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Posts Tagged ‘MDG5’

Ray Suarez of PBS, travels to Peru to investigate how health officials, obstetricians, nurses and activists are making better use of existing resources and linking pregnant women to those resources—all in hopes of seeing a reduction in maternal deaths. In this article and video, Suarez reports on a system of maternity homes, homes where pregnant women from remote areas can stay in the final stages of their pregnancies in order to be closer to emergency obstetric care, in the event of an emergency.

PBS NEWSHOUR/The Rundown

“…The NewsHour team headed out to the remote rural town of Vilcashuaman, high in the Andes mountains, to see the new approach at work. We visited a Casa Materna, a mother’s house, where three women from communities far away waited to deliver. In a nurse’s office was a felt bullseye map, with the name and due date of all the women in the region known to be pregnant, along with the approximate distances and travel times to their homes…

…Once ready to deliver, a woman can choose a conventional Western delivery table with an elevated bed and leg stirrups, and as part of the new approach traditional birthing chairs are also available. Women who use the chairs do not have to completely undress, very important in a culture in which modesty is prized…”

Read the full story, In Peru: Life for the Life-Givers—and watch the video.

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The Seattle Times reports on a rise in Gates Foundation funding for programs that aim to improve maternal and newborn health–and according to Melinda Gates, investing in the health of moms and babies saves lives at a far lower cost than treating diseases later on.

The Seattle Times

“…Gates talked about teaching a method known as “Kangaroo Mother Care,” which encourages mothers to wrap and hold their babies until they can maintain their own body temperature. (In fact a study published this week found that “kangaroo mother care” cut newborn deaths by more than 50 percent and was more effective than incubators). Inexpensive drugs can also prevent mothers from hemorrhaging in childbirth.

Such a comprehensive program, together with contraception, could cut maternal deaths by 75 percent and reduce newborn deaths by 44 percent, she said…”

Read the full article, Melinda Gates: Foundation Investing More in Mothers and Newborns.

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I recently rediscovered this Oxfam International video of  pregnant women* breakdancing and raising awareness of the risks associated with childbirth in developing countries. I first saw it a couple years ago—and loved it! When I came across it again on Every 8 Minutes, a blog focused entirely on the issue of maternal health in India, I enjoyed it all over again. 

*The women in this video are not really pregnant. They are professional dancers wearing pregnancy suits. 

Let me know what you think of the video! 

Also, be sure to check out Every 8 Minutes for information on the state of maternal health in India. 

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The Latin American Herald Tribune reports on a new study by UNFPA that highlights the incidence of maternal deaths, the frequency of abortion, and the concentration of new HIV cases among the most marginalized sector of the Argentine population. 

The Latin American Herald Tribune

“…The maternal mortality rate remains ‘relatively elevated in relation to the available health services in the country.’

The study, presented at the U.N. Information Center in Buenos Aires, adds that complications from abortion over the past 15 years have remained the main cause of maternal deaths.

But given that induced abortion is illegal in Argentina, ‘its magnitude can only be estimated by indirect means,’ which show that voluntary terminations of pregnancy oscillate between 372,000 and 522,000 per year.

Among the main victims are the teenage members of the population, the fertility rates for whom show ‘many disparities’ when one compares Argentina’s impoverished north with the main urban centers…”

Read the full story, UN Report Highlights Inequality in Argentina.

For additional information on maternal mortality in Argentina, click here

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Stories of Mothers Saved is a joint project by the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to highlight personal stories of what is working to prevent maternal deaths.

The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA)

“…all individuals and organizations are encouraged and welcome to participate in this global project.  Stories of Mothers Saved will collect the stories of women who are living – who did not die needlessly in pregnancy or childbirth – due to a key action taken by her, her family or community, a health worker, political leader or others.  These stories will highlight what works and what must be done at all levels – from providing girls access to education, to saving money to secure transportation to the health facility when labor begins, to having access to family planning services, to receiving an emergency caesarean section, to attending a well equipped and staffed facility because the government prioritized maternal and newborn health…”

The WRA is interested in Stories of Mothers Saved told in a variety of medium—including  photos, written stories, video and audio. 

Detailed instructions for participation are available in English and  French.

Materials are due to the Global Secretariat by Friday, 2 April 2010. 

Please email wra1@whiteribbonalliance.org with any questions or comments about the project.

Stories of Mothers Saved will have its official debut at the Women Deliver Conference 2010 from June 7th to the 9th, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

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Screenshot from Women Deliver conference website.

 

Women Deliver 

Volunteer at the conference and receive free registration for the conference, including three days of panel presentations and breakout sessions; access to Tuesday’s Technology Symposium and to the Exhibition Hall; and a Women Deliver volunteer t-shirt.

