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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Tuesday (6/8) marked day two of Women Deliver 2010. Day two was all about innovation and (high and low) technology to improve the health of women and infants worldwide–in fact, the conference organizers marketed Tuesday’s sessions as a stand-alone symposium called Technology as a Catalyst for Social Transformation.

Take a look at two examples of technologies that were discussed at the conference on Tuesday…

Microbicide Vaginal Rings (High Tech)

“The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) today announced the initiation of the first trial among women in Africa testing a vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral drug (ARV) that could one day be used to prevent HIV transmission during sex. The clinical trial, known as IPM 015, tests the safety and acceptability of an innovative approach that adapts a successful technology from the reproductive health field to give women around the world a tool to protect themselves from HIV infection…”

Read the full press release here.

Clean Delivery Kits (Low Tech)

Clean Birth Kits–Potential to Deliver?, a publication supported by Save the Children/Saving Newborn Lives, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immpact (University of Aberdeen), and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, was released at a session at Women Deliver yesterday. The session was chaired by Claudia Morrissey of Save the Children; moderated by Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet; and presenters included Wendy Graham of University of Aberdeen, and Haris Ahmed of PAIMAN. The goal of the session was to summarise the evidence base for clean delivery kits, discuss practical implementation experiences from the field, and to have a lively debate on the “risks” associated with promoting birth kits. The report will be available online soon.

Subscribe to the MHTF Blog for updates on this project/report–as well as updates on other MHTF projects and commentary on a variety of maternal health issues.

Check out a recent blog post, A Good Idea or an Expensive Diversion: Workshop on the Evidence Base for Clean Birth Kits, by Ann Blanc, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, on a workshop leading up to the new report on delivery kits.

Click here for the webcast of a session at Women Deliver 2010 that explores “What’s on the Horizon” for new technologies in contraception.

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Dr. Fred Sai is co-host of Women Deliver 2010, former reproductive health and HIV/AIDS advisor to the Ghanaian government, and has spent 40 years working to improve the health of women and children in Ghana and throughout Africa.  In his June 2nd blog post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health, on the ONE Blog, Dr. Sai comments on the new maternal mortality estimates published in the Lancet that show a dramatic reduction in global maternal deaths–and asks questions about why Africa (as a whole) has not seen these same reductions. He also expresses confidence that a shift in approach (described in his post) will lead to major improvements in the health of women and children throughout Africa.

The ONE Blog

“…It is an unfortunate truth that progress for the world at large does not necessarily mean progress for Africa. In 1980, almost a quarter of maternal deaths occurred in African countries. Today that figure has doubled to more than half. All but one of the 30 countries with the worst maternal mortality statistics are in Africa. And while countries like Ghana and Rwanda have seen a steady decline in maternal deaths over the past 15 years, others such as Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire actually have higher maternal mortality rates than they did in 1990.

Addressing maternal mortality in Africa is complex and challenging. Our countries face increasing rates of HIV, entrenched and debilitating poverty, food shortages, weak education and health care systems, problematic governance, corruption, and civil conflict. These are huge issues in their own right, but they also have significant impact on maternal, newborn and child health. The challenges, however, are not the whole story…”

Read the full post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health.

For additional reactions to the Lancet publication from other leaders in the maternal health field, click here.

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Tonight at 8pm (ET) the ONE campaign will hold an interactive conference call on maternal health with the President of ONE, David Lane, and supermodel/maternal health activist, Christy Turlington Burns, who recently screened her new film on maternal health, No Woman, No Cry, at the Tribeca Film Festival. Christy will also participate in a panel at Women Deliver about the role of media in raising awareness for global health issues.

Women Deliver News

Letter from Christy Turlington Burns to ONE members:

I recently traveled to Africa with ONE, and I want to tell you about what I saw there and what it means for our work empowering women globally to fight poverty and disease. May I give you a ring at 8 PM (ET) this Thursday, May 13, for an interactive conference call? Let me know by RSVPing with your phone number here: David Lane, ONE’s president and CEO, will be joining us on this call. We have exciting news to share with you about ONE’s budget campaign, the Women ONE2ONE initiative, and programs promoting the health and well-being of African women and children. And of course, you’ll have a chance to ask us questions and learn how to get more involved with ONE. All I need is your number and ONE’s conference call technology will do the rest. You’ll just have to answer your phone at 8 PM (ET) on Thursday. And if you want, you can also follow along through a video feed on ONE’s website. Later this week, we’ll send you a link to the conference call website where you can see David and me on video, submit questions, chat with other ONE members and more. So watch your email for that!

Talk to you soon,

Christy Turlington Burns
ONE Member

Click here for information on how to join the call.

Click here to visit Every Mother Counts, the new maternal health website launched with the film, No Woman No Cry.

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An editorial published in the Globe and Mail on Monday calls on Canadians to “abandon posturing over funding abortion overseas,” and turn to a new focus for their plans to improve maternal health abroad: a new facility focused entirely on maternal and child health at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The idea is that this model would allow recipients of funds to decide on the interventions that work in their particular countries, in their specific social contexts.

The Globe and Mail

“…The recent political debate on maternal mortality has focused on unsafe abortions, but this is a distraction. Unsafe abortions do account for some of these pregnancy-related deaths and the reality of abortion services in Africa is a horror. But given that abortion is highly restricted for 90 per cent of Africans, and wholly illegal in 14 countries, the G8 would accomplish little by focusing on the issue. The bigger task – and one where the G8 can actually make a difference – is empowering women to have more control over their sexual lives, by increasing access to family planning and ensuring that pregnant women have access to care when they are ready to deliver…”

Read the full editorial, When it comes to maternal health, let Africans decide.

Be sure to take a look at the comments section of the editorial.

For more coverage of the G8/G20 in the Globe and Mail, 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 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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Voice of America

Click here to read this report on Margaret Chan’s speech regarding the current state of health in Africa. She sites progress in tackling Malaria and HIV and improvements in child health, but she expresses sadness at the lack of success in reducing maternal mortality and addressing gender-based violence.

Read the full article.

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