World Malaria Day: A Focus on Women and Children

By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach at Women Deliver

Today is World Malaria Day—and there is much to celebrate. Over the past decade, malaria cases have drastically declined and deaths from malaria have been reduced. As we celebrate the many successes of the past decade in fighting malaria around the world, it’s important to put a spotlight on those who are most vulnerable to malaria—pregnant women and their children. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Allowing Community-Driven Ideas to Improve Care

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

Over the last two years, thousands of people from all walks of life—from computer engineers to tribal women—in Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Orissa state in India have lent their voices and ideas to improve the quality of maternal and child health care in their communities.

These three areas have something in common – they house some of the worst maternal and child mortality rates in the world. But the barriers and challenges women face to quality care differ for many reasons. Recognizing that community members—including those not usually associated with maternal health care—have a valuable perspective to offer as well as a stake in improving the lives of women and girls, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009 funded a global partnership between UNICEF and Concern Worldwide to find bold, new ideas for addressing gaps in the delivery of quality care. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Kangaroo Mother Care Saves Newborn Lives

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Health of a newborn is closely linked to the health of the mother and the care she receives in pregnancy and childbirth. Sadly, 3.7 million newborn infants die within the first four weeks after birth, with nearly one million pre-term babies dying in their first month of life every year in developing countries. Up to two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented through existing effective interventions delivered during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first hours, days and week after birth. Read more...

Latest News on Every Woman, Every Child

It has been six months since the launch of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Events held throughout March focused on assessing progress made since last September and developing the agenda for moving forward. Click through to find out more…

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Maternal Health and Increasing Awareness in Pakistan

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

In a nation where an estimated 14,000 women die each year from pregnancy related causes, the Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN) has worked to both improve the ability of the nation’s health care sector to better meet mothers’ needs and increase demand for maternal and reproductive health services. Read more...

CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen Stresses the Importance of Social Responsibility in Business

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen and one of the Women Deliver 100, gave the keynote speech at The Economist’s conference, The Sustainable Business Summit, where he spoke about the significance of social responsibility. To begin his speech, he paints a bleak picture:

“Imagine you are 10 years old. You are a girl. You’re walking 3 miles under a 110 degree blazing hot sun. You are fetching water. You do this every day, spending time bringing water home to your family; time you could’ve spent going to school. The water you find may look clear, but it is fact swarming with bacteria. Many of your neighbors are now suffering from chronic diarrhea... But this is your only water source, so you drink it anyway.” Read more...


Generating Political Priority: The Case of Newborn Survival

BY: Jeremy Shiffman, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy at American University; Originally posted at the Healthy Newborn Network blog 

Before 2000, few organizations concerned with global health paid much attention to newborn survival. Since that year, a number have come to address the problem, including foundations, UN agencies, bilateral development agencies, governments of low-income countries, and non-governmental organizations. This wave of attention is surprising: there was no sudden increase in the number of babies dying or swift spread of a virus that alarmed citizens of rich countries. The emergence of attention to newborn survival in a short period of time presents an interesting study in how global health issues come to attract priority. Read more...

Celebrating International Women’s Day & Improving Maternal Health in Nigeria

By: Esther Agbarakwe, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders from Nigeria

Esther-dinner.gifLast week I had the rare opportunity of co-hosting a dinner to celebrate women as part of the Global Dinner Party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The dinner was organized by the Nigeria Health Campaign of the White Ribbon Alliance in Nigeria in partnership with Save the Children Nigeria. Our focus was to enlighten the media about commitments made by Nigeria's government in support of the UN Secretary General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. Read more...

Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development

Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, was launched March 9, 2011 in Washington D.C. to seek innovative prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in rural, low-resource settings. This partnership leverages the collective resources of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and The World Bank. Partners expect to provide nearly $14 million for this grant program’s first round of funding. Over 5 years, the partners aim to invest at least $50 million in groundbreaking and sustainable projects with the potential to have a transformative effect on the lives of pregnant women and their babies in the hardest to reach corners of the world. Read more...

The Importance of Accountability in Saving Girls’ and Womens’ Lives

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver

Jill_WDConference.jpgI was honored to attend the first meeting of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Womens and Childrens Health that was held in Geneva at WHO Headquarters on Wednesday, 26 January 2011. President Kikwete of Tanzania and Prime Minister Harper of Canada co-chair the Commission, with the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, Hamadoun Toure, and the Director General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, as vice chairs. The 30 members of the Commission (“Commissioners”) were chosen from a wide range of stakeholder groups including governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, foundations and academia, and Women Deliver is proud to be one of the civil society representatives. The time-line of the Commission is expected to be both brief and intense, and the action plan has ambitious goals to focus on results and resources. Read more...

