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Why Are Women and Children Still Dying?

By: Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning, Founder and Executive Director, Let Girls Lead, Champions for Change, and Youth Champions Initiative; Originally posted by

Nigeria, one of the richest countries in Africa, also boasts one of the world’s highest rates of maternal, newborn, and child death.  One in 13 Nigerian women dies during pregnancy or childbirth, and one in 8 Nigerian children dies before their fifth birthday.

And Nigeria is not alone. The global realities are equally devastating – nearly three million newborn babies die annually, and 800 women die in childbirth every single day. That means that two women will die by the time you finish reading this article – assuming you read fast. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Building Relationships, Accelerating Action

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Over the past decade the global health community has seen a proliferation of MNCH innovations. Research on the efficacy of these innovations has not kept pace. Similarly, traditional business models have failed when it comes to making MNCH innovations affordable and accessible to those with the least resources and greatest need. Under these unfavorable conditions, innovators struggle to secure funding for untested MNCH products or programs that promise minimal, if any, profit. Scarce resources and capacity forces innovators to abandon their work at early stages even as women and children continue to suffer or die. Read more...

The Lancet: Midwifery Matters “More Than Ever”

Experts urge global leaders to recognise midwifery’s “vital potential” to save lives of women and infants worldwide

Midwifery has a crucial part to play in saving the lives of millions of women and children who die during and around the time of pregnancy, according to a major new Series, published in The Lancet.The Series, produced by an international group of academics,  clinicians, professional midwives, policymakers and advocates for women and children, is the most critical, wide-reaching examination of midwifery ever conducted.

It shows the scale of the positive impact that can be achieved when effective, high-quality midwifery is available to all women and their babies.  Apart from saving lives, it also improves their continuing health and wellbeing and has other long-lasting benefits.The authors also produce evidence of a trend towards the overmedicalisation of pregnancy, and the use of unnecessary interventions such as caesarean sections, in high-income and lower-income countries, with consequent hazards and costs. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Midwives Changing Lives of Women and Communities of Myanmar

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

When a community has access to trained midwives, the health of women and their children will improve, creating healthier families and communities. However, 70 percent of Myanmar’s population that live in rural areas barely have access to basic health education and information about maternal and child health care services. Many have no knowledge about basic reproductive health services like birth spacing, pre-and post natal care, and safe delivery services, all of which  can be provided by a skilled midwife.

The country’s health care system was ranked the second worst in the world by WHO in 2000, and that is why the government has been working ever since with many partners, including global civil society organizations, to make access to health care services a reality for all. A project intervention by Marie Stopes International Myanmar (MSIM) and Myanmar Nurse and Midwife Association (MNMA) is training young midwifery professionals known as Volunteer Midwives (VMWs) and placing them in villages in urgent need of health care services in the Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon regions of Myanmar. Read more...

Studies in Family Planning Publishes Special Issue on Unmet Need

June Issue Explores Challenges in Addressing Unmet Need for Contraception, Featuring Research and Case Studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America

NEW YORK, NY (16 June 2014) — Studies in Family Planning, a leading journal published by the Population Council, released “Unmet Need for Family Planning”—a special issue featuring ten articles, including a comprehensive introduction to the topic of unmet need. Distinguished researchers explore trends related to unmet need for contraception, and many articles point to practical strategies for increasing contraceptive knowledge and uptake, and for overcoming barriers that prevent women from practicing contraception.

“Unmet need has been an important indicator for measuring the progress of family planning programs for more than 25 years,” said John Bongaarts, vice president and Distinguished Scholar at the Population Council. “This issue features work from some of the leading minds in family planning. It explores trends, identifies issues, and proposes solutions to ensure that sexual and reproductive health programs and policies are structured to meet the changing needs of women and men over the course of their reproductive lives.” Read more...

