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Celebrate Solutions: New Hotline for Women with Obstetric Fistula in Sierra Leone

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver 

fistula.jpgThis fall, the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone is bringing hope to thousands of women affected by obstetric fistula. In October, the centre, which provides a variety of maternal and child health services, began offering a free phone hotline, follow up services, and surgery for women suffering from this debilitating condition.

Obstetric fistula, like maternal mortality, is an almost entirely preventable condition experienced by at least 2 million women in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia every year. When a woman has obstructed labor delaying delivery of her baby, a hole can form in the tissue between her bladder, vagina, and rectum causing uncontrollable leakage of feces or urine and can result in a stillborn birth. Performing surgery to repair the fistula is successful 90 percent of the time, but many women in these regions often do not have access to trained surgeons and have little knowledge of existing treatments. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: One Country’s Plant Is The Whole World’s Treasure

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

bamboobike.jpgWhat is stronger than steel, completely sustainable, and could transform the lives of underserved rural women and girls worldwide? The answer is Bamboo. And Ghana’s commitment to bamboo bicycles is a powerful first step in showing how resourceful this plant can be.

Access to rural transport is critical to poverty reduction and development. When unavailable, communities that can’t get their goods to market, can’t bring in new capital; nor can individuals reach new and more lucrative employment opportunities. In addition, statistics have shown that countries with the least access to rural transport have the highest maternal mortality and gender education disparity, as issues of mobility are intrinsically linked to a country’s economic growth and the global issue of climate change. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Hope and Opportunity to Kenya’s Maasai Girls and Women

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate, Women Deliver
 
When Kakenya Ntaiya was 5 years old, she was engaged to be married. Growing up in Enoosaen, a rural Maasi village in southwestern Kenya, she helped her mother tend the farm and cattle, take care of her siblings, and gather water from the river. She rarely had the chance to attend school; only when her chores were completed.

In her village, like many others in Kenya, girls are expected to undergo female genital cutting (FGC), a coming-of-age ritual signifying womanhood at the age of puberty. After the ceremony has concluded, she is deemed ready for marriage. But Kakenya did not want to be married yet. She had dreams of going through primary and secondary school, going to college and becoming a teacher. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Hospitals and Clinics in Senegal Improve Access to Family Planning

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

SenegalMother.jpgThe West African nation of Senegal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world—with 410 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. Considering an estimated five children are born per woman, it is clear that the health and safety of women in the country greatly depend on their ability to control if and when they have children.

Despite prevailing views placing emphasis on the value of larger families, more Senegalese are choosing to space their births, have fewer children, and seek long-term family planning options, Fatou Seck, a midwife at Hospital Centre for Health and Hygiene in Medina, Senegal, recently told IRIN News. Read more...

What Care Will the Mother of the Seven Billionth Baby Receive?

By: Natalie Imbruglia, singer, actress and spokesperson for Virgin Unite and the Campaign to End Fistula; originally posted on DFID's blog here

This month, the seven billionth human being will be born. It may be a baby boy or a baby girl, it will probably be born in the developing world, and chances are good that this baby's mother will suffer complications or even a severe birth injury like obstetric fistula. Up to 45,000 women do, every day. Read more...

Speakers of African Parliaments Adopt Resolution on Declaration of Commitment to MNCH

Johannesburg, South Africa, October 24 – African Speakers of Parliaments and Presidents of Senate have unanimously adopted a landmark resolution on a Declaration of Commitment to prioritize parliamentary support for increased policy and budget action on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in African countries. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Universal Anesthetic Machine Saves Lives In Developing Countries

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

DRC.jpgImagine you are an expectant mother in a developing country. You know women who have died in childbirth and want to make sure both you and your child are safe. You have heard the “big” hospital has trained midwives and surgeons, so as you go into labor, you travel there.

Your labor is long, too long, and the midwife is concerned something is wrong. The pain in your belly intensifies and the midwife takes your blood pressure. It is dangerously low. You are told you are losing a lot of blood and you need to have an operation to get the baby out. You are afraid, but you trust in the hospital’s trained staff. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Chickpeas Nourish Ethiopia’s Mothers, Children and Agricultural Economy

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

chickpeas.jpgCould chickpeas be a potential solution for meeting two of Ethiopia’s biggest challenges: child malnourishment and an underperforming economy?

PepsiCo, the World Food Programme (WFP), and USAID believe so. That’s why the company is entering into an innovative public-private partnership with the WFP and USAID to promote food and economic security in the east African nation. Under Enterprise EthioPEA, the three organizations will work with nearly 10,000 Ethiopian farmers to double chickpea yields by utilizing modern agricultural practices and better irrigation techniques. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Meeting the Reproductive Needs of Refugee Women

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

Somali_Women.jpgIn 2008, while attempting to escape fighting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Fadhumo* fled the city with two of her seven children. After seeking shelter in the Bariga Bosasso refugee settlement, she was eventually reunited with her sister and remaining children.

Security was limited, however, and the then-pregnant Fadhumo was raped by two men. “I tried to fight them off but they were much stronger. They beat me viciously, breaking both my wrists. They raped me repeatedly without caring that I was pregnant,” Fadhumo told the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a result of the rape, Fadhumo lost her unborn child and fell into a deep depression. Her ability to support herself or her other children diminished. Thankfully, Fadhumo is now rebuilding her life, has re-launched her grocery business and joined a support group for rape survivors. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Dairy Cooperative Empowers Tanzania’s HIV Population

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate at Women DeliverTanzania_Cow.jpg

Nearly 730,000 women are living with HIV in Tanzania. Among them is 61-year old Faith. One of 1,600 women and men participating in the “Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB)” training program, Faith now has access to the entrepreneurial skills-building and HIV awareness-raising activities the program provides.

“I learnt that you need money or a business to generate enough income to be able to travel to town for regular check-ups and to collect antiretroviral drugs. We do not have these services at our village dispensary,” said Faith. Read more...

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...

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