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Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

At a gathering of U.S. and Pakistani officials on Monday in Islamabad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that many Pakistanis believe that U.S. involvement in Pakistan “narrowly focuses” on security issues. Clinton said that the U.S. is working to change that–and will be funding several new health and development projects in Pakistan worth over $500m over the next five years.

Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

“…USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said the new projects reflect Pakistani priorities and demonstrates that the U.S. “commitment is broad and deep,” Bloomberg Businessweek writes. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative to Pakistan, noted that the focus on water is the result of a specific request from Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. “The first phase of the multi-year water program will encompass seven initiatives at a cost of $270 million and include dam irrigation projects in rural areas to control flooding, and improve water supply and quality,” the news service writes.

Another three-year $28 million health project plans to “build an obstetrics and gynecology hospital ward and training center at a hospital that handles 17,000 births a year. The health funds would also increase bed capacity at Pakistan’s largest maternity hospital, Lahore’s Lady Willingdon,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek…”

Read the full story here.

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A new paper, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, published today in the Lancet Online First, suggests that global maternal deaths have dropped from 526,300 in 1980 to 342,900 in 2008.

The Lancet

The authors of the paper, estimate that the global MMR decreased from 422 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in 1980 to 251 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in 2008. They also conclude that more than 50%  of all maternal deaths in 2008 occurred in six countries alone: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“…Our analysis of all available data for maternal mortality from 1980 to 2008 for 181 countries has shown a substantial decline in maternal deaths. Progress overall would have been greater if the HIV epidemic had not contributed to substantial increases in maternal mortality in eastern and southern Africa. Global progress to reduce the MMR has been similar to progress to reduce maternal deaths, since the size of the global birth cohort has changed little during this period. Across countries, average yearly rates of decline from 1980 to 2008 in the MMR differed widely. This new evidence suggests there is a much greater reason for optimism than has been generally perceived, and that substantial decreases in the MMR are possible over a fairly short time…”

Read the full paper here.

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Five years until the 2015 UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline and health care professionals have warned that the country is unlikely to reach its maternal and child health goals

Reuters AlertNet

Health care proffesionals in Pakistan acknowledge that the government has implemented several health initiatives to address MDG4 and 5—such as the Lady Health Visitor Programme which appears to be quite successful in rural areas—but issues like corruption, conflict, inadequate funding and a lack of monitoring and evaluation of programs are forcing Pakistan to fall behind in achieving the MDGs.

Read the full story here.

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INDIA
The Hindu

What about the third stage of labor?

A recent study performed in India as part of a Health and Population Innovation Fellowship granted by the Population Council found significant gaps in the management of the third stage of labor, the period between delivery of the baby and delivery of the placenta. These gaps are likely contributing to the high levels of maternal mortality in India. See the full story here.

PAKISTAN
www.DAWN.com

Are women in Pakistan relying on unsafe abortions as a form of birth control?

Population welfare authorities are pleased with recent findings that total fertility rates have gone down in Pakistan–leading to an assumption that access to family planning methods has gone up throughout the country. However, this article, The Untold Story of Abortion, highlights alarming data recently released by the National Committee on Maternal and Neonatal Health in collaboration with the Guttmacher Institute. The data shows that in 2002, 890 thousand induced abortions were performed in Pakistan—a large number clandestinely by untrained midwives. Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality around the world. Click here to read the full story.

PERU
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Discrimination and Maternal Mortality in Peru

This new report, Dying to Give Birth: Fighting Maternal Mortality in Peru, from the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health outlines issues of gender and ethnic discrimination that limit access and quality of care for Peruvian women. The report also contrasts Peru with countries in sub-Saharan Africa—citing differences in the way maternal deaths are distributed within countries. Read the report here.

RWANDA
allafrica.com

Medical Experts Gather to Discuss Obstetric Fistula

Policy makers, clinicians, health officials and community leaders met for a two day conference hosted by the Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Medical Association and the Fistula Care Project (managed by EngenderHealth) to design a road map to eradicate obstetric fistula in Rwanda. Click here for the full story.

Also, click here to see a piece on Huffington Post about Ana Langer, President of EngenderHealth, and the work EngenderHealth is doing to increase access to fistula surgery for women all over the world.

TANZANIA
This Day: The Voice of Transparency

Workshop in Dar es Salaam equips journalists with information on HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health

The Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation (WAMA) and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) organized a workshop in Dar es Salaam for journalists. The goal of the workshop was to empower journalists with a clear understanding of HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health issues impacting Tanzania. Journalists at the meeting agreed to focus attention on factors impeding the improvement of living conditions for women and children throughout the country. See the full story here.
Also, click here to see a post from last week about a similar workshop for journalists held in Ghana.

ZIMBABWE
RH Reality Check

Progress toward MDG5 might be slow in some places–but in Zimbabwe, the situation is actually getting worse

This piece, Zimbabwe’s Growing Crisis of Maternal Deaths, outlines the factors that have contributed to a maternal mortality ratio that has risen from 138 deaths/100,000 live births in the mid-nineties to 880 deaths/100,000 live births in 2005. See the full story here.

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BURMA
The Gov Monitor
Australia To Provide $15 Million Humanitarian Assistance For Burma
Australia will provide $15 million in humanitarian assistance for the Burmese people still suffering from the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis which struck Burma in May 2008. $1 million will support essential maternal and child health services in particularly needy rural and remote areas.

GHANA
Peace FM Online
Ghana Health Service Launches Campaign on Safe Motherhood
The GHS will launch a national campaign: “Ghana Cares; No Woman Should Die While Giving Birth” to ensure an accelerated reduction of maternal mortality.The campaign also has a subtheme: “No Woman Should Die from Bleeding during Pregnancy and Child Birth,” that will focus on hemorrhage or bleeding–a condition that significantly contributes to maternal deaths around the world.

PAKISTAN
The News
Inclusion of Reproductive Health in Curriculum Urged
Speakers at a district level advocacy seminar series organized by the World Population Foundation (WPF) said that negligence of reproductive health issues is the worst form of gender-based violence and a major factor that contributes to high maternal and infant mortality rates in the country, particularly in remote and neglected rural areas.

TANZANIA
guardian.co.uk
Abortion in Tanzania: Fighting Stigma

A major cause of maternal mortality is barely mentionable in Tanzania: abortion. Illegal unless necessary to save a woman’s life, nobody knows how significant a factor it is.

Support is Stigmatised and Scarce
Poverty, HIV and maternal mortality rates are high in Tanzania, yet religion, prejudice and logistics make access to contraception difficult. Access to family planning services is crucial in Tanzania, where the maternal mortality rate stands at 950 per 100,000 live births, higher than the average of 900 deaths per 100,000 births in sub-Saharan Africa.

UGANDA
The Pulse of Uganda
Museveni Wants Adolescents to Stop Early Marriages
Reports by the World Health Organization indicate that about 70,000 adolescent girls die every year in developing countries from diseases related to pregnancy.

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