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USAID Partners With Kimberly-Clark to Help Babies and Moms in Andean Nations

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a global manufacturer of health and hygiene products, announced today that they will work together to improve maternal and child health in the Andean region, starting in Colombia and Ecuador.

The new partnership will link the U.S. Government's Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives to Kimberly-Clark's existing programs, which already reach thousands of new and expecting mothers in poor communities. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Light and Improved Economic Livelihoods to Rajasthan

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

barefoot.jpgAt only 12 years old, Kavita* stopped attending school to help her family with housework. By 15, she was married to a man from a village in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, a western state in India. In this new village, she taught young children during the day and attended classes at night to improve her literacy. It was through this local literacy program, Kavita was approached by leaders of The Barefoot College; a new initiative trying to develop a cohort of female solar engineers. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: A Thousand Tiny Knots - On the Way to One Million Health Care Workers

By: Joy Marini, Director Corporate Contributions, Johnson & JohnsonDai_Moms.jpg

A few months ago, I was sitting in a room full of “dai-moms” -- lay midwives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. These women are amazing. One of the most intriguing things about them is how they keep track of their activities. They use knotted ropes that they tuck carefully into their waistbands. Many of these midwives cannot read or write, so they keep an account of all births that they attend with the rope of tiny knots. Every knot represents a birth. Every knot represents a life. The dai-moms even remember who is represented by each knot and return to the families for newborn checks. Our partners -- Narigrantha Prabartana and the Global Fund for Women -- support these dai-moms with education, camaraderie and motivation, all of which are in short supply in the harsh, remote environments where the dai-moms work. Read more...

World Contraception Day: We Were Fifteen

By: Mariko Rasmussen, public health student at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in Reproductive and Family Health.

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

They say kids in Los Angeles grow up fast. Sitting across from a girlfriend over lunch the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I learned there could be truth in this statement. Following a pause in our conversation, she admitted her real reason for calling to see me – she’d had an abortion a few weeks prior. I sat in disbelief. We were fifteen. Read more...

World Contraception Day: Young Girls Don’t Ask “Improper” Questions

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

By: Dalia Al-Eryani, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders538282430_27fe6449dc_z.jpg

A little over a year ago, I was working to raise awareness regarding the safe age of marriage in a small rural village in the mountains of Yemen. One of our biggest supporters was, Fatima, an old woman from the community who hosted our team meetings in her home every month with her family. Fatima couldn’t have been that old really, but the hardship she had endured in her life left her looking like a fragile old woman with sun-kissed cracked brown skin, tired eyes and a big heart. One morning our meeting ended early and she sat down to talk to us. She hugged her legs to her chest and began telling us why she believed in what we were doing. Read more...

Today is World Contraception Day: Live Your Life and Know Your Rights

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach at Women DeliverYTFgroup_Group.jpg

Happy World Contraception Day! If you haven’t heard of World Contraception Day, welcome, get excited, and tune in. The theme this year is “Live your life, know your rights. Learn about contraception.” It’s a pretty simple slogan but it has a powerful implication.

Young people have the right to access accurate and unbiased information about contraception and safe sex, which they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies, STIs, and improve their lives in a number of ways. But they don’t often know that, or they can’t realize those rights. We are trying to change that. Read more...

Young People Report High Levels Of Unprotected Sex and Barriers Affecting Their Rights

London, 26th September 2011:  The third annual multi-national survey, exploring young people’s attitudes to sex and contraception, has been launched today to mark World Contraception Day (WCD) 2011, which takes place every year on 26th September. The survey, entitled ‘Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception,’ has shown alarmingly high levels of unprotected sex amongst young people as well as poor knowledge of effective contraceptive options. Furthermore, respondents are avoiding asking healthcare professionals about contraception through embarrassment and many cannot rely on their schools to provide comprehensive sex education. Read more...

Midwives Save Lives: Launch of The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011

Nearly 3.6 million lives could be saved in 58 developing countries around the world with scaled-up midwifery services, according to a report launched today by UNFPA and partners called The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011. Of these 58 countries, 38 were found to be lagging behind in meeting MDG 5 (reducing maternal mortality by 75%). Unless an additional 112,000 midwives are trained, deployed and retained in supportive environments, these 38 countries might not meet their target to achieve 95 percent coverage of births by skilled attendants by 2015, as required by Millennium Development Goal 5, on maternal health. Globally, 350,000 midwives are still lacking. Read more...

