Celebrate Solutions: Farming for a Healthier Future

By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach for Women Deliver

sweet_potato.jpgAt the Tamlega Dispensary in Chwele, Kenya, pregnant women who arrive for check-ups leave with an unusual prescription: a voucher for sweetpotato vines. The goal is to leverage the untapped potential of sweetpotatoes, a food crop rich in vitamin A, to significantly improve the nutrition, incomes, and food production of farming families in sub-Saharan Africa, especially among impoverished women and children.

The project, “Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA),” was launched in eight sub-Saharan African countries in 2009 by the International Potato Center (CIP), with support from a five-year, $21 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more...

Gates Foundation: Every Woman Should Have Access to Family Planning

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

GlobalFundGates.jpgThis week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter from Bill Gates, identifying family planning as a priority area for 2012. When women have access to family planning, Gates explains, poverty is reduced, more children are educated, and governments are better able to meet the needs of their people. This allows governments and citizens to benefit from the “demographic dividend”, referring to decreases in family size resulting in a higher number of educated youth. When these youth reach working age, they boost productivity and economic growth for their country. Read more...

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Lifesaving Work

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $750 Million Contribution to the Global Fund, Affirming Support for the World's Largest Global Health Financier

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Gates Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates announced a $750 million contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The funds are committed in a promissory note, a new and innovative funding mechanism that will provide the Global Fund with the flexibility to distribute funds based on immediate program needs. The contribution will help finance Global Fund-supported programs in 150 countries, and comes just two days before the Global Fund's 10th anniversary on January 28. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Lifeway Foods Joins Christy Turlington to Promote Maternal Health

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

Last week, Lifeway Foods announced the launch of its national Every Mother Counts Sweepstakes and fundraising campaign to support maternal health. Founded by model, filmmaker and maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns, Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal health worldwide. 

Lifeway is a leading supplier of kefir and organic kefir cultured dairy products. Specially-marked bottles of Lifeway’s Lowfat Kefir will contain entry codes on the bottle cap, which can then be entered into the sweepstakes app at the Lifeway Kefir Facebook Page. All entries for the grand prize must be received before March 11 and the winner will be announced on March 14. Read more...

Women Deliver Partners with the International Museum of Women in Online Exhibition on Motherhood

Women Deliver is proud to partner with the International Museum of Women for the launch of their new, online exhibition MAMA: Motherhood Around the GlobeRead more...

Calling All Mothers, Calling All Babies: Introducing HuffPost Global Motherhood

By: Arianna Huffington
Originally posted by: Huffington Post, Global Motherhood 

GlobalMotherhood.jpgI'm delighted to announce the launch of Global Motherhood, a new section within HuffPost Impact dedicated to the health and well being of mothers and babies around the world, and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. Read more...

New Report Shows Increase In Unsafe Abortion

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

Guttmacher.gifThe long-term decline of abortions worldwide has stalled, and unsafe abortions are now on the rise, according to Induced Abortion: Incidence and Trends Worldwide from 1995 to 2008, a report by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO) published yesterday by The Lancet. After a global decline in abortion rates from 35 per 1000 women in 1995 to 28 in 2008, progress has now stagnated.  The proportion of unsafe abortions out of total abortions has risen from 44% in 1995 to 49% in 2008. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: A Commitment to the Health and Livelihood of India’s Women

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate 

Zubaida Bai’s relationship with postpartum infection is a personal one. As a consequence of unsanitary birthing conditions and practices, she contracted an infection that led to years of suffering. Rather than allow her misfortune to deter her work, the engineer turned social entrepreneur shifted her time and energy toward developing a clean delivery birthing kit that could help prevent the deaths of the nearly 600,000 women and nine million infants that lose their lives to postpartum infection each year. Read more... 

Where There Are No Doctors, Who Can Deliver Health?

By: Carolyn S. Miles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children
Originally posted by: Huffington Post Impact

Frontline.jpgWhat do 1) Florence Nightingale, 2) Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and 3) Heathcliff Huxtable have in common? Yes, all are famous health workers. But what more sets them apart from others like Dr. House or Doogie Howser, M.D.?

Tied to this answer is the key to addressing some of the world's greatest health challenges. Read more... 

Celebrate Solutions: Making Maternal Health Affordable for All

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

DeLaVega.jpgIn the early 1970s, Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega read a newspaper article about a poor mother of nine children who was imprisoned after she stabbed herself in the stomach to prevent a tenth pregnancy. After visiting the woman in jail, De La Vega realized how limited information on and access to family planning services were in Mexico, and particularly for poor and marginalized women.  

She then went on to found the private, non-profit Hospital de la Familia, which offers holistic, sliding-scale health care and counseling for the women of Juarez, Mexico. To date, the hospital has treated more than 1.7 million patients and overseen the healthy births of more than 116,000 babies. Read more...

Maternal Health, Family Planning: A Matter of Must

Originally posted by: FrontPage Africa

By: Mae Azango, one of four African journalists to win a prestigious grant from the Pulitzer Center to cover reproductive health issues

MaeLiberia.jpgFamily planning is now a serious problem in Africa, but many women in underdeveloped Countries are denied access to modern contraception due to inadequate supplies and isolation of rural dwellers in most instances. Other women are denied family planning methods because of cultural backgrounds and religious affiliation.

One would ask why family planning is important and should be made an access free service. According to a report conducted by Women Deliver, every year more than 500,000 women and girls die from pregnancy related complications. This has amounted to one death every minute. Read more...

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.

Celebrate Solutions: Advocating for Greater Access to Female Condoms

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

FC.pngDespite continued commercial availability for more than 15 years and ongoing efforts to increase global accessibility, a massive unmet demand for female condoms still exists today. High prices—up to 30 times the price of a male condom in some places—and limited or irregular access have kept the only female-initiated contraceptive method out of reach of many women.

In particular, female condoms act as a “barrier” contraceptive, which means they physically prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Unlike other barrier contraceptives, female condoms also protect the inside and outside of the vagina, thus preventing sexually transmitted infections. Greater access to the female condom for both women and men will increase the instances of protected sex and lead to the reduction of unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortions, and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. To help prevent these tragedies, last month on World AIDS Day, the United Kingdom committed 5 million pounds for the distribution of female condoms in Africa. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Bayer Health Care Increases Access to Contraceptives For Women Worldwide

Earlier this week, Bayer Health Care broadened its commitment to reproductive health supplies for women by reducing the price of its five-year contraceptive implant product, Jadelle©. The price will decrease from $21 to $19.50 per implant, and could further reduce with future large orders.

Bayer projects that with these cost savings, over half a million women who view Jadelle© as their contraceptive method of choice will now be able to access it. Potential outcomes are powerful and plentiful, including the prevention of more than 550,000 unwanted pregnancies, 255,000 abortions, 1,000 maternal deaths, and 6,000 newborn deaths. 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...

A Declaration in Support of A Global Campaign for Safe Abortion Access

Dakar, Senegal, December 2, 2011 -- The following declaration was released at the International Conference on Family Planning. A similar declaration was prepared and read by the following partners during the 6th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in October 2011: Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), Concept Foundation, Women on Waves, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation East and SE Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF-ESEAOR) and South Asia Region (IPPF-SAR). 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...

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