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Maternal Mortality in Cameroon: An Urgent Need for Action

By: Nehsuh Carine Alongifor, Women Deliver Young Leader

Maternal mortality continues to escalate in most African countries and the target to reduce maternal deaths and ensure universal access to family planning services is far from being met. Cameroon is no exception; according to different national demographic and health surveys, even with the rising prevalence of modern contraception, maternal mortality has increased over the years with 430 per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 430 in 1998, 669 in 2004, and 782 in 2011. Read more...

Love in the Times of Zika: Public Health Strategies and Women’s SRHR in Latin America

By: Lucía Berro Pizzarossa and Marinella Matejcic, Women Deliver Young Leaders

The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency in response to the Zika virus, stating that "the level of alarm is extremely high." At the same time, Latin American governments are asking women "not to get pregnant." The virus, first discovered in 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda, was initially thought to be harmless until a causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes was suspected. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leaders Advocate to Advance RMNCAH in Nigeria

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde, Women Deliver Young Leader Alumnus

Young people took center stage at a three-day inaugural summit titled “Accountability Now, Advancing RMNCAH in Nigeria,” organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Champions for Change, the public health institute, and other major stakeholders with supports from many international organizations including Women Deliver on February 16-18, 2016. The aim of the summit was to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)into the country’s effort to ensure the accountability of life-saving health care delivery for marginalized women, newborns, children and youths in Nigeria. The summit was an advocacy conference on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), where key leaders, innovators, and technical experts aimed to highlight the need and opportunities for RMNCAH within Nigeria. Read more...

‘I Thought It Was a Nightmare:’ Rape and Unintended Pregnancy

By: Ephraim Kisangala, Women Deliver Young Leader

“I thought it was a nightmare!” said Jovia Alar*, who shared her nine-month ordeal with tears in her eyes. Jovia is a 14 year-old girl from Ssemuto, Mubende in Uganda. She is the eldest child of a single mother who supports her family by selling second-hand clothes in a seasonal market several miles away from home. One night, Jovia went to the nearby bushes to pick firewood that she would use to prepare supper, as she often did. Jovia recounts what happened next in her own words. Read more...

Ensuring Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services Through SDG3

By: Jennifer Amadi, Women Deliver Young Leader

Young women in Nigeria are caught between tradition and a shifting cultural landscape, brought about by urbanization, globalized economies, and a media-saturated environment. Many young women are unprepared to face the challenges that accompany limited access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including forced child birth, banishment from the community, infections, and even death. Read more....

Reducing Maternal Deaths in Nigeria: How Men Can Play a Critical Role During Pregnancy

By: Nnamdi Eseme, Women Deliver Young Leader

In Nigeria, women have always been forced to go through the stressful journey of pregnancy all alone, with little or no support from their husbands. This makes them susceptible to psychological stress, anxiety, fear, and complications during pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth constitute the second leading causes of death among women of reproductive age, after HIV/AIDS. Every year, there are 303,000 maternal deaths worldwide. Read More... 

Engaging a Community to Ensure “Every Girl, One Contraceptive”

By: Maureen Odour, Women Deliver Young Leader

Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant. The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl's control. Early pregnancy takes a toll on a girl's health, education and rights. It also prevents her from realizing her potential and adversely impacts the baby. A country's economy is also affected by teenage pregnancies as adolescent mothers are prevented from entering the workforce. Read more...

Women Deliver and Bayer HealthCare Launch World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project

New York, NY, 27 July 2015 – In support of World Contraception Day and the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program, Women Deliver and Bayer HealthCare are happy to announce the launch of a three-year World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project. This partnership is designed to promote the shared goals of Bayer and Women Deliver and compliment their common work of raising awareness of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues and priorities. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: What Does Patient-Centered Family Planning Care Look Like?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Catherine Owinga, Jacaranda Health

“I’ve heard it’s a huge metal thing,” Njeri, a new mother, told Jacaranda Health midwife and nurse-in-charge Catherine Owinga at a recent family planning consultation. Njeri was describing what she knew about the copper-bearing intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), or the “coil,” as it is called locally. Njeri’s fears about an IUCD – that it is so large that it has to be inserted under general anesthesia or can travel through your veins and get stuck in your heart – were familiar to Catherine. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Harnessing Peer Networks to Promote Family Planning

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Shalmali Radha Karnad, Jacaranda Health

At Jacaranda Health, efforts to expand access to postpartum contraception have resulted in a rate of family planning that is more than three times higher than Kenya’s national average. Despite these successes, Jacaranda is still trying to understand why so many women do not adopt family planning at the recommended six weeks after childbirth. A key part of the human-centered program development is talking with clients – in focus groups, interviews, and informal chats – to understand their needs and build programs to address them. When postpartum clients were asked why they were not using family planning, the overwhelming response was that clients’ friends and family members told them six weeks was too early for family planning. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Engaging Men in Family Planning Decision-Making