Live From Kenya: Bridging Clean Water to Maternal Health

By: Toyin Ajao, winner of the Women Bloggers Deliver contest

Emusanda_Health_Centre.jpgYesterday, on the Carbon for Water campaign trail, we met with Francis Odhiambo, the provincial public health officer of the Western Province in Kenya. He had a great impact in helping connect the dots between having safe drinking water, combating diseases and women having safe pregnancies and deliveries. Mr. Francis Odhiambo believed strongly that women suffer twice as much as men on health issues relating to water borne disease because of their daily activities and chores around the house and for their families. Women not only face the hardship of looking for nonexistent safe water, but they also have to trek miles to get stream water and firewood for boiling it. Read more...

International Day of the Midwife

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

Today, May 5th, is International Day of the Midwife. The world needs midwives now more than ever. The World Health Organization, UN agencies and other global partners have identified that midwives are key to achieving reductions in maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities globally, yet there is a serious shortage. Read more... and get inspired by three midwives honored on the Women Deliver 100 list of the most inspiring people delivering for girls and women, below.

Juliette_Coulibaly.jpgImtiaz_Kamal.jpgdorothy-ngoma.JPG

Juliette Coulibaly, Côte d'Ivoire / Imtiaz Kamal, Pakistan / Dorothy Ngoma, Malawi

World Malaria Day: A Focus on Women and Children

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

Today is World Malaria Day—and there is much to celebrate. Over the past decade, malaria cases have drastically declined and deaths from malaria have been reduced. As we celebrate the many successes of the past decade in fighting malaria around the world, it’s important to put a spotlight on those who are most vulnerable to malaria—pregnant women and their children. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: Family-Centered Maternity Care in Georgia, the SUSTAIN Project

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

New maternal health care services are bringing hope-and survival- to the women of Georgia. For 69 years, they suffered under a Soviet medical system with inefficient hospitals and clinics, poor geographical distribution of health facilities, and rampant financial instability. Healthcare for pregnant women and their families was no better, leaving women with a 1 in 1,300 risk of maternal death over their lifetimes and lack of access to low cost family planning methods. Since the country declared independence in 1991, it has been gradually bolstering the health system with the hope of providing all citizens with the services they deserve. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Maternity Waiting Homes in Liberia

liberia-women.JPGBy: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

The West African country of Liberia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be pregnant - 1 in 20 women will die during pregnancy or childbirth. This high statistic is the result of a protracted civil war that has damaged the country’s health infrastructure—there is severe shortage of trained personnel, a lack of medical equipment and supplies, and pregnant women often have to travel long distances just to reach a health clinic. But the government, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is welcoming innovative new projects to help lower the country’s high rate of maternal deaths. One such project began this month, with the opening of the first of seven ‘maternity waiting homes’ in Bong County, in north-central Liberia. Read more...

Fast Company Magazine Names Voxiva One of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”

Fast Company's annual Most Innovative Companies issue today named Voxiva the 40th most innovative company in the world for “encouraging good health via mobile apps,” bolstering Voxiva’s leadership position in the mobile health field. Voxiva was also 3rd on their list of the Top 10 innovators in the Mobile Industry. Women Deliver congratulates Voxiva on this great news, and agrees with Fast Company editor Robert Safian when he says that, "Innovation has never been more important to our economy and our future." Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Midwives Services Scheme, Nigeria

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver  

nigerian_mother.jpgBordered by Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Gulf of Guinea, the West African country of Nigeria is the eighth most populous country in the world with a soaring maternal mortality rate.  As of 2008, the average maternal mortality rate was 840 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and up to 1,549 deaths per 100,000 live births in rural areas. These statistics gave the Nigerian government a stern wakeup call: too many women were dying during pregnancy and childbirth with a weak healthcare workforce to support them. In 2009, the Nigerian National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) took action to expand women’s access to skilled health care workers in rural and suburban regions with the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS). Read more...

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...

A Life Changing Birth Experience: My New Normal

Jessica Valenti shares her personal experience with birth complications and how it changed her life. Click through to read her full blog post.

By: Jessica Valenti, author and founder of Feministing.com; originally posted on her website jessicavalenti.com 

As you may already know, I had a baby – a daughter named Layla Sorella Valenti-Golis. That’s the good (nay, wonderful!) news. The bad news is that she was born way too early; I developed severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and had to deliver Layla when I was 29 weeks pregnant.

Celebrate Solutions: Community Health Workers in Uganda

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

uganda.JPGFive days after twin bombings hit the capital city of Uganda in July, the annual African Union Summit converged world leaders to discuss the theme of maternal and infant health, highlighting the issue of political instability and civil unrest in relation to development issues. While Uganda has made progress in improving maternal health, meeting MDG 5 will require a steep decline from 550 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005, to 131 in 2015. It remains a daunting task, but Uganda has implemented a number of interventions aimed at improving maternal and child health and increased government funding towards such projects. Read more...

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