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...

‘A Promise Renewed’ to be Launched at Child Survival Call to Action

Under the umbrella of the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child program, the Governments of India, Ethiopia, and the United States, together with UNICEF, will convene on June 14-15th at the Child Survival Call to Action. Hundreds of leaders and global experts will meet to discuss mobilizing political leadership in preventing child deaths, achieving a global child mortality prevention strategy which incorporates proven best practices, and sustaining collective action and mutual accountability in ending preventable child deaths. Read more...

Countdown to 2015 Report: Fewer Maternal/Child Deaths; Too Many Still Dying

Countdown to 2015 launches its 2012 Report on June 14, 2012, at the Child Survival Call to Action, a two-day high-level meeting in Washington, D.C. 

Countdown’s new report, Building a Future for Women and Children: The 2012 Report, highlights country progress—and obstacles to progress—towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. Read more...

65th World Health Assembly Meeting Addresses Women and Children

The World Health Assembly, which took place this year from May 21-26, 2012, resulted in 21 newly adopted resolutions and three health-related decisions. The resolutions and decisions revolved around early marriage and young pregnancies, international health regulations, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), non-communicable diseases, and social determinants of health, and several other health- and disease-related topics. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: GBCHealth Announces New MDG Health Alliance

By:  Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

The creation of the MDG Health Alliance was recently announced by GBC Health, a private sector nonprofit coalition that works to improve health around the world. The announcement took place at their two-day GBCHealth Conference, in May.

The Alliance is working in alignment with the Millennium Development Goals targeting maternal and child health.  According to the Alliance, there are 5 underlying initiatives, and they will work towards 7 main goals: 1) improve child health; 2) improve maternal health; 3) achieve near-zero malaria deaths; 4) achieve near-zero transmission of HIV from mother to child; 5) recruit, train, and equip one million community health workers; 6) save one million lives from TB-HIV co-infection; and 7) ensure universal access to reproductive health.  Read more...

UN Commissioners Aim to Adopt New Recommendations to Increase Access to Health Commodities

Affordable, life-saving medicines and health supplies with the potential to save millions of lives are not reaching the children and women who most need them. To help change this, members of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children will today review and finalize recommendations to help increase access, reduce costs, and increase demand for 13 products. Read more...

Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers Report

This year’s thirteenth annual State of the World’s Mothers report features more than 60 countries and a foreword by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. Filled with ground-breaking research, this year’s report focuses on the importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday.

This year’s report also includes their annual Mother’s Index, ranking the best and worst countries in which to be a mother based on health and status indicators for women and children in 165 counties. Norway, as in 2011, ranks first; Niger, replacing Afghanistan in 2011, ranks last. The United States comes in at #25 among the 43 developed countries ranked. Eight of the 10 worst countries to be a mother are in sub-Saharan Africa. We must continue to work to ensure that moms everywhere can care for their kids. Read more...

“Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” Campaign Begins

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), a member organization of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health has launched their “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign this week.  According to the website, fifth birthdays are regarded as a milestone birthday after which one is much more likely to survive into adulthood. Seven million children die before their fifth birthday, and many of these are preventable deaths in developing countries. Read more...

Healthy Mother, Healthy Newborn

by Shafia Rashid; Originally posted on The FCI Blog

HealthyMotherHealthyNewborn.jpgThere is ample evidence illustrating that the health of a woman and her newborn baby are intimately connected. We know that:

  • most maternal and newborn deaths are caused by the mother’s poor health before or during pregnancy or due to inadequate care in the critical hours, days, and weeks after birth
  • when a woman dies in childbirth, her newborn baby is less likely to survive

Recent research conducted by Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta and colleagues at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan confirms what we already know, and goes one step further: it identifies which maternal and newborn health interventions benefit both mother and newborn. These include: Read more...

Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly Debates First Resolution on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

The 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly took place in Kampala, Uganda from March 31 to April 5. This meeting was the first time the IPU has debated a resolution on maternal, newborn and child health. The resolution was drafted in September by the governments of Canada, India, and Uganda, and is known as ‘Access to Health as a Basic Right: The Role of Parliaments in Addressing Key Challenges to Securing the Health of Women and Children.’ The IPU Assembly, which meets every year as a focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, drew over 600 members of parliament from more than 120 countries to Kampala, Uganda. Read more...

