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Archive for the ‘the Millennium Development Goals and the Media’ Category

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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As part of the Pulitzer Center’s commitment to raising awareness for the under-reported issue of global maternal mortality, the center has launched a new interactive site , Dying for Life, dedicated to maternal health reporting projects.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

“Dying for Life is a response to this crisis [maternal ill health and death], viewing motherhood as a continuum that encompasses reproductive health, family planning, pregnancy, childbirth and infant and maternal mortality. Our forward-looking reporting includes dispatches from Guinea Bissau, India, Mexico, Ethiopia and Nigeria. We hope you’ll join the global conversation by engaging with the journalists, and sharing your own stories about maternal health and its impact on your community.”

Click here to visit, Dying for Life, the new interactive site.

The Pulitzer Center has also partnered with Helium to launch a Global Maternal Health Writing Contest, launched on May 24th.

“We want to know your thoughts on questions raised by Pulitzer Center-sponsored reporting projects around the globe – and the winning essays will be showcased on the Pulitzer Center’s website and on Helium. Winning writers will also receive a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award.”

The deadline for the Global Maternal Health Writing Contest is Thursday June 24 and winners will be announced on Wednesday July 7.

Click here for contest details.

Click here for information on recent Pulitzer Center reporting projects with a focus on maternal health.

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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 mobile cinema, backed by UNICEF, is traveling from village to village in Mali screening films that encourage communities to talk openly about maternal and child health issues. After the screening, project leaders hold open discussions with communities about female genital cutting—and the health implications of the practice.

SOS Children’s Villages

“More than 85 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 in Mali have been circumcised, a practice that has many harmful physical and psychological effects. Across the world, the figure is up to 140 million women and girls in 28 countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East. ‘The female genital mutilation or cutting poses immediate and long-term consequences for the health of women and girls and violates their human rights’, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday, before the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation.
The mobile cinema, backed by UNICEF, turned Djènèba Doumbia’s attitudes on the practice on their head. Since seeing the film, she no longer supports female cutting and now does not want to pass the tradition on to the daughters of the community. ‘I tell all women not to circumcise their daughters, to leave them as they are, because we realize that the disadvantages of this practice are numerous and real,’ said Ms Doumbia. ‘So if they let the girls be, the whole family benefits.’ Women at the aftershow discussion hear how those who have been cut are more likely than uncut women to have complications in and after childbirth…”

Read the full story 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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The Pulitzer Center recently asked readers and Twitter followers what international stories deserve more attention in the year ahead and settled on a list of five crises–including maternal mortality–to focus on in 2010.

Untold Stories: The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

” As an organization whose primary mission is to surface under-reported global issues, we know all too well that the number of such stories reaches far beyond what any short list could capture. Every month we receive proposals for stories around the world that deserve our attention. While last year we were able to support close to 50 global reporting projects, we cannot count the number of compelling proposals we had to turn down. In selecting the issues for this list that we feel are most important to highlight in the upcoming year, we focused on overarching systemic crises that we have covered and believe are important to continue covering.”
The center has decided to focus on maternal mortality, water, food insecurity, women and children issues, and fragile states in 2010.

A Focus on Maternal Mortality

“According to the World Health Organization, hundreds of thousands of women die each year from complications from childbirth due to ineffective or inaccessible health care. The Pulitzer Center has funded work on this issue with its reporting project covering maternal mortality in Guinea-Bissau and will focus on maternal mortality in more depth and across multiple regions in 2010.”

Click here for a recent post on this blog that highlights the Pulitzer Center’s current coverage of maternal mortality in Guinea-Bissau.

Click here to read more about the Pulitzer Center’s focus on food insecurity, water, women and children issues, and fragile states.

Click here to visit the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting website.

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