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In my last few weeks at the Maternal Health Task Force, I have been working with Raji Mohanam, Knowledge Management Specialist at the MHTF, Matthew Meschery, Director of Digital Initiatives at ITVS, and Lisa Russell, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of MDGFive.com, and an incredible team of presenters, to coordinate a panel presentation on digital tools for maternal health for the Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi. Take a look below for a post I wrote for the MHTF Blog about the upcoming panel session–with info on how to participate remotely.

I am off to India tomorrow! Check back next week for posts from the conference.

The upcoming Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi (August 30th-September 1st) will focus on lessons learned, neglected issues, and innovative approaches to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. The anticipated outcome of the conference is increased consensus around the evidence, programs and advocacy needed to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

One session, Maternal Health Digital, will showcase a number of digital communication tools being applied to maternal health. Matthew Meschery, Director of Digital Initiatives at the Independent Television Service, will moderate the session—and will guide panelists and participants through a lively discussion that will explore the potential of digital tools to improve the health of women around the world. Panelists will also address questions about how to measure the impact of such projects.

Throughout the session, conference participants will learn about an email help desk that is aiming to increase access to misoprostol and mifepristine, a mobile phone and radio initiative that is aiming to improve delivery of maternal and neonatal health services, an online media “mash-up” tool that is enabling users to make their own advocacy videos, a crowd-sourcing project that is tapping into the knowledge of front-line maternal health care providers in 9 languages, and more.

This exciting session will include presentations from Google.orgWomen on WebZMQ Software SystemsHealth ChildMDGFive.com, the Social Media Research Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis ReportingUniversity of Oxford, the Maternal Health Task Force, and the Independent Television Service.

Take a look at the session summary:

In recent years, the health, technology, and communication sectors have come together to innovate health communications through the use of digital media. Advances in tools for cross-media storytelling, social networking, digital games, real-time messaging, and mobile and location-aware technologies are being adapted to fit the needs of the maternal health community—and are helping to fuel the increased momentum around the issue. In this interactive session, conference participants will learn about a diverse range of innovative projects that are aiming to identify challenges and solutions for providing care to pregnant women, build stronger connections among maternal health organizations, create new ways to collect and use data, foster increased collaboration through engaging communities, and continue to drive attention toward the issue. As well as highlighting the promise of these new tools, we will also look at some specific challenges such as measuring impact, working in areas with limited connectivity, and merging online and offline strategies. There will be a series of mini-presentations on crowd-sourcing, interactive mapping, a media mash-up tool, an online reporting hub, mobile health campaigns, and more. Participants will not only get an over-view of a wide variety of strategies and recent developments in digital health communications—but they will also learn tips for applying many of these new tools to their own work and engage in a dialogue around how to maximize the utility of these technologies in order to significantly improve the health of women around the world.

This session will be live streamed! Click here for the live stream schedule.

Join the discussion via Twitter! Conference hashtag: #GMHC2010, Session hashtag: #GMHC2010Digital


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In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8th), Pathfinder International has launched an initiative called 200 Thousand for 200 Million. The goal is to reach 200,000 shares of the Girl2Woman videos–and for every video shared, $1 will be donated to improving access to reproductive health services for the 200 million women around the world who lack adequate access to modern contraceptives.

Pathfinder International

As 2010 International Women’s Day approaches with the theme, ‘Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity,’ Pathfinder International believes a crucial aspect of improving women’s lives is missing in the current development dialogue: reproductive health.

‘How can women have equal rights and equal opportunities to have healthy, productive lives if they do not have the ability to choose if, when, and how often to have children?’ Pathfinder President Dan Pellegrom said. ‘It is a fundamental and basic human right to have access to a range of reproductive health care services.’

Pathfinder wants to ensure every woman can exercise that right. Girl2Woman.org features six videos showcasing the importance of reproductive health care throughout life. Every time a video is shared through Girl2Woman.org, a generous donor will give $1 to improve reproductive health services.

‘This International Women’s Day we need to band together, raise our voices and insist that women around the world no longer be marginalized. It impacts the civil and economic success of communities—and to be effective, it must all begin with reproductive health care,’ President Pellegrom said.”

To help raise awareness and reach the 200,000 goal, Pathfinder is urging all supporters to take 60 seconds to spread the word:

  • Visit www.Girl2Woman.org and share the videos with 5 friends
  • Post the Girl2Woman video on your blog or website
  • Tweet “200K shares for 200M women. Share videos on www.Girl2Woman.org, support women worldwide.”
  • Update your Facebook status with “200K shares for 200M women. Support women by helping www.girl2woman.org reach 200K video shares by International Women’s Day, March 8.”

For more information about the challenge or to help, please contact Linda Suttenfield, Director of Communications at lsuttenfield@pathfind.org or by phone 617- 955-2422.

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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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Downing Tweet Parties to Support Maternal Mortality Campaign
Huffington Post

The British First Lady, Sarah Brown, blogs on the Huffington Post about how she tweets on twitter to create awareness and build support for campaigns to achieve MDG5–to reduce maternal mortality and ensure universal access to reproductive health services.

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