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World Contraception Day: That Is Not the Life I Wanted

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

By: Bridget Akudo Nwagbara, Chair of the Youth Health Workers Advocates, Nigeria – MNCH

“I had a dream to be the best that I can at anything I want to be….I couldn’t because I became a mother at 15 years. I never wanted the baby. Now, I have to cope with the demands of being a mother without going to school. That is not the life I wanted”…*Anne

These voices echo those of Nigerian youths who don’t have access to basic reproductive health choices today. They were never told what contraceptives were all about, where to get them, how to get them and how to use them. Then, the big question is: Why are they denied the right to decide freely and responsibly when to start having sexual relationships, when to have children, and how many children they want? The answers are not far-fetched and it is important we bring them to fore this week to celebrate World Contraception Day. Read more...

African Ministers of Health Join Multi-Sector Partners In Forum On Improving Women’s Health

Meeting was aimed at determining ways to accelerate progress to improve the health of girls and women in developing countries._M3D9867.JPG

New York, NY, September 23
– Ministers of Health from several African countries joined high-level participants yesterday to identify programs and policies that will most effectively support the needs of disadvantaged women and girls in their countries. Timed to coincide with the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the forum focused on improving maternal health, which is one of eight global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at ending extreme poverty and strengthening health outcomes by 2015. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Volunteers Play Key Role in Vital Registration in Ghana

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

ghana_mother.jpgMany developing countries struggle to address their health needs without a complete picture of what those health needs are. The determinants of maternal mortality can be attributed to direct, indirect or underlying factors; it is important to identify the causes of pregnancy-related deaths to ensure resources are allocated most effectively to specific intervention and prevention strategies. But what do you do if you don’t have that data? Ghana is working to increase coverage of civil registration and quality of death attribution by training community-based volunteers. Read more...

Fostering Partnerships Between Governments and the Private Sector for Better Healthcare in Africa

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Housing 12 percent of the world’s population, sub-Saharan Africa bears 26 percent of the global disease burden. For women, the lifetime risk of maternal death in sub-Saharan Africa is 1 in 31 compared with 1 in 4,300 in industrialized nations. Despite the narrowed focus on healthcare access for girls and women, the public health sector alone cannot adequately provide services for the continent. Read more...

Confidential Inquiry Into Maternal Deaths in Nigeria: A Call to Hold our Health System Accountable

By: Bridget Nwagbara, Youth Health Worker Advocates-MNCH; Originally posted on White Ribbon Alliance Blog

This month, while world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly, WRA has called on our members to submit stories and photographs that illustrate progess that is being made to maternal and newborn health, as well as the efforts of advocates to hold governments accountable to commitments that have been made to Every Woman, Every Child. This posting comes from Bridget Nwagbara, WRA Member, Nigeria. Read more...

If you were born as an African baby…

By: Joy Lawn, Save the Children; Originally posted on the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) here

If you were born today in Africa, you would face the same risk of dying in your first month of life as if you were born during World War II in Great Britain. That’s 11 times greater risk than British babies face today, seven decades later. Somalia is Africa’s most dangerous country to be born, with a risk almost 20 times higher. PLoS Medicine has just published a new study on newborn deaths by the World Health Organization, Save the Children and partners showing that, increasingly, a baby’s chance of surviving the first month of life depend on where that baby is born. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Coffee Partnership Works to Prevent Cervical Cancer

coffee_beans.jpgBy: Kristin Rosella, Program Associate for Strategic Partnerships for Women Deliver

Thousands of women in low-resource areas of Mexico, Nicaragua, and Tanzania are now getting life-saving cervical cancer screenings through a unique public-private partnership between Grounds for Health, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, and coffee-farming cooperatives. Read more...

New Report Documents Maternity Care Failures in South Africa

Human_Rights_Watch_South_Africa_report.jpgA recent report by Human Rights Watch, “Stop Making Excuses’: Accountability for Maternal health Care in South Africa,” documents maternity care failures that include the abuse of maternity patients by health workers and substandard care in Eastern Cape Province, putting women and their newborns at high risk of death or injury. Read more…

Celebrate Solutions: In Angola, Fighting Malaria and Building Maternity Wards to Save Lives

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Angolan_Mother.jpgIn Angola, child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. There are multiple causes for this dire distinction, and Pathfinder has implemented programs to help address two of the most prominent – malaria and a lack of access to safe delivery facilities. Although malaria is preventable, it is a major cause of maternal and newborn illness and death in the country. Read more…

2015+: A World Without the MDGs

2015+.JPGBy: Dr. Frederick Torgbor Sai, a Ghanaian family health physician and honorary co-chair of Women Deliver 2010 conference

The eight MDGs are too well known to warrant repetition here. MDG 5 asked for a reduction of the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 2000 and 2015. Other goals related directly to MDG 5 are focused on child health, improvement in women’s status and the reduction of poverty. The attainment of all the other MDGs would also influence MDG 5, as would its attainment also impact all the others. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Integrating Family Planning and Fuel Efficiency for Better Health, Environment

tanzania.gifBy: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

Rukia Seif holds an unusual place in her community.

