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Posts Tagged ‘MHTF’

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 sixth event of the series, Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health: The Impact of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity on Economic Development. The event will take place on July 29th from 3-5pm in Washington, D.C.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Event Details:

Investing in women and girls health is smart economics. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) women contribute to a majority of small businesses in the developing world and their unpaid work on the farm and at home account for one-third of the world’s GDP. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that maternal and newborn deaths cost the world $15 billion in lost productivity.

Mayra Buvinic, sector director of the gender and development group of the World Bank, will address the economic impact of maternal deaths and the role of education and gender equality on economic development. Dr. Nomonde Xundu, health attaché at the Embassy of South Africa in Washington DC will discuss the policy implications of maternal health and share lessons learned in empowering women and girl’s economic status in South Africa. Mary Ellen Stanton, senior maternal health advisor of USAID, will present the foreign policy and economic case for increased donor investment in maternal health.”

For more info and to RSVP, click here.

For info on future events and links to videos of previous events in the maternal health policy dialogue series, click here.

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I learned about a great resource yesterday for those working to improve the lives of women and girls, Girls Discovered: Global Maps of Adolescent Girls. The website has three main sections: Maps and Data, Sunita’s Story, and Take Action. The project is a collaborative effort of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls and Maplecroft.

The Maps and Data section has a nearly endless number of interactive maps and data sets focused on adolescent girls around the world across a number of health, education, social, economic, and population indices. Several of the maps provide interesting information about maternal health or issues impacting maternal health around the world–such as abortion legalizationage specific fertility, global anemia rates, births attended by skilled personnel, and several more.

Sunita’s Story seamlessly combines photos and narrative with maps and data to tell the personal story of one girl in India, Sunita–while also presenting the national burden and geographic distribution of the issues that she faces throughout her life. The presentation is simple and clean, making the information easy to consume.

The Take Action section has three PDF downloadable plans for taking action to address the issues of adolescent girls that are mapped on this site. There is a global action plan, a national action plan for India, and local action plan for India.

I encourage you to explore the site–it is a remarkable resource for those working on any of the various issues impacting adolescent girls and young women around the world.

Description of the project:

“The welfare of adolescent girls is crucial in determining economic and social outcomes for countries today, and in the future. For girls to become healthy mothers, productive citizens and economic contributors, their unique needs must be seen and understood.

Yet today, adolescent girls are undercounted and so underserved. Counting them is the first step to increasing their visibility.

Girls Discovered takes that first step. As a comprehensive source of maps and data on the status of adolescent girls worldwide, Girls Discovered helps donors, policy makers and implementing agencies target their investments.

This one-stop shop for information on adolescent girls is sourced from organizations operating in the public interest, and is meant for researchers, practitioners, advocates, policy-makers and the public – anyone who seeks change for the world’s 600 million adolescent girls.”

Mapping for Maternal Health:

A number of organizations have recently started using mapping technologies to provide visual representation of research and data while others are using mapping tools to link organizations working in maternal health in an effort to build a stronger and more interconnected community of maternal health professionals.

Take a look at a few of the maternal health maps I have visited recently.  Several are interactive and allow for user-generated content!

If you know of other maternal health mapping initiatives, please let me know in the comments section of this post!

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I was recently selected as a Clinton Fellow in maternal health with the American India Foundation which means I will be moving to India in September to work on the ground on a maternal and neonatal health project! This also means that my position with the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth will be open as of September.*

So…if you have a background in public health, gender studies, or a related field, are interested in using web-based communications tools, and are passionate about improving global maternal health–take a look at this job at the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth in New York City!

Job Summary:

“The Knowledge Management (KM) unit of the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) requires a highly motivated KM Assistant to help coordinate and implement the MHTF KM strategy and tactics. The KM Assistant will work closely with the KM Specialist in making its online knowledge portal robust, relevant, engaging, and user-friendly. The KM Assistant will proactively identify ways to engage current members and expand our audience.  This position provides a unique opportunity for those who are interested in how technology can help advance MDG5 goals.”

For more information about the job and to apply, click here.

Please feel free to contact me with questions about the position.