By: Shalmali Radha Karnad and Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

On any given morning, the seats in the reception at Jacaranda Health’s Kahawa West maternity hospital are full – young mothers nursing newborns, pregnant women thumbing through antenatal care brochures, toddlers clambering over benches as they await their immunisations, and men – husbands, partners, fathers – all attending the maternity to support and care for their wives and children. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Do We Encourage Healthy Birth Spacing?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

Nearly half of women in Kenya who are new family planning users stop within the first year of use. It’s called “contraceptive (or family planning) discontinuation” and the high numbers of women in Kenya who stop using contraception early is of major concern. Family planning discontinuation has been called a “leaky bucket,” and high rates are undermining gains made in the number of women who start taking contraception (called “uptake”). Last week, this blog series highlighted how Jacaranda Health is encouraging family planning among postpartum women to encourage healthy spacing of delivery and pregnancy. While focusing on uptake is important, it is only part of the story. Healthy birth spacing requires women not only to decide to start family planning before the return to fertility, but also to continue using family planning – consistently and correctly – for nearly two years or longer. Read more...

Men, Theatre and New Masculinities: Breaking Barriers to Modern Family Planning

By: Mallah Tabot, Women Deliver Young Leader

“I now understand the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes my partner goes through during pregnancy. It is now easier for me to recognize a problem and jointly plan to stop having children. She has been pregnant almost each year for the past 8 years and it’s funny how I didn’t realize I could be part of the solution.”

When a man in rural Cameroon utters these words, you know change is coming. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Creating a “One-Stop Shop” to Encourage Postpartum Contraception

By: Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

Everyone said she could not become pregnant while breastfeeding. This is what Wanjiru*, a new mother, told a nurse midwife at Jacaranda Health’s Ruiru maternity hospital.  When she became pregnant just 3 months after the birth of her first baby, she felt lied to. Family planning use in the first year after childbirth – known as the postpartum period – is both essential and rare in Kenya. At Jacaranda Health, the aim is to make family planning acceptable and convenient for new mothers and their families in a setting where 90 percent of women are not using postpartum family planning at all or until after they are already at risk of pregnancy. Read more...

UNFPA and IPPF to Partner in Providing SRHR Services to Earthquake Affected Women and Girls in Nepal

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have entered into a partnership to ensure that the need for sexual and reproductive health care of young girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Nepal is urgently met in the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake. Read more...

Striving for a Better Tomorrow on International Day of the Midwife

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver  

May 5 of each year marks International Day of the Midwife (IDM) in which we celebrate the progress that has been made towards the vision to reduce all preventable maternal and newborn deaths. Read more...

The Folly of Farring Pregnant Girls from School in Sierra Leone

By: Chernor Bah; Originally posted on Africa is a Country

Pregnant girls are now barred from school in my country Sierra Leone. The government has decided that as schools reopen this week for the first time since the vicious Ebola outbreak that has claimed over 10,000 lives – and plunged our country into fear, lock downs, economic and emotional pain – pregnant girls should simply stay away. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Boys Learning to Take a Stand against Violence in Kenya

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Violence against women is prevalent in Kenya. According to government data from 2008-2009, nearly half of Kenyan who have ever been married have been physically abused by husbands. The same survey showed that over half of women believe that men have the right to beat their wives.

Ujamaa Africa, whose mission is to promote health, personal security and economic empowerment for vulnerable women and children, is trying to change this. The organization is currently running a program called Your Moment of Truth, a project to end violence against girls and women in slums in Nairobi by encouraging adolescent boys to take action. Read more...

Girls and Women Must be at the Center of the Global Development Agenda

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

I am an optimist. Some would say I am a naïve optimist. Others would say I am an impatient optimist. There may be some truth to this, but after more than a decade working in global health I can say with confidence that over the next ten years we will make significant and sustainable change to improve the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. It will happen gradually and require a strong global strategy, but it is possible. Just think about how much progress has been made over the last two decades: maternal deaths have dropped by almost half, contraceptive use has increased, more girls are in school, more women are in leadership positions, and women’s rights are more widely recognized. Read more...

Highlights From the FRESH Campaign


These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campaign (Uganda)

Running the FRESH campaign has been an adventure! It started out with learning how to write proposals, thanks to the C Exchange Youth Initiative. Implementing the program has been an opportunity for me to unlearn, learn, and relearn the best practices in managing the project. I do believe that my best lesson learned is that for a project to succeed, one needs to plan. Not just plan for activities, but also plan and be prepared for any challenges along the way. Teamwork is also essential to the success of a project. The only way a project succeeds is when it has a team on the ground shares the same visions and has well outlined and defined responsibilities. Read more...

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