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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... 

President Jill Sheffield Announces Partnership With Million Moms Challenge

MillionMoms.pngWomen Deliver is proud to partner with the Million Moms Challenge, a new social media campaign bringing together millions of Americans with mothers in the developing world to share information and solutions relating to healthy pregnancies, deliveries and children. Social media is an effective, far-reaching way to allow moms and maternal health advocates worldwide to discuss critical challenges and life-saving innovations. Read more...

By: President, Jill Sheffield

originally posted on the Million Moms Challenge website. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Grants To Accelerate Mobile Technology Centered on Maternal and Newborn Health

Earlier this month at the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC, the Innovation Working Group, part of the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Strategy, and the mHealth Alliance announced 8 winners of grants to support mobile health programs. The grants will fund innovative mobile technology projects that have the potential to improve maternal and child health globally.

The projects are based in low-income countries with high maternal and child mortality rates. They aim to improve evaluation design, enhance health information sharing, and increase the capabilities of technologies that help clinical decision-making. Over the two-year grant period, the grantees will build partnerships, scale up their projects to national levels or extend their reach to new communities. The grant program is generously supported by NORAD, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, with technical support from the mHealth Alliance. Read more...

Great Expectations From Grand Challenges

Calling For Technological Innovation To Speed Up Saving The Lives Of Mothers And Newborns

By: Joy Lawn
Originally posted by: Healthy Newborn Network

Wind-up powered devices for where there is unreliable electricity, needle-free injections, or inhaled instead. We need more innovation specifically to address the rich-poor gap for medical equipment. An Argentinian car mechanic, inspired by a party trick extracting a cork from a bottle, developed a low cost device to save babies and women from obstructed labor. The Odon device, a plastic bag that is inflated and fixes around the baby’s head to assist during complications due to prolonged second stage of labor, has the potential for wide application in low-resource settings. Across the world, a Norwegian business entrepreneur, has advanced efforts to save babies who do not breathe at birth with a simpler, upright neonatal resuscitation device and lower-cost training mannequins. We need more ideas and more thought leaders like these! Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Memo, Keep it Simple

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

Memo.jpgCan a memo save lives? Researchers in Kenya have found evidence that perhaps it can. A recent correspondence sent from the Kenyan Government to local health centers has increased the correct use of malaria prevention medication for pregnant women six-fold. 

50 million women become pregnant every year in countries with high rates of malarial infections. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to infection. Severe cases can be devastating and fatal, leading to complications such as premature deliveries and stillbirths, and up to 10,000 maternal deaths each year. In high-transmission areas, women are likely to be immune to infection, however their babies are not – some infants are born underweight and under-developed, causing up to 200,000 to die every year. (See the WHO and Roll Back Malaria) Read more...

Maternal Health Advocate Robin Lim Named CNN Hero Of The Year

Last night, maternal health advocate Robin Lim accepted the CNN 2011 Hero of the Year award, telling the audience, “Every mother counts, and health care is a human right.” Lim is the founder of the Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics in Indonesia which provide free antenatal, birthing and postnatal care; capacity-building and training for local midwives; and community outreach on maternal health. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: New Hotline for Women with Obstetric Fistula in Sierra Leone

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver 

fistula.jpgThis fall, the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone is bringing hope to thousands of women affected by obstetric fistula. In October, the centre, which provides a variety of maternal and child health services, began offering a free phone hotline, follow up services, and surgery for women suffering from this debilitating condition.

Obstetric fistula, like maternal mortality, is an almost entirely preventable condition experienced by at least 2 million women in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia every year. When a woman has obstructed labor delaying delivery of her baby, a hole can form in the tissue between her bladder, vagina, and rectum causing uncontrollable leakage of feces or urine and can result in a stillborn birth. Performing surgery to repair the fistula is successful 90 percent of the time, but many women in these regions often do not have access to trained surgeons and have little knowledge of existing treatments. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programs In Nigeria Set The Bar High

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate

In Northern Nigeria, 1 in 23 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth. In fact, 10% of maternal deaths, globally, occur there; and rates of newborn and child mortality are also amongst the highest in the world. Read more...

Speakers of African Parliaments Adopt Resolution on Declaration of Commitment to MNCH

Johannesburg, South Africa, October 24 – African Speakers of Parliaments and Presidents of Senate have unanimously adopted a landmark resolution on a Declaration of Commitment to prioritize parliamentary support for increased policy and budget action on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in African countries. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Universal Anesthetic Machine Saves Lives In Developing Countries

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

DRC.jpgImagine you are an expectant mother in a developing country. You know women who have died in childbirth and want to make sure both you and your child are safe. You have heard the “big” hospital has trained midwives and surgeons, so as you go into labor, you travel there.

