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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.

G8 Communiqué Commits to Maternal Health, Child Health, and Family Planning; Safe Abortion Absent

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

The G8 leaders have released their communiqué, the consensus reached during the last two days of discussions. As we’ve blogged about over the past days, Canada placed maternal and child health at the forefront of the G8 discussion. As the communiqué states:

“Progress towards MDG 5, improving maternal health, has been unacceptably slow. Although recent data suggests maternal mortality has been declining, hundreds of thousands of women still lose their lives every year, or suffer injury, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Much of this could be prevented with better access to strengthened health systems, and sexual and reproductive health care and services, including voluntary family planning. Progress on MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is also too slow. Nearly 9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. These deaths profoundly concern us and underscore the need for urgent collective action. We reaffirm our strong support to significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths as a matter of immediate humanitarian and development concern. Action is required on all factors that affect the health of women and children. This includes addressing gender inequality, ensuring women’s and children’s rights and improving education for women and girls."

Read more...

The Numbers Game: The G8 Commits $5 Billion

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Following up on Canada’s pledge of $1.1 billion of new money over five years, the G8 countries pledge a total of $5 billion. Bolstered by another $2.3 billion from six non-G8 countries, the Gates Foundation, and the UN Foundation, that brings the total contributions to maternal and child health to $7.3 billion.

“Some countries pledged relatively more than others, at least relative to the size of their economies,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Obviously the differences in pledges have to do with differences in priorities, but also differences in financial situations.”

Good News and Bad in Countdown 2015 Progress Report

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 8 – Despite some encouraging signs,  a “dramatic acceleration” of investment and action will be required if the world is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health by the 2015 deadline, the global tracking project Countdown to 2015 reported here today.

In new research findings released at the three-day Women Deliver 2010 conference here, the report said only 19 of the 68 countries being followed are on track to achieve MDG 4, reducing child deaths by three-quarters by 2015, and only five will achieve MDG 5, lowering mothers’ deaths by the same percentage. Ten countries actually lost ground in the past five years, the study said.  more...

Gates Foundation Commits $1.5 Billion for Maternal Health

Originally posted on Seattle Times

Calling on world health leaders to do more to prevent deaths of mothers and their newborn babies, Melinda Gates said today the Gates Foundation is pledging $1.5 billion over the next five years for family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition in developing countries.
 
It's the second largest donation in the foundation's history, after a $10 billion pledge over 10 years for vaccine development and delivery made in January.

A Message from Sarah Brown, Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance

By: Sarah Brown, Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance

As you meet in Washington DC this week, there are some very encouraging signs of progress on maternal health which we all want to improve further. The issue is on the international political agenda as never before; new global figures suggest maternal mortality rates are coming down in some places, and we have seen in recent years how the movement for change is rapidly growing around the world. There are today many thousands of White Ribbon Alliance members now in 150 countries around the world uniting to press for change and holding leaders to account for their promises.

Collecting Stories of Mothers and Babies Saved

At the Women Deliver 2010 conference, White Ribbon Alliance along with UNFPA will be debuting a multimedia exhibition called, "Stories of Mothers Saved." To celebrate the exhibit, they are hosting a countdown to Women Deliver with blog posts from people all over the world who have contributed to their multimedia exhibition. These blog posts include, Francois Zoungrana from Burkina Faso, Jameel Aldrbashi from Palestine, Smita Maniar from India, and Ahsan Mehboob from Pakistan.

Dangers of Malaria During Pregnancy

Yesterday, the world’s largest malaria conference, The 5th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference, opened with a call for substantial and sustained support for research to guide evidence-based policies and the development of new malaria tools, which together could save countless lives. Watch this interview video with Dr. Rose Leke, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon, where she discusses the dangers of malaria during pregnancy — and how to prevent it.

Innovative Strategies: Making Progress on Maternal/Newborn Health in India

I wanted to write in to share information on a project that has shown real progress. A report by UNICEF India in January 2009 found that about a million neonatal deaths occur in the country each year.

Progress on Health-Related MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals were set with the target deadline of 2015. We probably don't have to tell you -- we are not even close. In fact, MDG 5 (reduce maternal mortality) is the most off-track of all the MDGs, as stated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Maternity Wards in Crisis Areas

Women's eNews reports on the dire situation of pregnant women in Gaza.

BBC Documentary on Maternal Health

The BBC has produced a new multi-series documentary called “Survival” that includes a 45-minute look at maternal health in Bangladesh. To capture the true story, the filmmakers traveled to a remote area in the North East of Bangladesh and filmed the labor of a young woman, Morjina, in her small hut with the aid of traditional birth attendant, or dhai.

The Pillars of Maternal Health

Judith F. Helzner wrote a blog post on RH Reality Check all about the pillars of maternal health that are necessary to support a sustained drop in pregnancy-related deaths.

Kangaroo Mother Care

Check out this video about the success of Kangaroo Mother Care in Malawi.

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