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Posts Tagged ‘infant mortality’

I am back to blogging after a few weeks break to get settled in India!

I arrived in Jharkhand, India  just over a month ago. I am here as a William J. Clinton Fellow with the American India Foundation. I transitioned out of my previous role at the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth just after the Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi. (Click here to view archived videos of the conference sessions.)  I was craving on-the-ground experience in program implementation and I was looking forward to working at the community level—to put to action the knowledge I gained during my time at the MHTF as well as the program planning skills I learned while completing my MPH in International Health at Boston University.

Mother and Baby, Jharkhand, India--Photo by Kate Mitchell

The people of India face some of the highest levels of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in the world.  Jharkhand, a newly formed state in India, faces higher maternal and newborn mortality ratios than India as a whole. And the villages of the Seraikela block, a region of Jharkhand with difficult geographic terrain and low levels of literacy, experience even higher ratios than the state.

My fellowship placement has already offered me some remarkable experiences (I’ll be writing about those experiences in upcoming posts)–and mentors who are working together to improve maternal and newborn health in Seraikela from a number of different angles and organizations.

My assignment is with a new public-private partnership that aims to improve maternal and newborn health in Seraikela at the community and facility level. (Click here to read about recent conversations at the Global Maternal Health Conference focused around striking the right balance between community and facility based interventions.)  MANSI, the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative, is being implemented by Tata Steel Rural Development Society, a division of Tata Steel’s corporate social responsibility wing, and the American India Foundation in partnership with the local government. (Click here for a recent post by Alanna Shaikh on corporate players getting involved in global health.) 



MANSI is a replication of the Home Based Newborn Care (HBNC) project that was originally (and very successfully) implemented by SEARCH in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, India. The MANSI team is working closely with SEARCH to train community health workers from 174 villages within the Seraikela block on the HBNC curriculum, a set of modules that prepares community health workers to address the leading causes of newborn mortality and morbidity in India.  The team will also be training the health workers on a number of interventions that will target the health of the mother–as well as upgrading several sub-centers within the Seraikela block to be equipped to handle normal deliveries and improving referral systems for complicated deliveries.

Mother and Infant Wait to be Seen at a MNCH Clinic Under A Banyan Tree, Jharkhand, India---Photo by Kate Mitchell

Much of what I will be doing over the next ten months is helping to develop training modules for the maternal health interventions that will be added onto the HBNC model–as well as helping to conduct the training. 

I am really excited to be a part of the MANSI team.  It is going to be an exciting and challenging ten months–and I promise to keep you posted:)

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Health officials in the state of Bihar, India have decided to develop a computer software/database that will track expecting mothers, new mothers, and newborns at the village level. The goal of the project is to keep a close eye on maternal and infant mortality in each and every village in Bihar–as well as share important health information via SMS.

iGovernment

“In a bid to minimise maternal and infant mortality in the state, the Bihar government has decided to create a database of each pregnant woman and newborn babies at village level to track their health conditions and provide prenatal and postpartum care to mothers.

The data base would offer unique named-based searches on mother and children.

The data will include date of vaccination and expected date of delivery of pregnant woman. If the family of the expecting mother has any cell phone, they would be informed through SMS. In all 80,797 anganwadi sevikas across the state have been involved to make the campaign a success.

The decision to create software to track the health conditions of expecting women and infants was taken at a meeting of senior officials of the Health Department…”

Read the full story. For more on this story from FIGO, click here.

More on maternal health in Bihar:

  1. Click here to read about a recent agreement between the state government of Bihar and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to boost the public health of the state.
  2. Click here to read about PRACHAR, a Pathfinder International project that aims to disseminate family planning and reproductive health behavior change communications messages throughout 700 villages in Bihar.
  3. Click here for a recent post on conditional cash transfers to increase in-facility births in many states, including Bihar.

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Join Dr. Harry Strulovici, Founder and President of Life for Mothers, Director of  the International Maternal Health Initiative within the Division of Reproductive Global Health and  Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NYU School of Medicine; Julie McLaughlin, the Sector Manager for Health, Nutrition and Population in the South Asia Region of the World Bank; and Samuel Mills MD DrPH, a consultant in the Health, Nutrition and Population Unit of the Human Development Network for a presentation and Q&A  at the World Bank on reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda through a holistic approach.

