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...

Emergency in Japan: Keeping Women and Mothers Safe and Healthy

japanearthquake.jpgA 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which is the largest to hit Japan since records began, hit the north-east of the country on 11 March 2011. It was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, and also triggered a massive tsunami, which has destroyed most of the cities and villages on the north-east coast of Japan. During periods following a major natural disaster, women often lose access to basic health services, as public health and clinical care infrastructure are disrupted. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: Model Maternities Initiative in Mozambique

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

Mozambique_mother.jpgAs in many African countries, women in Mozambique often give birth outside of a health facility. Factors leading to this decision include having difficult access to health services, being scared of how they will be treated at a health facility, and feeling more comfortable delivering at home. But, when complications occur at home, women and babies are much less likely to receive the appropriate, life-saving care they need. Mozambique’s government and partners are working to change this trend by improving health care delivery through the Model Maternities Initiative (MMI). The goal of MMI is to improve maternal and newborn health care services while providing a supportive environment in which women give birth. 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.

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: The Sure Start Project in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra

sure_start.JPGBy: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Roughly 78,000 women in India die during pregnancy and childbirth per year, some of the world’s largest numbers of country-level maternal deaths. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the two largest and most populous states in India, generating a large percentage of the maternal mortality and morbidity in the country. In 2008, PATH aimed to address these disparities with the Sure Start Project, a holistic approach to maternal health systems strengthening. Read more...

Health Experts Convene at Global Maternal Health Conference 2010

From August 30 to September 1, more than 600 maternal health experts will gather in Delhi, India, for the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010, the first international technical conference devoted exclusively to maternal health. Hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth and the Public Health Foundation of India, the conference aims to increase consensus and coordination around the evidence, programs, and advocacy needed to advance maternal health. According to latest estimates, more than 342,000 women worldwide die due to preventable pregnancy or childbirth complications every year.

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