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Posts Tagged ‘WHO’

On November 15th, Maternova, an organization that conducts continuous research into the latest innovations impacting maternal and newborn health, featured the “paperless partogram” on their blog. The blog post explains that for the past thirty years, the partogram has been the recommended practice for preventing prolonged labor in low-resource settings–but it seems that not all health workers find it to be an appropriate tool for the contexts in which they work.

Maternova

“…The partograph is a low-cost tool for saving the lives of mothers and babies. But does that mean it is an appropriate tool? Dr. A. K. Debdas of India would say no. Even after the WHO simplified the partograph model to make it more user-friendly in 2000, the partograph is still rarely used in low-resource areas, and, when actually used, it is rarely interpreted correctly (2). Debdas argues that the WHO’s partograph fails to meet the organization’s own requirements for appropriate technology: the partograph has not been adapted to local needs, is not acceptable to those who use it, and cannot be used given the available resources. Debdas believes the partograph is simply too time-consuming for overburdened clinicians and too complicated for many skilled birth attendants—many of whom have not received higher education.

Dr. Debdas proposes a new, low-skill method for preventing prolonged labor—the paperless partogram. It takes 20 seconds, requires only basic addition and the reading of a clock or watch, and holds potential for more effectively mobilizing clinicians to prevent prolonged labor. Appropriate on all counts…”

Click here to read the full post on the Maternova blog and learn how the “paperless partogram” works!

And while you are on the Maternova site, be sure to check out the Health Innovations page. I found the “Baby Bubbles” and the “Salad Spinner Centrifuge for Anemia” particularly interesting…

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In April, the Lancet published new maternal mortality estimates (out of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) that showed a significant reduction in global maternal deaths, shaking up the global health community’s understanding of the global burden of the issue–and providing new hope. The report also illustrated the important links between HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality.

In the wake of the Lancet report, maternal health professionals from various organizations engaged in robust dialogue (like this one) about measurement methodologies–and raised questions about when the World Health Organization would release their estimates and how they might differ from the IHME estimates.

On September 15th, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank released their new maternal mortality estimates in a report, Trends in maternal mortality. Their report also showed a significant drop in maternal deaths—a 34% decrease between 1990 and 2008.

Excerpt from the WHO press release:

“The new estimates show that it is possible to prevent many more women from dying. Countries need to invest in their health systems and in the quality of care.

‘Every birth should be safe and every pregnancy wanted,’ says Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of UNFPA. ‘The lack of maternal health care violates women’s rights to life, health, equality, and non-discrimination. MDG5 can be achieved,’ she adds, ‘but we urgently need to address the shortage of health workers and step up funding for reproductive health services’…”

More highlights from the report:

  • Ten out of 87 countries with maternal mortality ratios equal to or over 100 in 1990, are on track with an annual decline of 5.5% between 1990 and 2008. At the other extreme, 30 made insufficient or no progress since 1990.
  • The study shows progress in sub-Saharan Africa where maternal mortality decreased by 26%.
  • In Asia, the number of maternal deaths is estimated to have dropped from 315 000 to 139 000 between 1990 and 2008, a 52% decrease.
  • 99% of all maternal deaths in 2008 occurred in developing regions, with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounting for 57% and 30% of all deaths respectively.

Click here to read the press release and here to read the full report.

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On Sunday, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof about the use of Misoprostol for medical abortion. In his column, Another Pill That Could Cause a Revolution, Nick explains that Misoprostol is a safe and cheap method for ending a pregnancy. It is also difficult to regulate because the drug was originally intended to prevent stomach ulcers–and is also used to treat postpartum hemorrhage.

Excerpt from the column:

“Could the decades-long global impasse over abortion worldwide be overcome — by little white pills costing less than $1 each?

That seems possible, for these pills are beginning to revolutionize abortion around the world, especially in poor countries. One result may be tens of thousands of women’s lives saved each year.

Five-sixths of abortions take place in developing countries, where poor sterilization and training often make the procedure dangerous. Up to 70,000 women die a year from complications of abortions, according to the World Health Organization.

But researchers are finding an alternative that is safe, cheap and very difficult for governments to restrict — misoprostol, a medication originally intended to prevent stomach ulcers…”

Read the full story here.

Click here to learn about a recent initiative organized by Gynuity Health Projects to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of sublingual misoprostol to treat postpartum hemorrhage.

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Cross-posted from the MHTF Blog.

The World Health Organization (WHO) invites you to join the WHO Guidance Global Discussion Forum on Prevention of Maternal and Perinatal Mortality and Morbidity.

The online forum will be held from July 26th – August 6th, 2010.

The 2 week virtual discussion forum is designed to provide an opportunity for people to share their ideas, experience and opinions about the type of evidence-based guidance WHO should produce in order to support the reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity.

Over the two-week forum participants will receive one to two emails per day: one email to introduce the day’s questions, and one daily digest of the contributions. Five questions will be addressed, and each discussed over two consecutive days. All contributions received will be acknowledged.

For any questions on this Virtual Global Discussion Forum please contact the forum facilitator: Cordelia Coltart at coltartc@who.int.

Click here for official announcement and invitation to the discussion forum.

REGISTER NOW!

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The symposium, Measuring the Progress on Maternal and Child Mortality: Data, Alternative Methods, and Findings, will be held on May 24th from 11:15am to 5pm at the Washington D.C. Kaiser Family Foundation office, immediately following a 9:30am policy forum on maternal and child health organized by the Kaiser Family Foundation. This all day symposium will bring together several maternal and child health experts and will be moderated by Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet, Richard Horton.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

“…The all day event is designed to initiate vigorous scientific dialogue around the data and analytic approaches used in determining maternal and child mortality rates around the world. The symposium will also highlight the critical role that multiple organizations play in analyzing and disseminating mortality findings in order to strengthen overall methods and results…”

Speakers include:

Diego Bassani, Centre for Global Health Research, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto
Ties Boerma, WHO
Ed Bos, World Bank
Trevor Croft, ICF Macro
Amanda Glassman, Inter-American Development Bank
Alan Lopez, University of Queensland
Rafael Lozano, IHME and former General Director of Health Information at the Ministry of Health in Mexico
Christopher JL Murray, IHME
Kenji Shibuya, University of Tokyo

Click here for the official event announcement.

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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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The Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) has issued a call for nominations for a new representative to fill an available seat on the Board, and invites your organization to nominate an academic expert in maternal health. 

Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

“The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health is governed by the PMNCH Board and its two accompanying committees — the Finance Committee and the Executive Committee. The Board Members represent their constituencies, made up of the full membership of the Partnership, as well as a balance between the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health interest and geographical areas.”

Click here for more information on the Board.

The board is seeking a representative to replace the outgoing representative, Professor Wendy J Graham, from IMMPACT, University of Aberdeen. The two other positions representing the academic, research and training constituency remain filled by academic expert in newborn health Professor Vinod Paul, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences; and  academic expert in the field of child health Professor Jane Schaller, from the International Paediatric Association.

Click here for the document outlining the process for electing a representative to the PMNCH board.

For more information or to submit your organization’s nomination: PMNCHAdmin@who.int

Nominations must be received before April 1st, 2010.

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