*While, I will be leaving my position with the Maternal Health Task Force, I will continue to maintain Maternal Mortality Daily throughout my fellowship in India—in fact, I have  exciting plans for adding new features to the blog over the next few months so stay tuned!

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The controversial research reporting unexpected gains in maternal health, published April 12 in the Lancet, has triggered rigorous debate about the measurement tools used to count maternal deaths globally and at a country level. The paper, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, was written by Chris Murray and his team of researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The study found a dramatic reduction in the number of women dying from pregnancy complications between 1980 and 2008–and these findings have triggered both celebration and skepticism within the global health community. Some global health leaders are cheering the global progress toward MDG5 indicated by the research. Some are expressing cautious optimism. Others are challenging the paper’s methodology, asking whether it really signals big gains in the struggle against global maternal mortality or just flawed means of estimating how many women are dying.

On June 5th, the Lancet published a reply from Chris Murray in which he addresses some of the concerns voiced by his fellow global health researchers regarding the methodology of the study.

“We appreciate the rich set of letters in response to our paper on maternal mortality. The authors of the letters raise many important points, but we focus our short response on four larger themes that have been raised.

The country graphs in the webappendix to our paper show all the available data points for each country and our best estimates based on these data and the modelling strategy. In the case of the Philippines, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, and Peru, the correspondents have noted that our data-points derived from the analysis of sibling histories in household surveys are different from published figures from the same surveys. The differences stem from two sources. First, we correct for problems of survivor bias in sibling histories, following the published methods of Gakidou and Kingand Obermeyer and colleagues...”

Read the full reply by Chris Murray on the Lancet Online. Be sure to take a look at some of the critiques of the study–linked on the right panel next to Murray’s reply.

For more on this topic, take a look at a recent post, New Maternal Mortality Estimates Published in the Lancet: What’s the Buzz?, on the Maternal Health Task Force’s new MedScape Blog, GlobalMama.


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I attended a press conference yesterday (6/17) where Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth announced the 16 winners of the Young Champions for Maternal Health competition. The 16 Young Champions come from 13 different countries and will be placed with Ashoka Fellows around the world for a 9-month mentorship.

Excerpt from my post on the MHTF Blog:

“…Tim Thomas explained that improving global maternal health is a persistent challenge—and one that will need to be tackled via multiple sectors. Tim pointed out that the Young Champions have big and innovative ideas for improving maternal health—and that the Ashoka Fellows will play a crucial role in teaching the Champions about social entrepreneurship, building sustainable infrastructure, and how to ‘scale-up’ global health projects—so that their big ideas can result in real and lasting impact.

A big idea is precisely what Yeabsira Mehari has—and she looks forward to tapping into Glory Alexander’s wisdom to develop the idea. Yeabsira aspires to set up a fistula care center in Ethiopia that will address both the health needs of the women affected by fistula as well as the economic and socio-cultural effects of fistula. Her dream is to establish a fistula care center that will prepare women to be social entrepreneurs themselves–by providing them with midwifery training and/or small business development training as well as offering micro-loans to get their businesses off the ground.

Ashoka India Fellow Glory Alexander works to end stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in India. Her organization, ASHA Foundation, focuses on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and primary prevention for vulnerable women.   Aside from learning about social entrepreneurship, sustainability, and ‘scale-up’, Yeabsira is excited to work with Glory to develop expertise in engaging with and helping to empower stigmatized populations. She anticipates that many of the lessons she will learn from working with HIV/AIDS patients in India will be transferable to working with fistula patients in Ethiopia…”

Read my full post on the MHTF Blog.

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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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Over 3,500 maternal health providers, researchers, policymakers, and advocates from all over the world have gathered in Washington D.C. for Women Deliver 2010, a global conference focused on maternal and newborn health. Earlier today, I posted a short blog post on the MHTF Blog with highlights from day one of the conference.

The MHTF Blog

The post includes links to the announcement of the  Gates Foundation commitment to $1.5 billion in additional funding for maternal and child health (announced yesterday by Melinda Gates), a special themed issue of the Lancet dedicated to Women Deliver, the launch of the University of Oxford’s maternal health crowd-sourcing initiative, and several other announcements of major developments in the field of maternal and child health. The blog post includes several useful links for more information on each of the highlights.