UN Launches Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children

NEW YORK, 23 March 2012 – UNICEF and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today launched a high-level commission to improve access to essential but overlooked health supplies that could save the lives of millions of women and children every year.

“Making sure that women and children have the medicines and other supplies they need is critical for our push to achieve the MDGs,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The Commission will tackle an overlooked but vital aspect of health systems, and ensure that women and children are protected from preventable causes of death and disease.” Read more...

Countdown Update Fosters Country Accountability, Supports Global Strategy

As follow-up to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, Countdown to 2015 released Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival: An update on progress in priority countries, with updated profiles on high-burden priority countries that account for over 95% of maternal and child deaths. The report will be launched at the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which takes place in Kampala, Uganda from 31 March through 5 April 2012. Read more...

Norway Releases White Paper on Global Health

Last month, the Norwegian government released the first ever white paper on global health. By mapping out health priorities within the context of development strategies, this paper serves as a blueprint to achieving optimal health outcomes for girls and women worldwide. Read more...

Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby Exhibit Opens

What are the realities of 21st century pregnancy and childbirth? What factors affect if a woman’s labor has a successful, or tragic, outcome? Explore this issue in the Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby gallery in the International Museum of Women’s MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe exhibition! Facts, art, multimedia, blogs and stories on the site all tell the story of motherhood around the globe.

In the video below, mothers from around the world share their stories of pregnancy and childbirth.


Celebrate Solutions: Engaging Men As Partners To Change Gender-based Inequity In Health

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Gender can influence men’s and women’s health in profound ways; social expectations of what men and women should and should not do can directly affect attitudes and behaviors related to a wide variety of health issues. Often, it is men who decide the frequency and timing of sexual activity and whether or not to use contraceptives, sometimes through coercion or violence. Gender-based violence can contribute to the spread of HIV and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and lead to poor reproductive health outcomes for women. And because of women’s low status in many societies, maternal health services are not prioritized. Empowering women is a critical step to turning this around, but efforts cannot end there: men must also be actively engaged as partners in change. Read more... 

Will You Join Our Conversation on Women’s and Children’s Health?

By: Melinda French Gates
Originally posted by: the Impatient Optimists

GatesKristof.jpgAfter an amazing amount of progress on  women’s and children’s health in 2011, I’m starting off 2012 by heading to Bangladesh. I’ll be learning even more about two of the biggest killers of children—pneumonia and diarrhea. Bangladesh has made incredible progress in recent years, reducing the number of childhood deaths by 65 percent since 1990. I’m excited to learn what they’ve done right and the challenges that remain. 

While in Bangladesh, I’ll be joining Nick Kristof in answering questions from readers about maternal and child health on his New York Times blog “On the Ground.” Why these topics? Read more... 

Celebrate Solutions: Fixing What’s Broken, Education for Medical Equipment Technicians

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

tech.jpgTwo reasons—a lack of spare parts and too few highly trained technicians—are often cited as the causes of large numbers of out-of-service laboratory and medical equipment across the developing world. As a result of broken equipment, already burdened health systems find it increasingly challenging to accurately diagnose and treat patients.

This obstacle is particularly alarming as 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), looms on the horizon. Strong, functioning health systems are essential to reaching the MDGs, and MDG 5 in particular. With this in mind, Duke University researchers from Robert Malkin’s Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory set out to better understand the problem of unused or underutilized medical equipment in developing countries. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Jhpiego wins $1.6M grant from GE Foundation

By: Alexander Jackson, originally posted on Baltimore Business Journal

Jhpiego.jpgA Johns Hopkins University affiliate has been awarded $1.6 million from the GE Foundation to support the development of lifesaving technologies for women and children in developing countries.

Jhpiego, a Baltimore-based international nonprofit, will use the money to create new products through its Innovation Development Program. Centered on maternal and child health, the program focuses on early-stage innovation and then, for selected projects, field-testing and product introduction. Read more...

GAVI Takes First Steps to Introduce Vaccines Against Cervical Cancer and Rubella

DHAKA, 17 November 2011 – Responding to demand from developing countries, the GAVI Alliance will take the first steps towards the introduction of Human papillomavirus and rubella vaccines, the GAVI Board announced on Thursday. Read more...

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