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Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Dr. Fred Sai is co-host of Women Deliver 2010, former reproductive health and HIV/AIDS advisor to the Ghanaian government, and has spent 40 years working to improve the health of women and children in Ghana and throughout Africa.  In his June 2nd blog post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health, on the ONE Blog, Dr. Sai comments on the new maternal mortality estimates published in the Lancet that show a dramatic reduction in global maternal deaths–and asks questions about why Africa (as a whole) has not seen these same reductions. He also expresses confidence that a shift in approach (described in his post) will lead to major improvements in the health of women and children throughout Africa.

The ONE Blog

“…It is an unfortunate truth that progress for the world at large does not necessarily mean progress for Africa. In 1980, almost a quarter of maternal deaths occurred in African countries. Today that figure has doubled to more than half. All but one of the 30 countries with the worst maternal mortality statistics are in Africa. And while countries like Ghana and Rwanda have seen a steady decline in maternal deaths over the past 15 years, others such as Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire actually have higher maternal mortality rates than they did in 1990.

Addressing maternal mortality in Africa is complex and challenging. Our countries face increasing rates of HIV, entrenched and debilitating poverty, food shortages, weak education and health care systems, problematic governance, corruption, and civil conflict. These are huge issues in their own right, but they also have significant impact on maternal, newborn and child health. The challenges, however, are not the whole story…”

Read the full post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health.

For additional reactions to the Lancet publication from other leaders in the maternal health field, click here.

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As part of the Pulitzer Center’s commitment to raising awareness for the under-reported issue of global maternal mortality, the center has launched a new interactive site , Dying for Life, dedicated to maternal health reporting projects.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

“Dying for Life is a response to this crisis [maternal ill health and death], viewing motherhood as a continuum that encompasses reproductive health, family planning, pregnancy, childbirth and infant and maternal mortality. Our forward-looking reporting includes dispatches from Guinea Bissau, India, Mexico, Ethiopia and Nigeria. We hope you’ll join the global conversation by engaging with the journalists, and sharing your own stories about maternal health and its impact on your community.”

Click here to visit, Dying for Life, the new interactive site.

The Pulitzer Center has also partnered with Helium to launch a Global Maternal Health Writing Contest, launched on May 24th.

“We want to know your thoughts on questions raised by Pulitzer Center-sponsored reporting projects around the globe – and the winning essays will be showcased on the Pulitzer Center’s website and on Helium. Winning writers will also receive a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award.”

The deadline for the Global Maternal Health Writing Contest is Thursday June 24 and winners will be announced on Wednesday July 7.

Click here for contest details.

Click here for information on recent Pulitzer Center reporting projects with a focus on maternal health.

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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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A new paper, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, published today in the Lancet Online First, suggests that global maternal deaths have dropped from 526,300 in 1980 to 342,900 in 2008.

The Lancet

The authors of the paper, estimate that the global MMR decreased from 422 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in 1980 to 251 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in 2008. They also conclude that more than 50%  of all maternal deaths in 2008 occurred in six countries alone: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“…Our analysis of all available data for maternal mortality from 1980 to 2008 for 181 countries has shown a substantial decline in maternal deaths. Progress overall would have been greater if the HIV epidemic had not contributed to substantial increases in maternal mortality in eastern and southern Africa. Global progress to reduce the MMR has been similar to progress to reduce maternal deaths, since the size of the global birth cohort has changed little during this period. Across countries, average yearly rates of decline from 1980 to 2008 in the MMR differed widely. This new evidence suggests there is a much greater reason for optimism than has been generally perceived, and that substantial decreases in the MMR are possible over a fairly short time…”

Read the full paper here.

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Kaiser Health News reports on a variety of innovative approaches to global health challenges that were developed in developing countries like Haiti and Nigeria–and are now being utilized in developed countries. Dr. Michael Merson, director of the Duke Global Health Institute, explains that in the past, development work was seen as a one way street, with the rich helping the poor.  He points out that these days have passed and we are entering a new era of international development that involves a “true sense of shared partnership.” This article highlights several global health innovations developed in resource poor settings that are now being adopted in the US, like Kangaroo Care.

Kaiser Health News

“…GE is tapping into the increasingly popular idea that medical innovation should be a global two-way street in which the West benefits from the resourcefulness and frugality poorer nations apply to health problems. The idea isn’t new, but it’s gaining traction, beyond the creation of products and technology, as public health experts rethink ways to prevent disease and deliver care…

…’Kangaroo care,’ an approach developed in Colombia, is another example. With a major shortage of incubators, doctors advised mothers to cradle preterm babies in a sling. They did so well that it changed what had been the conventional approach in the U.S….”

Read the full story 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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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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