Worldwide, Nearly Six Million Babies Are Born and Die Each Year Without Birth or Death Certificates

New Lancet Series finds counting births and deaths is an indicator of progress towards ending 3 million preventable infant deaths

LONDON—Each year, 5.5 million babies enter and leave the world without being recorded and one in three newborns—over 45 million babies—do not have a birth certificate by their first birthday. Babies who are stillborn, born too early, or who die soon after birth are least likely to be registered, even in high-income countries.

Findings from the Every Newborn Series, published today in The Lancet, paint the clearest picture to date of a newborn’s chance of survival and the steps that must be taken to end preventable infant deaths. New analyses indicate that 3 million maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths can be prevented each year with proven interventions—including the promotion of breastfeeding, neonatal resuscitation, kangaroo mother care for preterm babies, antenatal corticosteroids, and the prevention and treatment of infections. These interventions can be implemented for an annual cost of US$1.15 per person. Providing quality care at birth yields a triple return on investment—saving mothers and newborns, and preventing stillbirths—and protects babies from disability. Read more...

New State of the World’s Mother Report Shows Where Mothers are Dying, How They Can be Thriving

Every day, 800 women and 18,000 young children die from mostly preventable causes, and more than half of these deaths take place in high-risk areas of conflict and natural disaster, according to Save the Children’s new State of the World’s Mothers Report. This annual ranking of the health and well-being of mothers and children worldwide focuses on the impact of humanitarian crisis on maternal, newborn, and child health, and lists the best and worst places to be a mother. Read more...

Making Life Saving Commodities Available in Nigeria: the Sokoto State story

By: Mu’azu Muhammad, Women Deliver 100 Young Leader

“Every year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes.These are not mere statistics. They are people with names and faces.” – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The above statement by Ban Ki-moon resonates with me, because the situation in Nigeria is the same. Each year, approximately one million Nigerian children die from preventable illnesses before their fifth birthday. And for every 100,000 live births, there are 1,549 women who will die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. The especially dire mortality rates come from the northeastern and northwestern regions of the country where Bauchi and Sokoto States are located. Both states face huge challenges bringing health care services to their people. Read more...

Advancing Breastfeeding: The Power of the Network

By: Mariam Claeson, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ruth Landy, Social Impact; Originally posted by Impatient Optimists

Chinese celebrity Ma Yili has over 50 million social media fans, and now she’s using her influence to promote breastfeeding in her home country, where only 28 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed. The “10m2 of Love” campaign Ma is publicizing includes a mobile app to help Chinese women locate and use public breastfeeding spaces.

From China to Pakistan, Venezuela and Viet Nam, countries are experimenting with new approaches to promote a life saving, natural practice under threat in the modern world. Read more...

Raise Your Voice for Newborn Health

Worldwide, 2.9 million babies die within their first month, largely from preventable causes. A new report released by Save the Children, "Ending Newborn Deaths", shows that the the first 24 hours of a child's life are the most critical, with more than one million babies dying each year on their first day. Yet half of these deaths could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free, quality health care. A group of partners, led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, are working to turn the trend of newborn deaths around and have developed a strategy with goals and targets around ending newborn deaths titled Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths.

In order to make the plan as effective as possible, experts and advocates are asked to submit comments before Friday, February 28th on this page.The draft action plan highlights the tremendous progress made to improve child and newborn health, and affirms newborn health as a human right as recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read more...

Leaders’ Support Key to Success of Breastfeeding Advocacy

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

This week, the Impatient Optimists blog, and a subsequent Facebook post by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, spotlighted the politics of breastfeeding promotion. For leaders who haven’t joined the cause to promote breast feeding, now is the time. It is estimated that over 800,000 child deaths in the developing world could be prevented if mothers are encouraged and supported with breastfeeding. These deaths can be avoided if we unite to support mothers in giving their children better lives from breastfeedingRead more...

