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Celebrate Solutions: OBGYNs Improving Maternal & Infant Health in Ethiopia

By: Madeline Taskier, University of Michigan, Global Initiatives

In Ethiopia, women are 200 times more at risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than women in developed countries. Almost a third of all maternal death and morbidity in Ethiopia is caused by unsafe abortion procedures., and the country has a strikingly high health workforce shortage. Due in part to these factors, Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Education Opportunities for Girls in Rural Honduras

By: Katia Gomez, Executive Director, Educate2Envision

According to UNESCO, only 28% of rural youth 15-25 years have completed a secondary school education compared with 60% of those from urban areas in Honduras. This truth is complicated by the fact that more than half of the secondary school age population resides in rural areas.

Aside from the average four hour walk round trip to reach the nearest secondary school and the total cost incurred by households to send their children to class equipped with all necessary supplies, the lack of opportunity for young people to gain practical leadership skills and play a direct role in developing their communities is a critical barrier to confronting generational poverty. This holds true especially for girls who must break free of the gender norms that are perpetuated daily in their isolated surroundings. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions:  Peer Educator Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening in Mozambique

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in developing countries. In 2009, the government of Mozambique launched the first ever national cervical cancer program, offering screening and treatment as part of reproductive health services. With support from USAID, and working closely with Jhpiego and local partners, the program has increased the number of women accessing screening facilities. Nostina Ngomane, a 43-year-old widowed mother of two, is one of the program’s beneficiaries. Persuaded to get screened through a cancer awareness presentation at a church gathering, Ngomane has taken on the role of a peer educator and is now working directly with screening sites supported by USAID’s global Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). Working to raise awareness, Ngomane reaches out to other women and talks to them about cervical and breast cancer, HIV, and family planning. Read More...

Celebrate Solutions: Improved Health, Flat Bellies, and Nutritious Food

By: Farhana Ali, Catapult; Originally posted on Catapult.org

Gina has three children and although she doesn’t want any more, her husband refuses to pay for contraceptives because he believes there are more important uses for the money. Since Gina doesn’t earn her own income, convincing her husband to change his mind proved futile. That’s when she came across Roots of Health—a nonprofit that works to enhance the lives of girls, women, and their communities in the Philippines, through educational, medical, and nutritional support—that was providing free contraceptives. Gina finally felt in control of her own body. This is just one example of the impact Roots of Health projects have made for girls & women. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Expanding Universal Health Coverage to Save Lives

By: Dr. Jeanette Vega, Managing Director for Health, Rockefeller Foundation

In just over a year since the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), we have seen incredible momentum around the topic. UHC is fast becoming one of the most important and relevant issues in the global health sector, setting the stage for UHC’s prioritization in the post-2015 development agenda. Now, global health leaders Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Jay, and Ana Langer have authored a new essay in PLoS Medicine that highlights the importance of Improving Women’s Health through Universal Health Coverage. Building on the Lancet Series on Universal Health Coverage and a recent  on UHC and equity, the authors argue that UHC is a powerful driver for women's health. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Zambia and Uganda Reduce Maternal Mortality by One Third in One Year

by: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Maternal mortality is regarded as an indicator of the overall functioning of health systems. That’s to say that when women are to dying in pregnancy and childbirth, it’s crucial to look at how services are delivered. The year one evaluation of Saving Mothers, Giving Life reveals a significant reduction in number of women dying in pregnancy & childbirth due to the a focus on services delivered at these critical points: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours postpartum. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Saving Mothers’ Lives with Misoprostol

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Liberia is one of several countries where USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and Jhpiego have rolled out a new program to distribute misoprostol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Liberia was chosen as a recipient country because of its high maternal mortality ratio of 994 deaths per 100,000 live births, high rate of home births, and limited access to health care facilities.

The six-month program, with support from the Liberian government, is designed to support the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in fulfilling its maternal health objectives by building the capacity of health workers to implement the initiative throughout the country. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Domestic Violence Survivors Learn Legal Rights

By: Rati Bishnoi, Program Manager, Catapult

The following is a 90-day progress report on Jenesse Center’s “Legal self-defense for domestic violence survivors" project, which fully funded on Catapult earlier this year. Jenesse Center, Inc.—the oldest domestic violence intervention program in South Los Angeles—is more than just a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Jenesse is a family institute with training and educational programs, services and outreach efforts that offer hope by rebuilding lives, reuniting families and enriching our community. This summer—through a fundraising campaign on Catapult — Jenesse was able to raise fund $25,000 to help domestic violence survivors effectively represent themselves and advocate for their legal rights in court. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Universal Periodic Review as an Inroad to Progress

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kyrgyzstan, civil society groups such as Labrys Kyrgyzstan have been struggling for years to convince the government to expand women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, to develop sexuality educations programs, and to effectively prosecute violence against women and LGBT individuals. In the face of strong gender norms and a legislative system reluctant to respond to domestic violence, the path to progress has been long and fraught with obstacles.

