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Posts Tagged ‘funding’

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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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative, the Maternal Health Task Force, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) invite you to attend (or watch online) the fifth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health: Improving Transportation and Referral for Maternal Health. The event will be held on May 20th from 3-5pm in Washington, D.C.

The MHTF Blog

“…Access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care are key solutions to improving maternal morality, yet functioning referral systems and poor road infrastructure delay efficient care. Increased research, funding, knowledge sharing, and coordination between private and public sectors are necessary to make transportation and referral a global health priority.

Today’s discussion will highlight the lessons and knowledge gaps identified at a Wilson Center workshop in Washington DC with 25 experts from the transportation and maternal health communities, as well as representatives from the private sector and donor community.

Víctor Conde Altamirano, obstetric nets manager, CARE-Bolivia will discuss how transportation and referral data is being incorporated into Bolivia’s health system to improve maternal health. John Koku Awoonor-Williams, east regional director, Ghana Health Service, will address the utilization and maintenance of ambulances in rural Ghana. Subodh Satyawadi, chief operating officer, GVK Emergency Management Institute will discuss the lessons learned and challenges faced through India’s “Emergency 108” call system. Strategies and recommendations identified at the Wilson Center workshop in Washington DC will be provided by Patricia Bailey, public health specialist, Family Health International…”

Click here for event details, information on how to RSVP or watch the live/archived webcast, and additional info on the series!

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In the wake of the recent maternal mortality estimates published in the Lancet, much of my time at my day job with the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) has been spent requesting and compiling reactions to the new estimates from a variety of leaders in the maternal health field.

The MHTF Blog

We tracked down responses to the new estimates from numerous maternal health organizations and professionals from a variety of disciplines including policy analysts, advocates, filmmakers, public health programmers, and researchers.  Their short blog posts provide diverse perspectives on what these new estimates really mean, the potential of the estimates to influence global health funding and policies, and recommendations for where to go from here.

Take a look at what several leading organizations and individuals had to say about the new maternal mortality estimates:

Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD)

Dr. Ana Langer, EngenderHealth

Ann M. Starrs, Family Care International

Claire Bangser, Ashoka

Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, JHPIEGO

Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment, (IMMPACT)

Jeremy Shiffman, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Lisa Russell, Governess Films and MDGfive.com

Dr. Marco Gomez, Centre for Health Policy and Innovation

Meg Wirth, Maternova

I hope you enjoy reading their responses–please let me know your thoughts!

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Sarah Boseley reflects on the new maternal mortality estimates published today in the Lancet. She talks with Chris Murray , Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, about his research–and raises tough questions regarding the implications of the new data. For example: “Does it mean we need more money for maternal health or less?”

 Sarah Boseley’s Global Health Blog

“…It’s remarkable news – and all the more remarkable because it’s been happening without anyone realising it. It’s like waking up and finding somebody has demolished the ugly old building across the road and planted trees instead. Hard to believe the scenery has changed quite so dramatically. The new optimistic outlook will take some getting used to. This is what Dr Murray told me.

The whole community has been living off 500,000 women dying a year for the last 30 years. That’s fed a sense of almost pessimism that it is difficult to change maternal mortality.

Murray and colleagues have got new data, that has not been systematically put together in the past, and new tools…”

Read the full story, Saving Women’s Lives in Childbirth–It’s More Possible Than We Thought.

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Round 5 of the Grand Challenges Explorations Initiative is focused on New Technologies to Improve the Health of Mothers and Newborns.

MHTF Blog

“…The goal of the initiative is to foster innovation in global health research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports this initiative and will make initial grants of $100,000–and successful projects will have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million…

…This is the first GCE topic focused entirely on maternal and neonatal health. The goal is to solicit novel and innovative technologies to reduce maternal, fetal or neonatal mortality and morbidity…”

For more information on the Grand Challenges Explorations Initiative–including information on how to apply–read the full post on the MHTF Blog here.