Harper Government Announces New Maternal, Newborn and Children Health Initiatives

Last week, at the first meeting of the Information and Accountability Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support for new development projects that will save the lives and improve the health of mothers and children in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Bangladesh, demonstrating Canada’s commitment to the G-8 Muskoka Initiative. Read more...

First meeting of Accountability Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health

Originally posted by The Partnership for Newborn, Maternal, and Child Health

High-level Chairs and Commissioners of the new Information and Accountability Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health have convened for their first meeting at WHO. The Commission’s two eminent chairs each led sessions: President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete headed the session on accounting for results with Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper leading the session on accountability for resources. Vice-chairs, Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the ITU, and Margaret Chan, Director-General WHO supported discussions focused on papers from the two expert technical Working Groups with 30 high-level commissioners from government, civil society, academia, and multi-lateral agencies. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Reproductive and Child Health Alliance in Cambodia

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Cambodian_Women.jpgThe Southeast Asian country of Cambodia borders the South China Sea and is surrounded by Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. The maternal mortality ratio in 2008 was 290 deaths per 100,000 live births, but has been show to be as high as 493 deaths per 100,000 live births in rural areas.  Over the last decade, the Cambodian government has increased the availability of reproductive health services, but there is still great need for services among expecting mothers in rural areas. A national program is working to narrow the gaps in care, decrease the urban-rural disparities, and educate community-based health workers to provide lifesaving maternal care. Read more...

DFID Launches “Framework for Results”

Publication-image-300x400.jpgThe British Government unveiled a landmark plan December 31, 2010 for improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health that could save thousands and impact millions of lives worldwide. Two strategic priorities shape the plan – to prevent unintended pregnancies by enabling women and girls to choose whether, when and how many children they have, and to ensure pregnancy and childbirth are safe for mothers and babies. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Developing Families Center in Washington, DC

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

While my previous posts have focused on ‘solutions’ in the Global South, today we’re focusing on maternal health in the United States where it is getting more dangerous to be a pregnant woman. In 2007, the United States ranked 41 out of 171 countries for lifetime risk of death from pregnancy related causes. That means 40 countries had better maternal health outcomes than the U.S. In 2008, the United States dropped to 50, behind countries including: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, and Puerto Rico. Today, in the U.S., 1 in 2,100 women will die in pregnancy and childbirth. Read more...

Health Care in its Social Context from SternerTurner Media on Vimeo.

UNFPA and the Millennium Villages Project Team Up on Reproductive Health

Earlier this month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Millennium Village Project (MVP) announced a joint effort to promote universal access to reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa in order to save the lives of young mothers. Combining the strengths of both entities, the partnership will engage UNFPA’s expertise in promoting reproductive rights as well as sexual and reproductive health along with MVP’s multisectoral, science-based approach and primary health-care strategies. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Family Planning and Birth Spacing in Pakistan

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Studies have shown that when women give birth less than 15 months after a previous birth, their risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is 150% higher than for women who wait longer to give birth again. When pregnancies are too close together, newborns can be born too soon, too small, or with a low birth weight, may not grow well and are more likely to die before the age of five. Birth spacing – allowing three to five years to pass between births – is a very important maternal and child health intervention. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Preventing PPH and Eclampsia in Sierra Leone

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

sierra_leone.JPGThe Western African country of Sierra Leone is gradually emerging from a protracted civil war, which poses unique problems for mothers-to-be. In 2009, Amnesty International named the maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone a “human rights emergency,” which at 1/8 is one of the highest in the world. But recent changes in policy and support from NGOs like Life for African Mothers have increased the potential for markedly improving maternal and child health. Read more...

The Partners’ Forum on Women’s and Children’s Health: From Pledges to Action

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partner's Forum gathered more than 1000 participants representing governments, non-profits, UN agencies, donors/foundations, businesses, academia, and health services of 50 countries together in Delhi over the weekend. The two days featured plenaries and break-out sessions highlighting success stories in financing, delivery and accountability; identifying innovative strategies, policies and programs that can be scaled up for change; and promoting consensus on the next steps in mutual accountability.

Celebrate Solutions: The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, India

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula. The state faces major challenges in improving and increasing access to health care services, but they are making significant strides. The Government of Tamil Nadu developed a Health Policy in 2003 with a focus on the health of low-income communities and families. The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project supports this strategy through several interventions, especially those aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality. The World Bank recently provided more funds, in addition to the original financing in 2004, to further improve health services quality and access while supporting state-wide management systems implementation. Read more...

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