Life for Mothers

When: Jun 15, 2010, 12:30-2pm

Where: World Bank: 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433

What : Presentation on a Holistic Strategy To Reduce Maternal/Neonatal Mortality in Uganda

Who:

  • Dr. Harry Strulovici, director of  the International Maternal Health Initiative within the Division of Reproductive Global Health and  Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NYU School of Medicine
  • Julie McLaughlin,the Sector Manager for Health, Nutrition and Population in the South Asia Region of the World Bank
  • Samuel Mills MD DrPH, a consultant in the Health, Nutrition and Population Unit of the Human Development Network at the World Bank

Schedule of events: Lecture with Q&A

RSVP: Contact Victor Arias at varias@worldbank.org

Click here for more details.

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The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting recently identified maternal mortality as a priority issue that demands more coverage–and has made a commitment to support reporting projects that draw attention to the under-reported issue of international maternal mortality. In January, I blogged about Marco Vernaschi’s project in Guinea Bissau. The center is now supporting additional projects on maternal mortality–one in India and another in Mexico.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

India Casts a Light on Mothers in the Dark, Hanna Ingber Win

“…This project will assess India’s efforts to improve its maternal health and explore why Assam, a northeastern state known for its beauty yet plagued by high levels of poverty, has the nation’s highest maternal mortality rate. Reporter Hanna Ingber Win will travel with boat clinics along the Brahmaputra River to visit remote villages that do not have electricity, toilets or roads, let alone health services…”

Learn more about the India project.

The Struggle for Health in Chiapas, Samuel Loewenberg

“…Samuel Loewenberg reports from two of Mexico’s poorest states, Chiapas and Oaxaca, on the social and political forces that impact the health crises affecting the poor and indigenous communities here. Chiapas and Oaxaca have the worst records in the country for maternal mortality, deaths by cervical cancer, and diarrheal illness among children. The rate of infant death for Chiapas is three times that of the natioanl average, and nearly twice as many new mothers die in Oaxaca as in wealthier parts of the country…”

Learn more about the Mexico project.

Visit the Pulitzer Center blog, Untold Stories.

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Just a reminder! This event will happen this Thursday, April 29th!

The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative and Environmental Change and Security Program, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced  the fourth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog

The event, Family Planning in Fragile States: Overcoming Cultural and Financial Barriers, will be held on April 29th in Washington DC. Speakers include Nabila Zar Malick, Director of Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan; Karima Tunau, OB/GYN with Usmanu Danpodiyo Hospital; Grace Kodindo, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Sandra Krause, Reproductive Health Program Director with the  Women’s Refugee Commission.

“…Countries threatened by conflict rank lowest on maternal and newborn health indicators and have fewer resources for reproductive health services such as family planning and emergency obstetric care. Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services in fragile states may challenge cultural beliefs and gender relations within a country. Program managers, policymakers, and donors can mitigate these tensions through culturally sensitive approaches and increased female participation during peacebuilding efforts…”

For event details, information on how to RSVP , and information on how to watch the  live or archived webcast, read the full announcement here.

For more information on the series, click here.

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The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative and Environmental Change and Security Program, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced  the fourth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog

The event, Family Planning in Fragile States: Overcoming Cultural and Financial Barriers, will be held on April 29th in Washington DC. Speakers include Nabila Zar Malick, Director of Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan; Karima Tunau, OB/GYN with Usmanu Danpodiyo Hospital; Grace Kodindo, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Sandra Krause, Reproductive Health Program Director with the  Women’s Refugee Commission.
“…Countries threatened by conflict rank lowest on maternal and newborn health indicators and have fewer resources for reproductive health services such as family planning and emergency obstetric care. Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services in fragile states may challenge cultural beliefs and gender relations within a country. Program managers, policymakers, and donors can mitigate these tensions through culturally sensitive approaches and increased female participation during peacebuilding efforts…”

For event details, information on how to RSVP , and information on how to watch the  live or archived webcast, read the full announcement here.

For more information on the series, click here.

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AllAfrica.com reports that the Nutrition Society of Nigeria is calling for a review of the current national food and nutrition policy—stating that malnutrition accounts for 60% of avoidable maternal, child and infant mortality in Nigeria

allAfrica.com

President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Professor Ignatius Onimawo spoke at the opening ceremony of the 21st anniversary of the Food Basket Foundation International Initiative at the University of Ibadan. He described malnutrition as a major silent killer in Nigeria and said, “It is instructive to know that of the over 100 universities currently operating in Nigeria only five run degree courses in nutrition and yet nutrition holds the key for the reversal of the vicious attack of these deadly diseases.”

Read the full story here

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