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President Obama made his budget announcement—leaving some organizations  pleased with the increases in funding for maternal and child health, family planning, and malaria while others wonder if, “scarcity of cash means AIDS has to be played off against maternal health, when both urgently need more money.”

Sarah Boseley’s Global Health Blog

“Hot on the heels of the Gates Foundation $10 billion donation to vaccines and Bill and Melinda’s impassioned pleas to governments to increase their aid comes President Obama’s budget announcement, which has attracted both praise and blame.

Among those who say he is a good guy is the Global Health Council, lauding him for a 9% increase in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget request to Congress. This is their analysis of how the money is to be parceled out.

The Council is happy that there are increases for maternal and child health and malaria and family planning (Obama lifted the Global Gag or Mexico City rule imposed by Bush which prevented any US funds going to overseas organisations including UN agencies which were prepared even to discuss abortion with women).

But other organisations are not happy and foremost among the critics is the formidable Jeff Sachs of Columbia University, who has labelled the budget request a Very Big Disappointment…”

Read the full story here.

Also, take a look at Serra Sippel’s post, Obama’s Global Health Initiative: Getting It Right The First Time Around on Huffington Post.

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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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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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Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the western hemisphere (670 maternal deaths/100,000 live births)—and UNFPA warns that this number will likely sky-rocket following the massive earthquake on Tuesday.

UN News Center

“WHO is helping to collect data on the health impact of the earthquake and is also deploying a 12-member team comprising experts in mass casualty management, coordination of emergency health response and the management of dead bodies.

UNICEF, whose offices have been badly damaged, said it will help children continue their schooling and provide safe play areas while their caretakers rebuild their lives.

Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) cautioned that thousands of women at risk from complications and death related to pregnancy and childbirth are in danger due to the earthquake.

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rates in the region, with 670 deaths per 100,000 live births, and this figure is set to skyrocket due to yesterday’s powerful tremors…”

Read the full story here.

For a list of organizations you can contribute to who are helping in Haiti, click here.

Make a donation now via text message:

Text “Haiti” to 90999 – donates $10 to the Red Cross

Text “Yele” to 501501 – donates $5 to YELE HAITI

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Watch and share Pathfinder’s video, Girl2Woman, that outlines the challenges related to sexual and reproductive health that girls face throughout their lives.

Every video shared raises $1 for Pathfinder International programs—-up to $1 million. Visit the Girl2Woman site to see more information about the initiative and an interactive time line that outlines stages of life and highlights the work that Pathfinder International does to help women at each stage. At the Girl2Woman site, you can also fill out a form to share the video with your contacts.

To learn more about Pathfinder International, click 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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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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Brain-drain, a poorly funded public health system, professional negligence, poor communication and  supply shortages all seem to be factoring into this spike in maternal mortality

Relief Web

“Figures showing a rise in the number of women dying in childbirth have only confirmed the multiple challenges facing maternity provision in Kyrgyzstan, which is short of qualified hospital staff, medical supplies and equipment. From January to the end of August, the latest period for which national data are available, 58 deaths were recorded among mothers during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-delivery period. The figure for eight months was ten more than for the whole of 2008. The figures were announced at a national congress of Kyrgyzstan midwives, paediatricians and paediatric surgeons held in the capital Bishkek on October 29-30. As the meeting took place, investigations were continuing into the deaths of four women at Bishkek’s perinatal centre between July 1 and August 18…”

Read the full story here.

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Conflict and instability make the Democratic Republic of Congo a difficult place to be pregnant

AllAfrica.com

“Years of conflict and instability mean the Democratic Republic of Congo is still among the worst countries in the world to be pregnant, despite a nationwide push to improve maternal, infant and childhood mortality rates. ‘Every hour of every day in DRC, four women die from complications of pregnancy and labour, and for every woman who dies, between 20 and 30 have serious complications, such as obstetric fistula, which is very common in DRC,’ said Richard Dackam Ngacthou, country representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)…”

Read the full article here.

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