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Posts Tagged ‘maternal morbidity’

Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) and Maternova are partnering on a project aiming to increase access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care for women in Chiapas, Mexico—through the use of mobile technologies for health (mHealth).

From an email announcement I received from ARHP on Tuesday (5/11):

“All of us who care deeply about reproductive health have been closely following the conflicting data from The Lancet and the WHO on maternal mortality rates.

Regardless of the direction of global rates, we know that women in remote areas of Mexico are facing incredible challenges in giving birth safely. Patients lack a comprehensive clearinghouse directing them to local clinics or differentiating levels of care available at facilities.

With generous support from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ARHP and Maternova have partnered on a pilot mobile health (mHealth) initiative in Chiapas, Mexico. We are pleased to be on the leading edge of the mHealth movement, which aims to leverage the growing worldwide popularity of mobile devices to provide critical health services.

This project will create an interactive maternal health mapping tool, allowing women to find skilled providers by geographic area quickly and easily. This SmartMap will be accessible from any web-enabled device and provide detailed information about the quality and types of services offered in each clinic listed. In an emergency obstetric situation, the ability to find skilled attendants and well-equipped facilities via mobile phone can make the difference between life and death.

We are just beginning to work with our partners, Development Seed and the Comite Promotor por una Maternidad sin Riesgos (Committee for the Promotion of Safe Motherhood), on this pilot project identifying and mapping facilities in Chiapas. We are looking forward to launching the populated map by the end of 2010 and to the possibility of future stages of the project, which would make the map accessible via text message.

Get involved in this cutting-edge, lifesaving initiative:

  • Reach out to Aleya Horn at ARHP and let us know if you or your colleagues work in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Provide local contacts for collaboration or local clinics for the map
  • Make a donation to support this critical partnership and help us expand the pilot project to other underserved areas in Mexico and around the world”

Be sure to check out the Maternova blog–that highlights all sorts of innovations in maternal and neonatal health.

Posts I found especially interesting:

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Tim Thomas, Senior Technical Advisor to the Maternal Health Task Force, reflects on over 20 years of maternal health messaging—and asks difficult questions about the efficacy of the messages that maternal health professionals use every day to call attention to their issue.

The MHTF Blog

“Since the Safe Motherhood Initiative began in 1987, lots of catch phrases and tag lines have been deployed to raise awareness of our issues.

• Every minute, of every day, a woman dies giving life.
• No woman should die giving life.
• Maternal deaths are preventable.
• Invest in women – it pays.
• When women survive, nations thrive.
• Family planning saves women’s lives

Many of these and other messages have been brainstormed in closed settings among program, research and advocacy professionals all of whom have great intentions, but little if any expertise in communications and marketing. Rarely (never?) have I seen communications professionals engaged by maternal health policy advocates to systematically develop messages targeted at various populations with proven methodologies…”

Read the full post, Maternal Health Messaging: Does It Work?

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In honor of World Health Day, I wrote a post for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases blog, End the Neglect. The post looks at the relationship between these two historically neglected global health issues–and calls for more integration.

End the Neglect

“The theme of this year’s World Health Day is “Urbanization and Health.” Maternal mortality and morbidity, and neglected tropical diseases have a hugely debilitating impact on urban slum populations—who often lack access to health services. I would like to take this day to celebrate the increased attention to the connected issues of neglected tropical diseases and maternal health and to highlight the importance of a comprehensive, integrated approach to maternal health. This sort of approach not only includes universal access to reproductive health services but also addresses neglected tropical diseases—and their impact on maternal morbidity and mortality…”

Read the full post, Women and NTDs: Shared History, Shared Hope.

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Elizabeth Payne, Editorial Board member of the Ottawa Citizen, outlines a plan/suggestion by Keith Martin, medical doctor and maternal health expert, for G8 countries to tackle maternal mortality in developing countries.

Ottawa Citizen

“…Martin says the federal government must articulate exactly what it is going to do when it comes to the G8 maternal health initiative and access to reproductive technology. ‘I hope they don’t take an ideological position.’

Harper will be ‘turning back the clock,’ Martin says, if the initiative does not include reproductive health: ‘I can’t think of another country that would take that position.’

But, he adds, the initiative is too crucial to be lost because of political debate. There is a way Canada can lead a ‘pragmatic, effective plan’ without having to directly support abortions or contraceptives.

Martin suggests each of the G8 countries could take on a different aspect of the campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality.

‘It would be a way for the conservative government to make sure what comes out of the G8 is a plan that is implemented rather than talked about,’ he said.

In order to reduce maternal mortality rates, he says, a G8 initiative should include training of primary care workers, access to medications, diagnostics, clean water, access to power, access to family planning and nutrition, particularly micro-nutrients…”

Read the full story, How to help women, and avoid abortion politics.

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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 fall in the number of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth was announced at a National Maternal Death Review Committee dialogue meeting.

Cocorioko

“Dr Kisito Daoh, chief medical officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said the implementation of a maternal death review had been essential due to the high number of women dying every day. Since the beginning of the programme, the death rate has fallen from 30 fatalities a day to five, he claimed. Even so, Dr Daoh said this figure remains too high, and the government is committed to further reductions. He insisted that the fight against maternal death is part of President Koroma’s agenda for change in Sierra Leone…”

Read more here.

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