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...

UN Launches Website for Every Woman, Every Child

The official site for the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health,, is live. Click through to make a commitment to women's and children's health.


Celebrate Solutions: Newlyweds Learn About Healthy Families in Egypt

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

If people don’t receive comprehensive sex education growing up, what is another option for disseminating critical sexual and reproductive health information to them? By targeting young married couples in Egypt, The Mabrouk! (“Congratulations!”) Initiative strategically focuses efforts on young couples preparing to start a family. Established in 2004, the initiative combines a multimedia campaign with interpersonal and community empowerment approaches as part of the Communication for Health Living (CHL) project to create sustainable social change related to health practices. Read more...

Living Proof | Egyptian Newlyweds Learn About Healthy Families from ONE Campaign on Vimeo.

Getting the Most from our Partnerships – A Lesson on Collaboration from MDG Week

By: Joy Marini, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

JJ.jpgLast month, during the week-long Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, I was fortunate to be able to participate in a number of activities with some of the world’s most compassionate and resourceful global health advocates. All of us gathered to share what we were doing to improve the health of women and children all over the world. I was inspired by the dedication of all participants and the sheer variety and volume of programs and approaches that are going on simultaneously to address these issues.

But with so many groups working on so many initiatives all at the same time, how can we be sure that we are making the most of what each sector has to offer? Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Female Community Health Volunteers, Incentives and Safe Abortion Care in Nepal

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Nestled between China and India, Nepal is a mountainous and mostly rural country that has experienced years of political instability, making transport and communications especially difficult. The rugged terrain often prevents people from accessing health care, and many women give birth at home without the presence of a skilled health worker. In addition, it is common for girls to marry in their teens, which is particularly problematic as young women have an increased risk of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Increasing Women’s Access to Mobile Technology Worldwide

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver Bolivia_Cell_Phone_Mom.jpg

Imagine a woman home alone and going into premature childbirth. She feels helpless and scared, and begins to bleed. Now imagine this woman has a mobile phone. She feels connected and more secure, knowing help is a text or phone call away. And if she had had access to a phone during her pregnancy, prenatal text messages could have prepared her for such an emergency. It is no surprise that increasing the use of mobile phones among women is a key strategy to reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and one of the five technologies that Women Deliver is championing to reach MDG5. Read more...

Blog Action Day: Water and Maternal Health

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver brazil_women_water.jpg

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is water. What does safe water have to do with maternal health? A lot. To significantly improve maternal, newborn, and reproductive health, it requires access to quality care for pregnancy and childbirth. Safe health care requires safe water, as well as basic sanitation and waste management. Infections directly contribute to 36% of newborn deaths and sepsis accounts for 15% of maternal deaths in developing countries. If a hospital lacks adequate plumbing, or a village experiences a water shortage, it makes women and children especially vulnerable to the destructive effects of unsafe water. Contact with unsafe water can result in exposure to a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites and therefore can result in waterborne disease, and in some cases, death. Diarrhea weakens pregnant women’s immune systems and results in morbidity and mortality among infants and children under 5. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Training and Mobile Health Technology in Rwanda

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliverrwanda_mother.jpg

How did a small landlocked country recovering from genocide become a model for development in Africa? With clear objectives and investment in technological innovation, Rwanda is making significant progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 5 and 4. The Rwanda Ministry of Health is working together with partners to improve maternal and child health. From 2000 to 2005, maternal mortality rates decreased from 1,071 to 750 per 100,000, and efforts are being bolstered to continue progress. Read more...                                                                                                                                                 

NGOs and Foundations Make New Pledges Committing to Maternal Health

UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon is about to launch the Global Strategy for Maternal and Child Health to accelerate progress on women’s and children’s health and is being met with great support from various organizations. CARE International has announced a $1.8 billion commitment, the United Nations Foundations has announced $400 million to improve the health of children and women globally by 2015, the Belinda Stronach Foundation commits up to $5 million over the next 5 years to empower girls and women, and World Vision International has made a commitment of US $1.5 billion to maternal, newborn and child health over five years, with $500 million of that from government or public sources. Click through to read more... 

ICRW Releases 2nd Report in Girls Count Series, Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development

ICRW recently released 2nd report in the Girls Count series, “Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development,” shows that girls’ insights in development increase impact and effectiveness. The report draws together girls’ voices and makes them accessible to policymakers and program managers. The United Nations Foundation and the Nike Foundation funded the report. 

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