Putting Maternal Health on the Map

By: Joanna Hoffman, Program Associate at Women Deliver, originally posted at the Maternal Health Task Force blog

Increasingly in the maternal health field, it is critical to know who the other players in the field are, where they work and how we can work together instead of constantly reinventing the wheel. This was the core incentive behind the mapping project Women Deliver has been working on with the Maternal Health Task Force. Since 2009, as of today we have mapped 884 NGOs working in the maternal health field: 527 total in India, Nigeria, Ghana, Bolivia, Peru and Indonesia; and 357 total so far in Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Taking part in this project has been enlightening, and has enabled us to identify barriers to access as well as potential for partnerships. Read more...

WHO: We Need to Do More to Protect Women’s Health

The need for increased efforts to improve women’s health was highlighted during the 61st session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, which took place in Malaysia last week from October 11-15th.  WHO Regional Director of the Pacific Shin Young-Soo, a participant at Women Deliver’s “Accelerating Action on the MDGs” brunch event during the UN summit, remarked during a pre-session press conference that “…it is absolutely shameful in this day and age that so many women in the region are dying in childbirth or pregnancy.”   Each day, more than 100 women in the region die from pregnancy-related causes. Read more...

UN: $750 Million Needed to Treat Obstetric Fistula

Last Monday, October 11th, the United Nations released a report entitled "Supporting Efforts to End Obstetric Fistula" which estimates that $750 million will be needed to treat existing and new cases of obstetric fistula occurring between now and 2015. 

Despite being almost entirely preventable when universal and equitable access to quality maternal and reproductive health services exists, the Lancet has reported that at least 2 million and as many as 3.5 million women suffer from obstetric fistula.  According to the World Health Organization, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable, and their risk for maternal mortality is two to five times greater than that faced by women in their twenties. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Increasing Women’s Access to Mobile Technology Worldwide

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver Bolivia_Cell_Phone_Mom.jpg

Imagine a woman home alone and going into premature childbirth. She feels helpless and scared, and begins to bleed. Now imagine this woman has a mobile phone. She feels connected and more secure, knowing help is a text or phone call away. And if she had had access to a phone during her pregnancy, prenatal text messages could have prepared her for such an emergency. It is no surprise that increasing the use of mobile phones among women is a key strategy to reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and one of the five technologies that Women Deliver is championing to reach MDG5. Read more...

Blog Action Day: Water and Maternal Health

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver brazil_women_water.jpg

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is water. What does safe water have to do with maternal health? A lot. To significantly improve maternal, newborn, and reproductive health, it requires access to quality care for pregnancy and childbirth. Safe health care requires safe water, as well as basic sanitation and waste management. Infections directly contribute to 36% of newborn deaths and sepsis accounts for 15% of maternal deaths in developing countries. If a hospital lacks adequate plumbing, or a village experiences a water shortage, it makes women and children especially vulnerable to the destructive effects of unsafe water. Contact with unsafe water can result in exposure to a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites and therefore can result in waterborne disease, and in some cases, death. Diarrhea weakens pregnant women’s immune systems and results in morbidity and mortality among infants and children under 5. Read more...

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