Click here to read the post  on the MHTF Blog.

If you are not attending the conference but would like to participate remotely, view the live webcast here.

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The Maternal Health Task Force currently has three interactive (and fast growing!) maternal health maps; maternal health knowledge hubs, MPH programs that offer a concentration/focus on maternal health, and maternal health organizations. As part of my role at the MHTF, I am working to spread the word about these maps and further populate them so that they can serve as useful resources for maternal health professionals and students around the world. See below for a recent blog post on the MHTF Blog with info on how to put your organization or school of public health or medicine on the maps!

The MHTF Blog

“Using geographic maps provides a global view of where maternal health activity is occurring and helps the community to understand where gaps exist. So far, we have three interactive maps on our site containing information that we hope will be useful in your work or studies; maternal health knowledge hubsMPH programs that offer a concentration/focus on maternal health, and maternal health organizations.

At the upcoming Women Deliver conference in Washington D.C. (June 7-9), we will be engaging conference participants in our mapping activities and encouraging them to put their organization or school on the map! If you are attending Women Deliver, please visit our table in the Registration Hall to map your organization or school and to see a demo of how our mapping system works.

Putting your organization on our maternal health map will help to build a growing interconnected community of maternal health organizations. It will link the important work of your organization or school with the work of maternal health organizations and schools around the globe.

If you are not attending Women Deliver, you can still get mapped! Click here to download the mapping form. Fill it out and return it to Kate Mitchell at kmitchell@engenderhealth.org.”

Also, be sure to check out Maternova’s maternal health mapping activities! Maternova is working to map clinics and hospitals with maternal health services around the globe.

Maternova

“We aim to host a global map of maternal health clinics using crowdsourcing to create an unprecedented resource and exchange mechanism for millions of frontline professionals.”

Click here to visit the Maternova maternal health map–and learn more about the initiative.

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The University of Oxford, with support from the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, will be launching a maternal health crowd-sourcing project on June 7th, 2010. The project, Global Voices for Maternal Health, will launch at the Women Deliver conference. The idea is to give health care providers a “direct global voice in identifying and solving the barriers to providing evidence-based maternal health care.”

The MHTF Blog

The crowd-sourcing initiative consists of two main components: an online survey, available in 9 languages, for maternal health care providers in developing countries on the barriers to providing evidence-based care, and an online discussion forum for health care providers, program managers, and policy makers—to discuss innovative solutions for barriers to providing evidence-based care.

“The website will give new weight and force to the views of people who are actually delivering medical care, providing them with a stronger voice to determine where the global community’s future efforts should be focused.”

Click here to read the full post on the MHTF blog.

Visit www.globalvoices.org.uk for more info on the project–and ways to get involved.

If you have information about people working on the ground in maternal health who might like to participate, please contact global.voices@obs-gyn.ox.ac.uk.

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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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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 Maternal Health Task Force and the Public Health Foundation of India announced today that the website for the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 launched today–and abstract submissions are now open!

Maternal Health Task Force

“Check out our new Conference website www.gmhconference2010.com!  All the news and information currently available about the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 is now online.  This is where you’ll learn about registration, abstract submission, the conference program, and all the logistics you’ll need to attend the first ever global conference devoted exclusively to maternal health. Be sure to bookmark this site and visit it often – it will be continually updated as the conference nears.

Submit your abstract for a poster or a presentation at the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 now!  The deadline is April 30th and all the details are available here.

A 20-person Conference steering committee has been hard at work identifying the themes and sub-themes that will by the focus of the 3-day conference. The themes are Maternal Health Interventions and Programs, Underlying Factors Affecting Maternal Health, Measurement–Trends and Methods, Reproductive Health,  Health Systems, and Policy and Advocacy.

More information about the themes and subthemes is available here.

The Steering Committee is looking for abstracts that fall within the three organizing parameters of the Maternal Health Task Force: Evidence, Programs, and Policies and that are germane to the themes outlined above.

Submissions will be accepted for single abstracts and pre-formed panels.  Scholarships are available for participants from developing countries whose abstracts are accepted. To submit an abstract click here…”

For more information on the conference, click here.

For information on other conferences with a focus on maternal health, click here.

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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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