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Posts Tagged ‘Millennium Development Goals and the Media’

Global health activist, member of the Maternal Health Task Force Editorial Committee and film-maker, Lisa Russell, has teamed up with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena, to launch a new media project called MDGFive.com. The project is a collaborative effort of international organizations and artists committed to bringing awareness to maternal health.

RH Reality Check

In a February 16th, 2010 post on RH Reality Check, Lisa described the new project:

“As a global health activist and filmmaker, I believe in the power of
 imagery, sound and the spoken word to inspire cultural exchange, unite
 international communities, and to promote social progress worldwide,
 yet I see a large disconnect between the humanitarian world and the
 creative communities who have an incredible impact on their societies
at the local level when it comes to global health advocacy.

I would like to see greater communication and partnerships between 
these two worlds to address issues of women/motherhood/maternal health.
 Therefore, I am developing – in collaboration with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena – a new media “mash up” project called MDGFive.com.  We are collaborating with international organizations and artists to bring awareness to maternal health.

MDGFive.com‘ is a new media site that solicits creative content
 from artists around the world (musicians, filmmakers, poets, djs, etc)
 who work at either the global or country level.  Activists can access 
these 30-60 second license free clips to download and create their own 
personalized PSA’s which can be forwarded to their networks,
 development institutions and policy makers.  It offers an opportunity 
for artists and activists from both the developed and developing world
 to work together, share resources and contribute their talents to help 
create a global, *artistic* movement for women’s health.”

Read the full piece on RH Reality Check here.

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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 NOW team from PBS recently went to Haiti to investigate high levels of maternal mortality in the country. They happened to be in the Haiti when the earthquake hit. In collaboration with the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR), a non-profit video news production company, PBS produced Saving Haiti’s Mothers, a show that examines the state of maternal health in Haiti before the earthquake and immediately following it.

NOW on PBS

“Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, in addition to leaving lives and institutions in ruin, also exacerbated a longtime lethal risk in Haiti: Dying during childbirth. Challenges in transportation, education, and quality health care contribute to Haiti having the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, a national crisis even before the earthquake struck. While great strides are being made with global health issues like HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality figures worldwide have seen virtually no improvement in 20 years. Worldwide, over 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy. This week, a NOW team that had been working in Haiti during the earthquake reports on this deadly but correctable trend. They meet members of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), which operates a network of health agents in more than 100 villages, engaging in pre-natal visits, education, and emergency ambulance runs for pregnant women…”

Read the full story and watch the special here.

Learn more about Haitian Health Foundation, UNFPA, and Family Care International—all organizations featured in the show.

Visit the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR) site here.

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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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For over two years, Amnesty International has been researching maternal health and investigating maternal death in Burkina Faso.

Amnesty International

In five days, the organization will release a report on the state of maternal health in Burkina Faso and launch a caravan campaign that will travel throughout the country raising awareness around the issue of maternal mortality.

“Amnesty International went to Burkina Faso four times to conduct research in several cities including the capital, Ouagadougou, as well as Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya and Kaya. Amnesty International also visited a dozen rural areas throughout the country. Researchers investigated over 50 cases of women who died during pregnancy and childbirth…”

Read the full story here.


Take a look at this video showing highlights of the 2009 Amnesty International maternal mortality caravan campaign in Sierra Leone:

As part of the countdown to the launch of the campaign, Amnesty International is sharing the stories of women who have died of pregnancy complications in Burkina Faso. See below for an excerpt from one of the stories:

“…Safiatou’s husband told Amnesty International: ‘The day of her delivery, she was in good health and worked all afternoon as usual without any problem. She prepared tô [a local dish made from maize flour] for her children and went to get the hay for the animals. In the evening, when her labour began, she left for her mother’s home. Her mother came to warn me that she was not well, that we had to take her to the clinic. I do not have a motorcycle, so I had to go and get one. That made us lose time.’ The husband added that he ‘did not know that she should have delivered at the clinic. When I came to fetch her at her mother’s house, she had lost consciousness.’ The husband borrowed a small motorcycle from his neighbour…”

Learn more about Safiatou here.

A man holding a picture of his wife who died in childbirth, Burkina Faso. Copyright Anna Kari

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Veil of Tears is a collection of transcribed interviews with children, women, and men in Afghanistan about loss in childbirth. These interviews are part of IRIN’s  Kabul-based radio project, which closed at the end of 2009 after six years of humanitarian radio production and journalistic capacity building in Afghanistan.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

“In Veil of Tears, a 60-page colour booklet launched today, IRIN brings you a unique collection of personal stories of loss and courage in childbirth, as told by women, men and children from different parts of Afghanistan.

The stories were originally recorded in local languages, Dari and Pashto, for IRIN Radio broadcasts. Transcribed into English in Veil of Tears, they convey the immediacy and intimacy of the interviews conducted by IRIN reporters, who travelled in some cases for several days to reach the remotest villages in Afghanistan.

The interviewees in the booklet talk about the struggle to get enough nutritious food to sustain a woman through pregnancy, and to feed their families on any given day; they describe the awesome distances and terrain that separate people living in the villages from the nearest health facility; they describe the lack of proper roads and transport that may leave a donkey cart as the only option to attempt a life-or-death journey with a pregnant wife or mother to a hospital; they explain the cultural and social rules that might mean decisions by men are made too late to save a woman and her baby…”

Read the full story here.

Click here for a PDF of the Veil of Tears.

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