The conference will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC from June 7th to the 9th, 2010. The deadline to apply to volunteer is March 31st, 2010.

For details on eligibility and information on the various volunteer assignments, 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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In honor of International Women’s Day, the BBC reports on progress toward Millennium Development Goal Five.

BBC

“…For every 100,000 live births in developing countries, 450 women die during pregnancy or labour.

The coalition, which includes White Ribbon Alliance, Amnesty International and Oxfam, says that in 1910, 355 women died per 100,000 live births in England and Wales.

In Scotland and Ireland, the rate was higher – at 572 and 531 respectively.

In Ghana today the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is 560, while in Chad it is 1,500. The rate in the UK is now 14 deaths per 100,000.

The comparison has been drawn because it was 100 years ago that International Women’s Day was established…”

Read the full story, International Women’s Day Call for Labour Deaths Action.


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The government of Sierra Leone has announced an end to health center user fees for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five. Questions remain regarding the multiple factors that contribute to maternal death in Sierra Leone.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

In this story, IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis takes a closer look at the issue of maternal mortality and raises concerns regarding the various factors leading to extremely high levels of maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, factors that will likely not be addressed by a quick-fix abolition of user fees.

“…C.T.H. Bell, a gynaecologist with the privately owned New Life hospital in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, says that more critical than free treatment is speed of decision-making in the home, an efficient transport infrastructure, and prompt treatment on arrival at a health centre…

…Monir Islam, head of WHO’s Making Pregnancies Safer Programme, told IRIN poor roads and a lack of ambulances made it hard for people from rural areas to get to a city for emergency care. ‘Free care means little on its own. If women cannot make it to a centre, what good is free care?’…”

Read the full story, Free Care for Expectant Mothers: Is it Enough?

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The goal of the ‘Juana Azurduy’ mother and child subsidy program, introduced in Bolivia eight months ago, is to slash maternal mortality by 80 percent over five years.

Inter Press Service News Agency

“…The subsidy, paid in 17 instalments, is conditional on the mother attending a state health centre for four prenatal check-ups, receiving medical attention during childbirth, and attending 12 postnatal check-ups for the mother and baby until the child is two years old.

The ‘Juana Azurduy’ stipend is complemented by the Health Ministry’s universal mother and child insurance plan (SUMI), which ensures free care for mothers giving birth in any hospital in the country, another healthcare innovation.

‘The subsidy payment comes in handy for buying milk, diapers, and food for the family,’ said Angélica Choque, a mother waiting to be seen at the Alto Miraflores municipal health centre on the outskirts of La Paz, where TerraViva spent a day recently…”

Read the full story, Bolivia: Cash for Checkups to Slash Maternal Deaths.

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Five recent stories published on the site have raised various issues impacting maternal health—including leadership and innovation, maternal death audits, access to primary health care and safe delivery, human rights, and even a proposal for a separate maternal health ministry.

allAfrica.com

Namibia: Leadership Development, Social Innovation and Improved System Performance

The Maternal Health Initiative Team,  an offshoot of the African Public Health Leadership and Systems Innovation Initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is “developing a model for improving public health leadership and system performance.”

“…The project is underpinned by three principles: local leadership development, social innovation and improved system performance.

The initiative applies a business-consulting approach called the Innovation Lab. Through the Innovation Lab, multi-stakeholder teams are guided through an intensive leadership development and problem-based learning experience. The aim is to tackle a complex social and system problem through a multi-stakeholder and innovation response.

When deciding on a priority health problem to tackle as a pilot, it wasn’t hard for Namibian health leaders to choose maternal health. Between 2000 and 2006, maternal mortality jumped to 449 deaths per 100 000 births, an increase of 178 deaths…”

Read the full article,  Namibia:Health Authorities Tackle Maternal Mortality.

Rwanda: A Call for Maternal Death Audits

“…As a strategic move to curb the maternal death rate further and achieve millennium development goal 5, the government recently extended the fight to the village level.

This was announced recently by the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, during a meeting that was held with a visiting US medical team to discuss Rwanda’s health progress.

During the discussions, Sezibera noted that it was imperative to engage the community in fighting maternal death rates so that leaders at the village level can identify the causes of these deaths in bid to find a lasting solution.

‘This year we started maternal death audits in villages because we believe that social audits on death causes will enable authorities identify answers to this problem,’ the minister said…”

Read the full article, Rwanda: Maternal Mortality Control Extends to Village Level.

Nigeria: Improving Access to Primary Health Care and Safe Delivery

“Health System Development Project II, a World Bank assisted project has commissioned two Comprehensive Primary Health Centres at Dagiri community in Gwagwalada and Dabi village at Kwali.