Press Release: Some 35 Million More Children Under Five at Risk if Child Mortality Goal Not Met

Originally posted at UNICEF

A new UNICEF report shows that if current trends continue, the world will not meet Millennium Development Goal 4 – to cut the rate of under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Worse, if current trends continue, the goal will not be reached until 2028. The cost of inaction is alarmingly high: as many as 35 million more children could die mostly from preventable causes between 2015 and 2028, if the global community does not take immediate action to accelerate progress. Read more...

A New Global Focus on Preterm Births

World Prematurity Day highlights effective, low-cost care and new commitments to address the problem

Preterm birth is the world's largest killer of newborn babies, causing more than 1 million deaths each year, yet 75 percent could be saved without expensive, high technology care.

That's the primary message and motivating theme of World Prematurity Day, November 17, a global effort to raise awareness of the deaths and disabilities due to prematurity and the simple, proven, cost-effective measures that could prevent them. Read more...

AU Builds Common Platform For African Champions of Maternal Health – And Looks For More

Today the African Union’s Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko launched a new website for its Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) – www.carmma.org.

The new website which has been pulled together by a team in the Department of Social Affairs promotes maternal and newborn survival, and provides evidence on progress in achieving the targets African leaders have set. Read more...

Osotimehin: Every Woman, Every Child

By: Babatunde Osotimehin; Originally posted on The Guardian - Nigeria

Dr. Osotimehin is a United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. He wrote this opinion in support of Every Woman Every Child, a global movement spearheaded by UN and other global leaders to save the lives of women and children and improve the lives of millions more by 2015.

The launch two days ago (Wednesday) of the report of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children is a major milestone in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s push to ensure the success of the Every Woman Every Child movement. It is now two years since the movement was launched in New York during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit. Its agenda – to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015 – is ambitious, but achievable. Read more...

Committed to Every Woman Every Child

By: The CORE Group

This blog is published in collaboration with a larger campaign spearheaded by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and conducted by Heads of State and Government; Heads of U.N. Agencies; CEO’s; Leaders of Civil Society Organizations; and other global leaders who have demonstrated their leadership in the health field, in support of Every Woman Every Child. Learn more at www.everywomaneverychild.org.

CORE Group is committed to supporting the Every Woman Every Child campaign’s goal to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. As a global health network organization, CORE Group exponentially saves lives by bringing together its member NGOs, associate organizations and partners working all over the world to develop solutions, best practices, and technical tools and resources to improve maternal and child health. Read more...

Keeping Our Promises to Women and Children: Roadblocks to Ending Maternal and Child Deaths

By: Carole Presern, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; Originally posted on Huffington Post Impact

In three short years we will reach the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The international community has certainly made incredible inroads since these targets were set by world leaders in the year 2000 to significantly slash extreme poverty and disease. Read more...

The PMNCH 2012 Report Press Release

Originally posted on The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health (PMNCH)

$20 Billion for Women's and Children's Health
New Funds to Spur Progress in Meeting Health Targets

The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children's Health has received about $20 billion in new money, according to a new report from The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).

The report, "The PMNCH 2012 Report: Analyzing Progress on Commitments to The Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health," shows that of this $20 billion, about $10 billion has already been spent.

Commitments to the Global Strategy come from 220 partners; 98 of these are expressed in financial terms, including 27 from low- and middle-income countries. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Agroamerica and UN Explore Efforts to Support MDG 5

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

In Guatemala, where about 120,000 girls and women die from pregnancy-related causes each year, the agricultural company Agrofruit is exploring ways to reduce maternal mortality. The company specializes in growing tropical fruits, and is based in Guatemala.

The efforts began in 2011, when Agroamerica teamed up with a team of American doctors from the University of Colorado to explore the southwestern area known as “trifinio,” where three provinces called San Marcos, Retalhuleu and Quetzaltenango converge. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Reproductive and Child Health Services in Ghana

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

In Ghana, 350,000 women and 57,000 children under five die each year. Access to quality, comprehensive health care could have saved many of these lives.  In response, from 2005 – 2009, the Quality Health Partners project (QHP) was put in place to support efforts that were already under way in Ghana to ensure high quality reproductive and child health services. Read more...

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