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Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

On July 1st, the Women Deliver team announced the top five highlights from the 2010 conference (June 7-9). See below for a summary of the conference highlights–with links to publications, videos, photos, and additional information that came out of the conference.

This post was originally posted on the Women Deliver website and is reposted on MMD with permission from Women Deliver.
conference-participants.jpg

Women Deliver 2010 Conference participants

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the second Women Deliver global conference. To put world leaders on notice that the time for action on maternal health is now, 3,400 advocates, policymakers, development leaders, health care professionals, youth, and media from 146 countries converged on Washington, DC on June 7-9 at Women Deliver 2010. More than 800 speeches and presentations were given at the six plenaries and 120 breakout sessions.  The heads of five UN agencies, plus the Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended. Thirty countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, corporations, and foundations helped support Women Deliver. Please see below for highlights and recaps of the conference.

1. Key Statements. Read the outcome statements from the:

2. Webcasts. Watch the videos from our plenary sessions and our press conferences, and watch Hillary Clinton’s address to the Women Deliver 2010 attendees.

3. Photos. Take a look at photos from the plenary sessions, breakout sessions and other conference events, and download them at no cost.

4. Programme. Review the plenary and breakout sessions that were held at Women Deliver 2010.

5. Publications and Advocacy Tools. Visit our Knowledge Center to download publications and advocacy tools, including:

Stay tuned for our summary report on breakout sessions by theme.

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Several U.N. agencies recently collaborated on a text messaging initiative to improve communication between community health workers and pregnant women in a community in Rwanda. Local women, health workers, and hospital directors are raving about the initiative but scaling up the project throughout the country may prove challenging; only 6% of the population in Rwanda has electricity and charging phones often means long walks to charging stations.

Reuters

“…John Kalach, director of the nearest hospital in Ruhengeri, says since Rapid SMS launched in August 2009, his hospital has had no maternal deaths, compared to 10 the previous year.

‘We used to get ladies coming here with serious complications just because they delayed the decision because the journey was very long,’ he says.

Kalach says authorities can use the data to work out which diseases affect women during pregnancy, the causes of death for children below five years, the volume and type of drugs required, and to monitor population growth rates.

Friday Nwaigwe, UNICEF’s country head of child health and nutrition, says the next step is to give mobile phones to 17,500 maternal health workers across the country and eventually to all 50,000 community health workers…”

Read the full story here.

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On Wednesday, the Columbia Journalism Review published a thoughtful analysis of how the media is covering the new global maternal mortality estimates published in the Lancet on Monday. The piece provides a good overview of  how a handful of major news organizations are choosing to frame the story–raising questions about why some organizations  are choosing to focus on the content of the Lancet paper, while others ere focusing more on the ‘side story’ of a group of maternal health advocates who apparently pressured the Lancet not to publish the paper ( at least not to publish it yet). The Columbia Journalism Review analysis concludes that, overall,  the reporting on this story has been “simple” and “narrowly focused.”

“…A slew of news articles this week have focused on two recent reports about the number of women who die during pregnancy or in childbirth around the world every year.

The reports don’t exactly agree, and with public health experts and heads of state meeting at the United Nations this week to discuss maternal and child health issues, it is no surprise that some squabbling over the data has emerged. Unfortunately, reporters have not provided much detail or clarity about either the squabbling or the data…”

Read the full analysis here.

What do you think about how the media is covering this story?

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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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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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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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UNFPA is asking for help as they try to establish emergency obstetric services for the estimated 37,000 pregnant women affected by Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti.

ReliefWeb

“…To meet the urgent maternal health and other needs of women, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is seeking about $4.6 million as part of the coordinated United Nations Flash Appeal that will be launched today. The funding would supplement the supplies UNFPA is already providing in Haiti and address the specific needs of women, girls and other vulnerable populations for the next six months.”

Read the full story here.