Your labor is long, too long, and the midwife is concerned something is wrong. The pain in your belly intensifies and the midwife takes your blood pressure. It is dangerously low. You are told you are losing a lot of blood and you need to have an operation to get the baby out. You are afraid, but you trust in the hospital’s trained staff. Read more...

USAID Partners With Kimberly-Clark to Help Babies and Moms in Andean Nations

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a global manufacturer of health and hygiene products, announced today that they will work together to improve maternal and child health in the Andean region, starting in Colombia and Ecuador.

The new partnership will link the U.S. Government's Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives to Kimberly-Clark's existing programs, which already reach thousands of new and expecting mothers in poor communities. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Chickpeas Nourish Ethiopia’s Mothers, Children and Agricultural Economy

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

chickpeas.jpgCould chickpeas be a potential solution for meeting two of Ethiopia’s biggest challenges: child malnourishment and an underperforming economy?

PepsiCo, the World Food Programme (WFP), and USAID believe so. That’s why the company is entering into an innovative public-private partnership with the WFP and USAID to promote food and economic security in the east African nation. Under Enterprise EthioPEA, the three organizations will work with nearly 10,000 Ethiopian farmers to double chickpea yields by utilizing modern agricultural practices and better irrigation techniques. Read more...

If you were born as an African baby…

By: Joy Lawn, Save the Children; Originally posted on the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) here

If you were born today in Africa, you would face the same risk of dying in your first month of life as if you were born during World War II in Great Britain. That’s 11 times greater risk than British babies face today, seven decades later. Somalia is Africa’s most dangerous country to be born, with a risk almost 20 times higher. PLoS Medicine has just published a new study on newborn deaths by the World Health Organization, Save the Children and partners showing that, increasingly, a baby’s chance of surviving the first month of life depend on where that baby is born. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: In Angola, Fighting Malaria and Building Maternity Wards to Save Lives

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Angolan_Mother.jpgIn Angola, child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. There are multiple causes for this dire distinction, and Pathfinder has implemented programs to help address two of the most prominent – malaria and a lack of access to safe delivery facilities. Although malaria is preventable, it is a major cause of maternal and newborn illness and death in the country. Read more…

The Born Healthy Initiative: Giving Everyone the Best Start in Life

Newborn health is intrinsically linked to the health of the mother and the care she receives before, during and immediately after giving birth. As deaths from infectious diseases fall, they are replaced by birth defects as the leading cause of childhood death. Every year, around eight million babies are born with birth defects, and at least three million children die. Many more face a lifetime of disability, poverty and stigma. Read more…

USAID Study Shows Effectiveness of Collaborative Improvement Approach for Improving Health Systems

A new study from the USAID Health Care Improvement Project shows that a quality improvement method widely used in the US called collaborative improvement is also effective in low- and middle-income countries. The fundamental concept underlying the field of improvement is that a system left unchanged can only be expected to continue to produce the same results. Read more…

Celebrate Solutions: Simple Technologies Prevent Transmission of HIV During Breastfeeding

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver?

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I’d like to highlight a new innovation that has the potential to save the lives of babies born to HIV-positive mothers. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers from Family Health International, University of Cambridge, Drexel College of Medicine, and PATH have developed a low-cost nipple shield which will deliver HIV preventative compounds to a newborn during breastfeeding. Read more...

19 Nominees Announced in the “Savings Lives at Birth: Grand Challenges for Development”

Yesterday, 19 award nominees were announced at a high-level forum at the Savings Lives at Birth DevelopmentxChange awards ceremony. Sponsored by USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Bank, and Grand Challenges Canada, the “Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development” competition called out to the global community to submit proposals for innovations that would help save the lives of mothers and babies through three key areas: technology, service delivery, and demand. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Community mobilization guide to improve the health of mothers and babies

By: Rachel Cernansky, winner of the Women Bloggers Deliver contest

bangladesh_mother_child.jpgThe infant mortality rate in India is estimated at about 39 deaths per 1,000 live births and nearly double that in rural areas --so it's notable when a new project results in a 45 percent drop in newborn deaths. That's precisely what has happened with a community mobilization effort in India and Bangladesh. Read more...

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