The Health Centres are to address the high rate of maternal and child mortality cases in the country, said Mrs Anne Okigbo-fisher, World Bank task team leader during the hand over ceremony of the centres. She said Nigeria records 10 percent of the world’s maternal mortality rates out of the 524,000 women that die yearly during child birth, adding that approximately 99 percent of the mortality rate is due to child birth complications in developing countries.

According to her the objective of HSDP II is to reduce such complications and improve safe delivery in the country…”

Read the full article, Nigeria: World Bank Commissions N104 Million Hospitals in Abuja.

Kenya: Human Rights Impacting Maternal Health

Amnesty International calls on Kenya’s Parliament to ensure that the draft Constitution of Kenya upholds respect for, the protection and fulfilment of all human rights. The draft Constitution should retain social and economic rights as enforceable rights. In addition, the organization also calls on Parliament to remove the provision stipulating that the right to life begins at conception and if the article on abortion access is retained, provide for abortion for rape victims…

…If the Constitution explicitly limits women’s access to abortion services, it must, at least ensure women’s access to safe and timely abortion services in cases of risk to the life or health of the woman or pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. Such an exemption is required by international law and is required by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Kenya signed in 2003. In view of the high number of maternal deaths resulting from abortion complications, the State should protect women’s right to life by ensuring meaningful access to sexual and reproductive health services including information and contraception and commit to address sexual violence and coercion…”

Read the full article, Kenya: New Constitution Must Ensure Rights for All.

Uganda: A Call for an Independent Maternal Health Ministry

“An independent ministry should be set up to handle maternal health, the deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has said.

‘Who is planning for women’s health in this country? Basic things like antibiotics, oxytocins (drugs that help manage bleeding) which cost sh300 and manual vacuum aspirators to remove retained products from the womb are not there,’ she told journalists at a briefing on the state of maternal health on Friday…”

Read the full story, Uganda: Kadaga Wants Independent Maternal Health Ministry.

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Doctors in Nicaragua refuse to provide Amalia, a Nicaraguan woman with a ten year old daughter, with the care that she needs to fight her cancer. Chemotherapy could save her but it might also harm or lead to the death of her baby—and doctors fear legal consequences of performing a therapeutic abortion.

RH Reality Check

This article explains how the revised penal code (that stipulates prison sentences for girls and women who seek abortion services and for health professionals who provide abortion services) is inconsistent with Nicaragua’s Obstetric Rules and Protocols that are issued by the Ministry of Health. The article also tells Amalia’s personal story, putting a human face on the issue of access to therapeutic abortions in Nicaragua.

Read the article here.

Click here to read Amnesty International’s report on the abortion ban in Nicaragua–and watch a short video on the issue.

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A recent study by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Population Council of India outlines just how prevalent early marriage remains in many parts of India.

Bernama.com (Malaysian National News Agency)

This article cites many of the findings of the recent study in India by IIPS and the Population Council. It also raises several of the implications of early marriage in India—including unintended pregnancies and infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Read the full story, Child Wedlock Still Haunts India.

For more information on the Population Council’s work in India, click here.

This story, in Times of India, offers more information on the state of reproductive health among youth in India.

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Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, the Iranian Health Minister, spoke to a group of people in Hendoodar, in the central province, about the state of maternal health in Iran.

Tehran Times

She described major improvements in maternal health and pointed to shortages in specialized human resources as the major challenge in eliminating maternal mortality in Iran. She also highlighted a new nursing and midwifery training program in the city—and discussed the importance of such projects.

Photo Credit: Tehran Times

Read the full story here.

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International aid groups and public hospitals are struggling to keep up with births in post-earthquake Haiti. The city still lacks adequate numbers of health workers and supplies–leaving many pregnant women without access to obstetric care services.

Miami Herald

A young Haitian doctor finishes delivering 26-year-old Joanne Desir's first baby as she's being held by her husband, Patrice Zephir, in the back of a pickup truck outside the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

“..There are new concerns for the 63,000 pregnant women now living in Port-au-Prince. More than 7,000 are expected to give birth this month.

`People here are giving birth under the absolute worst conditions,’ said Dr. Jonathan Evans, a pediatric gastroenterologist volunteering at the University of Miami field hospital. `They can’t find access to midwives. Little problems become big problems.’

In the sprawling camp at the city center of Champs de Mars, where the fruit flies are unrelenting and the stench of human waste inescapable, Antoine Toussaint worries about the health of her unborn child.

Toussaint, 27, is nine months into her pregnancy. She lost her last baby, a son, in childbirth two years ago. This time, Toussaint will have only the help of her family if complications arise…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on the University of Miami response to the earthquake, click here.

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