Pathfinder is urging all supporters to take 60 seconds to spread the word:

  • Visit www.Girl2Woman.org and share the videos with 5 friends
  • Post the Girl2Woman video on your blog or website
  • Tweet “200K shares for 200M women. Share videos on www.Girl2Woman.org, support women worldwide.”
  • Update your Facebook status with “200K shares for 200M women. Support women by helping www.girl2woman.org reach 200K video shares by International Women’s Day, March 8.”

For more information about the challenge or to help, please contact Linda Suttenfield, Director of Communications at lsuttenfield@pathfind.org or by phone 617- 955-2422.

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Elizabeth Payne, Editorial Board member of the Ottawa Citizen, outlines a plan/suggestion by Keith Martin, medical doctor and maternal health expert, for G8 countries to tackle maternal mortality in developing countries.

Ottawa Citizen

“…Martin says the federal government must articulate exactly what it is going to do when it comes to the G8 maternal health initiative and access to reproductive technology. ‘I hope they don’t take an ideological position.’

Harper will be ‘turning back the clock,’ Martin says, if the initiative does not include reproductive health: ‘I can’t think of another country that would take that position.’

But, he adds, the initiative is too crucial to be lost because of political debate. There is a way Canada can lead a ‘pragmatic, effective plan’ without having to directly support abortions or contraceptives.

Martin suggests each of the G8 countries could take on a different aspect of the campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality.

‘It would be a way for the conservative government to make sure what comes out of the G8 is a plan that is implemented rather than talked about,’ he said.

In order to reduce maternal mortality rates, he says, a G8 initiative should include training of primary care workers, access to medications, diagnostics, clean water, access to power, access to family planning and nutrition, particularly micro-nutrients…”

Read the full story, How to help women, and avoid abortion politics.

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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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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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Karl Hofman, President and CEO of Population Services International (PSI), argues that social marketing can be used to dramatically improve the health and lives of women—and more specifically, that social marketing can be used to address the massive unmet need for family planning services around the world.

Reproductive Health Reality Check

“…By treating women around the world as customers, by creating incentives for the private sector–which already interacts with these women–to carry life-saving products as well as soap or cooking oil, by using marketing to encourage behavior change the same way we were encouraged to wear a seat belt or are now encouraged to [use] Twitter, we reach more women and we change more lives. Social marketing can work even in circumstances where donors lose interest or politics get in the way. Because a market for a product or service, once stimulated, tends to perpetuate itself…”

Make sure to read the full story to understand how, as Hofman puts it, “Social marketing is ‘Mad Men’ meets ‘Heroes’.”

Read the full story  here.

Visit the Population Services International (PSI) site here.

To read Karl Hofman’s bio, click 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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For over two years, Amnesty International has been researching maternal health and investigating maternal death in Burkina Faso.

Amnesty International

In five days, the organization will release a report on the state of maternal health in Burkina Faso and launch a caravan campaign that will travel throughout the country raising awareness around the issue of maternal mortality.

“Amnesty International went to Burkina Faso four times to conduct research in several cities including the capital, Ouagadougou, as well as Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya and Kaya. Amnesty International also visited a dozen rural areas throughout the country. Researchers investigated over 50 cases of women who died during pregnancy and childbirth…”

Read the full story here.


Take a look at this video showing highlights of the 2009 Amnesty International maternal mortality caravan campaign in Sierra Leone:

As part of the countdown to the launch of the campaign, Amnesty International is sharing the stories of women who have died of pregnancy complications in Burkina Faso. See below for an excerpt from one of the stories:

“…Safiatou’s husband told Amnesty International: ‘The day of her delivery, she was in good health and worked all afternoon as usual without any problem. She prepared tô [a local dish made from maize flour] for her children and went to get the hay for the animals. In the evening, when her labour began, she left for her mother’s home. Her mother came to warn me that she was not well, that we had to take her to the clinic. I do not have a motorcycle, so I had to go and get one. That made us lose time.’ The husband added that he ‘did not know that she should have delivered at the clinic. When I came to fetch her at her mother’s house, she had lost consciousness.’ The husband borrowed a small motorcycle from his neighbour…”

Learn more about Safiatou here.

A man holding a picture of his wife who died in childbirth, Burkina Faso. Copyright Anna Kari

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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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Planned Parenthood Federation of America and CEMOPLAF, an Ecuadorian reproductive health organization, are working together to train Ecuadorian teens to become community health workers in the Chimborazo region of central Ecuador.

Global Health Magazine

“Ecuador has the highest adolescent fertility rate in Latin America, and this skyrockets when we’re talking about rural or indigenous youth. Among community members in the region here, just 6 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported contraceptive use, while less than half of all women reported any knowledge of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

This program meets the needs of a particularly underserved and hard-to-reach group, with a new contraceptive method, in a new way. The peer promoters hail from 15 different small communities within the region and are providing a brand new range of services to their peers. They meet weekly at a central clinic location to discuss challenges and attend trainings. There, CEMOPLAF also provides lunch, transportation costs and job-skills training.

All promoters attend a four-part extensive training, including an introduction to injections in general; training on Depo Provera in particular; and training in bio-safety procedures. They also learn about other contraceptive options, like the pill and condoms…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, click here.

To learn more about CEMOPLAF, click here.

Click here to see a previous post on this blog about a policy discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC on health workers and task-shifting.

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IRIN’s humanitarian radio journalist training project has come to an end—but as the project closes, IRIN is preparing to release Veil of Tears, a collection of photos and transcribed audio testimonies on maternal mortality in Afghanistan

“In January 2010, IRIN will be launching a 60-page photo booklet on maternal mortality issues in Afghanistan, entitled Veil of Tears. The booklet is a collection of transcribed audio testimonies on loss in childbirth, as told by Afghan women, men and children, interviewed by the IRIN Radio team from 2005-2009. This collection of intimate stories gives a unique insight into today’s Afghanistan, and serves to showcase some of the important work of the IRIN Radio project…”

Read the full story here.

Visit the IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis website here.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech comes in time for the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and marks a renewed  support for and dedication to reaching the goals of ICPD and other related UN agreements, including the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015.

ICPD called on governments and development agencies to place human beings—specifically young people and women—at the very heart of the development process. The conference also called for family planning, reproductive health, basic health and education needs to be met.

Millennium Development Goal 5 aims to improve international maternal health by reducing maternal mortality by 2/3 and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

“On Jan. 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address hundreds of health and development leaders at the State Department to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to achieving universal access to reproductive health for individual health, family well-being, broader economic development and a healthy planet.”

The speech is scheduled for 2:30 pm Friday, January 8, 2010.

The Secretary’s speech will be livestreamed at www.icpd2015.org.

For more information on the goals of ICPD and events marking the 15th anniversary, click here.

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