In addition, to being a mother of three, Seif is a population, health, and environment (PHE) peer educator in her Tanzanian village on the outskirts of Saadani National Park. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Kenya to Spend $3.4 Million to Give Free Sanitary Pads to School Girls

kenya_girl.JPGBy: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

The Kenyan finance ministry this month announced plans to allocate $3.4 million in the current fiscal budget to provide free sanitary pads to school girls in an effort to remove a major barrier to education in the east African nation. Read more...

Mothers Facing Famine in Horn of Africa

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is intensifying its efforts to assist mothers affected by famine and displacement in the Horn of Africa.

“We call upon the international community to urgently look after the unique needs of pregnant women and mothers whose families’ survival are particularly at risk,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said in an agency release. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: For New Moms, Linking Long-Acting Family Planning with Child Immunizations

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Last month I attended a session at the 38th Annual Global Health Council Conference on immunization as a platform for family planning integration. Today I’d like to highlight a program featured at this session: a project aiming to reach high-need, postpartum women in Bamako, Mali with family planning services and counseling. Read more...

 

Local Perspectives: Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Nigeria

By: Toyin Ajao, winner of Women Bloggers Deliver Contest

When I put myself in their shoes, I imagine one of the most difficult feelings experienced by any one of the 200,000 Nigerian pregnant women living with HIV is knowing that the deadly virus could be transmitted to their child without the right care. Read more...

Take Action: Support the Right to Maternal Health in Uganda

On July 7, the Constitutional Court of Uganda will begin hearing arguments in a landmark case that alleges that the Ugandan government is violating its constitution by failing to promote the right to health and the right to life of mothers. Read more and learn how you can get involved...

Celebrate Solutions: Fostering Husbands’ Involvement and Support in Ethiopia

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

A few months ago I wrote about a program that works to empower young women in Guatemala by providing essential health, education, and social services to an underserved population. Today I’d like to highlight the flip side: a gender project that works with men in rural Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 40 and the contraceptive prevalence rate is just 15 percent. HIV prevalence in the Amhara region is significant. The Addis Birhan (meaning “new light” in Amharic) program seeks to promote HIV prevention by changing attitudes and promoting equitable relationships through educating and engaging husbands in issues related to reproductive health, including HIV prevention, family planning, gender violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic responsibilities. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Free caesarean policy increases utilization in Mali, but challenges remain

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

Mali_mother.jpgThe government of Mali in 2005 began offering free caesarean sections in public hospitals, health clinics, and army hospitals. The policy change was driven by the reality that high maternal costs often prevent women from giving birth in health care facilities—and catastrophic costs, such as for caesareans, have the “potential to plunge a household into poverty.” Six years later, the policy is associated with a steady increase in caesarean rates, a drop in maternal and neonatal mortality, and a rise in institutional deliveries in the West African nation, according to a recent report by USAID’s Health System 20/20. Read more...

Live From Kenya: Equal Treatment at Birth

By: Rachel Cernansky, winner of the Women Bloggers Deliver contest

In rural Kenya, a majority of women give birth at home and without a skilled attendant--often because hospitals, and the transportation to even get to a hospital, are simply too expensive and inaccessible for so many women.

Now imagine the situation for HIV-positive women, who should give birth by C-section to reduce the risk of transmission from mother to child. According to the Ministry of Health, only 65 percent of hospitals in the country provide that procedure. It's also more expensive, so even if it's locally available, it's not always a realistic option. Read more...

Live from Kenya: So Much More Than Water

By: Rachel Cernansky, winner of the Women Bloggers Deliver contest

school2.jpgIt was raining when we got to the Malava Girls school--the loud, heavy kind of rain that makes it hard to hear your own voice inside--and we weren't sure we would get to visit with the girls we came to see. The plan was to demonstrate a LifeStraw Family and to hear what they had to say about clean water and the impact of waterborne diseases on their lives.

But we waited the rain out and did get to see the girls, just an hour or so later than scheduled. And we got to hear about so much more than just water. Read more...

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