In 2010, Labrys Kyrgyzstan and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) partnered to submit a report to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan accepted recommendations from the Czech Republic and Uruguay to review and reform legislative actions around gender-based violence and hate crimes, and invited Labrys to hold a training for government officials. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: 13 Commodities for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

In 2012, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health was formed to call attention to the need for increasing access to and use of critical medicines and health supplies in the countries where the most women, newborns, and children under five die each year. The Commission released a report which outlined a priority list of 13 reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) commodities that can prevent and treat many of the leading causes of death in these countries. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Giving HIV-Positive Women in Cambodia a Fresh Start

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

According to a report from the joint UN AIDS & UN Women Asia Regional Technical Meeting on Responding to the Feminization of AIDS, the proportion of women living with HIV increased from 38% to 52% between 1997 and 2006. Since 2006, however, this trend has turned around. In 2011, women accounted for 44% of new HIV infections and this rate is expected to continue to decrease. Discrimination against women living with HIV is prevalent, particularly in rural areas where it is compounded by a lack of education around the epidemic. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Shining a Light on Rural Honduras

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Honduras, one out of every three homes is shrouded in darkness, with no form of electricity. For 2.5 million rural Honduras, dangerous kerosene lamps or candles are the only forms of light they can rely on at night. The kerosene lamps lead to increased risks of house fires, exposure to deadly air pollution, and are expensive. This is especially problematic for health workers in rural areas, who only have these lamps to light their way when attending to women during childbirth. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Cell Phones to Make Breast Milk Safe for Babies

By: Rati Bishnoi, Program Manager, Catapult

The following is a 90-day progress report on PATH’s “Banking breast milk for babies" project, which was fully funded on Catapult earlier this year.

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that works to transforms global health through innovation. By taking an entrepreneurial approach, PATH develops and deliver high-impact, low-cost solutions to people and communities in 70 countries. This summer—through a fundraising campaign on Catapult.org—PATH was able to raise fund $50,000 to support a lifesaving low-cost intervention to save newborn babies using mobile phones and donated breast milk. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Video Series Combats Fistula Stigma

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Obstetric fistula is preventable, treatable and far too common. Estimated to affect more than 2 million girls and woman globally, up to 90% of fistulas are treatable with surgery. Yet somewhere between diagnosis and recovery, women experience staggering stigma, and many are even shunned by members of their community. The Uganda Fistula Stories series is working to combat this by reminding fistula survivors that they are not alone. By hearing stories from other women who have undergone successful fistula repair surgery, women are given hope for a fistula-free future. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Sex Trafficking Survivors in the Philippines

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that works to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls worldwide. It is the world’s first organization to fight human trafficking internationally. With funding received from Catapult,  developed an innovative camp for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in Manila, Philippines to provide support, education, and trainings. The three-day program, which took place this past September, built the capacity of self-help groups and provided support to survivors through counseling aimed to equip survivors with knowledge about women’s rights, create a safe space to share their experiences, and provide trainings in leadership and organizing. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Health Care to Street Youth in Peru

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

The following contains excerpts from INPPARES' Progress Report on Catapult

Successfully reaching vulnerable youth requires strong partnerships with clinics, youth organizations, and governments. It also entails empowering young people themselves to demand their rights. INPPARES is working closely the Cesar López Silva Health Clinic, a center with services tailored specifically to adolescents, to ensure they can meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable youth in the Villa El Salvador District of Lima, Peru. The International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region affiliate raised $32,500 through their project on Catapult to do just that. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Maasai Girls Through Education

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult

Located in the Trans Mara district of Kenya, the Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school focused on serving the most vulnerable underprivileged Maasai girls. The academy provides girls a space for academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. This summer—through a fundraising campaign on Catapult.org—the Kakenya Center for Excellence was able to raise funds to provide uniforms, foods, books and supplies, and personal items for 30 students and support a teacher's salary. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Pakistani Midwives Provide Postpartum Family Planning Services

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

A new initiative, led by Jhpiego and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is providing counseling to women about postpartum family planning methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and space births to improve the health of the mother and child. The program has trained 425 maternal health care providers of different skill levels across 21 facilities about postpartum family planning methods, including the postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD). It has also included input from district managers from the Government of Pakistan’s health and population departments and has taught them how to provide appropriate and supportive supervision to health facility staff. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: For Young Female Asylum Seekers, Hope for the Future

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Around the world, there are 15.4 million people who have fled from their country for fear of persecution or because they are fleeing a dangerous conflict zone. Of these, almost half are children. For many of these children arriving with no one watching over them, a new place means new dangers of being exploited or trafficked. In the United Kingdom, The Global Fund for Children is helping young female asylum-seekers to avoid this fate through a 12-week training program. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Girls, Period

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kenya, young women aged 15-24 are four times more likely to contract HIV then young men their age. Education has the power to turn these statistics around. Research by The Global Campaign for Education suggests that if children receive comprehensive primary education, around 700,000 cases of HIV in young adults could be prevented each year. Yet many young girls in Kenya have been forced to miss school while menstruating, often because they aren’t able to afford hygienic sanitary pads. Since 2008, Huru International has been working to change this. Read more...

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