Here is a list of what UNFPA will use the additional funds for:

– Refurbish maternity wards to handle emergency obstetric care and other life-saving health services

– Deploy skilled health professionals, such as midwives, obstetricians and nurses, to affected areas to provide maternal health and emergency obstetric care

– Provide emergency safe delivery and reproductive health medicines and supplies to temporary clinics and health facilities being set up

– Help safeguard the personal hygiene and dignity of women and girls by providing related sanitary supplies

– Facilitate access of affected populations, especially young people, to psychosocial counseling and other services

– Carry out interventions to prevent gender based violence.

UNFPA offers this contact information if you are looking for more info:

In Santo Domingo: Trygve Olfarnes, Tel: +507 301 7362, Satellite:

+ 898 8169 3160 0057 1740, olfarnes@unfpa.org.

In New York: Jessica Malter, Tel: + 1 212 297 5190, malter@unpfa.org

Omar Gharzeddine, Tel: + 1 212 297 5028 gharzeddine@unfpa.org

To donate directly to UNFPA, click here.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech comes in time for the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and marks a renewed  support for and dedication to reaching the goals of ICPD and other related UN agreements, including the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015.

ICPD called on governments and development agencies to place human beings—specifically young people and women—at the very heart of the development process. The conference also called for family planning, reproductive health, basic health and education needs to be met.

Millennium Development Goal 5 aims to improve international maternal health by reducing maternal mortality by 2/3 and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

“On Jan. 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address hundreds of health and development leaders at the State Department to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to achieving universal access to reproductive health for individual health, family well-being, broader economic development and a healthy planet.”

The speech is scheduled for 2:30 pm Friday, January 8, 2010.

The Secretary’s speech will be livestreamed at www.icpd2015.org.

For more information on the goals of ICPD and events marking the 15th anniversary, click here.

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Lagos state government, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has established a media network on population and development, reproductive health rights and gender equality

AllAfrica.com

“The media network was established at the just concluded three-day workshop held at Lagos Building Investment Conference in Ikeja. Speaking at the forum, Director, Public Enlightenment, in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Tunde Awobiyi, stated that the workshop was to empower and build the capacity of journalists to investigate and report on these three core areas (mentioned above).  He also urged journalists at the forum to develop relevant skills at the workshop to enable them to disseminate population data for development, empower women for effective management of gender-based violence and act as a catalyst for effective reproductive health and sexuality education…”

Click here to read the full story.

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These goals are too powerful to let go of!

In this piece, Hope Bursts Through, from the Ottawa Citizen, Sachs discusses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. He does not talk specifically about MDG5 (the focus of this blog), but he does talk about the goals in general terms.  He outlines the ways in which governments have not lived up to their commitments—but also writes passionately about the ways in which the Millennium Development Goals have changed the course of global poverty reduction (for the better).

He writes, “Perhaps the most remarkable fact of all about the struggle against extreme poverty is that 10 years later, the MDGs remain vivid, powerful, and a spur to action a decade after their adoption. In a world riven by war, hate, and environmental threats, the glory of shared goals to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people is simply too powerful and compelling to let go.”

He pushes for targeted investments, partnerships between rich and poor countries and for governments to follow through on the commitments they made at the Millennium Summit in 2000.

Read the full article here.

Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Read his bio here.

What do you think about Sachs’ piece? Comments?

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International Press Service News Agency

Q&A with Noeleen Heyzer, U.N. under-secretary general and head of UNESCAP

Nearly 15 years after a landmark international conference to advance the rights and freedoms of women, the picture in the Asia-Pacific region is mixed, says a leading women’s rights advocate and senior United Nations official.

Most disturbing for Heyzer is the region’s troubling record to slash the maternal mortality rates, the fifth goal in a set of eight development targets pledged by world leaders to be achieved by 2015. At a U.N. summit in 2000, the Millennium Development Goal for maternal mortality aimed to reduce by three-fourths the maternal mortality cases in 1990 by 2015.

Today, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for close to half of the nearly 500,000 maternal deaths recorded annually across the world.

“There is no reason why so many women have to die,” says Heyzer, who is also the former head of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) before her appointment two years ago to head ESCAP. “The figures are shocking, especially in a region where you have economic powerhouses. ”

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