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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...

Midwives Can Be the Voice Heard Around the World

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

HBB-workshop-ICM.JPGAt the opening ceremony of the International Confederation of Midwives 29th Triennial Conference in Durban, South Africa on Sunday, a hall full of midwives joined voices to sing "One Love", Bob Marleys anthem of compassion for humankind. As a witness I can report that you have not heard the power of a collective voice until youve heard 3,000 midwives singing about their love and commitment to mothers and babies: Hear the children crying... lets get together and feel all right. Read more...

ViiV Healthcare Awards Small Grants from Positive Action for Children Fund

ViiV Healthcare announced today that it has awarded £1 million to 82 projects in 21 countries across the globe aimed at improving the health and welfare of women, children, and families affected by HIV in small grants from the Positive Action for Children’s Fund. With this large number of smaller community grants, the Positive Action for Children Fund hopes to stimulate grassroots community action in support of global PMTCT (Preventing Mother to Child Transmission) community efforts to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Free caesarean policy increases utilization in Mali, but challenges remain

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern at Women Deliver

Mali_mother.jpgThe government of Mali in 2005 began offering free caesarean sections in public hospitals, health clinics, and army hospitals. The policy change was driven by the reality that high maternal costs often prevent women from giving birth in health care facilities—and catastrophic costs, such as for caesareans, have the “potential to plunge a household into poverty.” Six years later, the policy is associated with a steady increase in caesarean rates, a drop in maternal and neonatal mortality, and a rise in institutional deliveries in the West African nation, according to a recent report by USAID’s Health System 20/20. Read more...

Survival of women and newborns in crisis

BY: Kate Kerber and Ribka Amsalu; Originally posted on the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) here

Imagine you are eight months pregnant with your third child with two other young children at home. The ground starts moving violently beneath you and panic sets in. You flee your collapsing home with your children. The aftershocks are intense and dramatic. You have lost family members and friends in the chaos and confusion. The earthquake devastates the healthcare system, leaving you no choice but to deliver your baby alone, or if you are fortunate, in a mobile or temporary clinic. Read more...

Marching to Celebrate the Indispensable Midwife

By: Joy Marini, Director of Corporate Contributions for Johnson & Johnson, Maternal and Child Health 

midwives.jpgOne day after the International Day of the Midwife, I am gathering with colleagues in Africa to discuss how we can help address the shortage of global health workers.

In sub-Saharan Africa, many women give birth alone, and without a skilled attendant such as a midwife, there is no one to address the complications of child delivery or to advise a pregnant woman to seek more skilled care. In fact, more women in this region die during pregnancy and childbirth than any other place on earth – claiming as many as one in eight lives. Read more...

New Partnership Launched: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)

This morning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new public-private partnership that aims to improve maternal health outcomes by harnessing the power of mobile phone technology. Called the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), this $10 million partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, the UN Foundation, mHealth Alliance, and BabyCenter LLC will work to help new and expecting mothers in the developing world gain access to vital health information. Read more...

Women and Children to Benefit from New Recommendations to Improve Health Accountability

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

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, 2 May 2011 – New recommendations calling for an unprecedented level of accountability to save the lives of more women and children in developing countries were agreed today by the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. These new approaches will help ensure that pledges are honoured and resources spent in the most effective way to save lives. Read more...

One Year Anniversary of Sierra Leone’s Free Health Care Initiative

On April 27, 2010, Sierra Leone launched a free health care initiative for pregnant women, new mothers, and young children under the age of five. How did a country with a barely functioning health system following more than a decade of brutal civil war manage this and what have the results been? In two new articles, John Donnelly, Senior Consultant for MLI, investigates these questions. 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...

Lancet Series Responds to the 2.6 Million Stillbirths Occurring Each Year

Today, The Lancet launched a new series on stillbirths.  In six series papers, two research articles, and eight comments, global health experts illustrate how stillbirths have been rendered invisible in the global health arena, and what can be done to bring these tragedies to light.  Through new analysis of stillbirth occurrences, success stories and lessons learned from around the world, with a focus on the poor and marginalized, The Lancet Stillbirth Series is a call to action that we cannot afford to ignore. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Cultivating a New Cohort of Midwives in Rural Haiti, Midwives for Haiti

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

In the Caribbean island nation of Haiti, almost 1 in 93 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, making it the country with the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Compared to its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, in which 99 percent of women deliver with the help of a skilled birth attendant (SBA), only 26 percent of Haitian women deliver with a SBA. After the disastrous earthquake in Port au Prince last year, the number of women able to give birth in facilities with SBAs has decreased due to poor transportation access and a significant ‘brain drain’ of Haitian midwives. Read more...

Mother’s Day: Saving Women and Newborns in Nigeria

dfid.JPGThis Sunday, 3 April 2011, marks Mother's Day in the UK. In honor of the occasion, we're highlighting the UK's aid efforts, as set out in their Framework for Results, that will help at least two million women to deliver their babies safely with skilled midwives, nurses and doctors. Over the next four years this support will help to save the lives of at least 50,000 women during pregnancy and childbirth and 250,000 newborns - helping more babies in the world's poorest countries grow up with the love and support of their mothers. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Reaching Kenya’s Women With Reproductive Health Insurance

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver kenyamother.jpg

Because of high healthcare costs, the poorest women in Kenya often do not have access to maternity care at any point during their pregnancies. On average, a Kenyan woman without health insurance must pay almost $350 USD in order to deliver in a private health facility -- the equivalent of what some Kenyans earn in one year’s salary. Since 2005, the Government of Kenya and the German Development Bank (KfW) have been trying to reduce these cost burdens for poor women with the Output-Based Aid (OBA) Voucher ProgramRead 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...

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