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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...

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. Read more...

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...

10 Maternal Health Highlights of 2011

This year has been one of forward momentum, innovative solutions and inspiring individuals. As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate achievements and look at some of the most memorable milestones and events of the past year. Moving into 2012, we are armed with the knowledge of what success looks like. We must continue to work to ensure that girls and women are at the heart of development efforts, now and in the years to come. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Young Girls in Egypt through Youth Centers

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Eygpt.jpgIn Egypt, young girls living in rural areas often do not have the opportunity to attend school. Instead, they help their families and are socially isolated due to conservative gender norms. They often marry young and have little access to public life, as they are confined to the home to raise children and take care of their households. These girls have little access to health care, education, or peers in their communities. To break the cycle of this isolation and enable these girls to reach their full potential, the Population Council launched Ishraq  (meaning “sunrise” in Arabic) in 2001. The program brings adolescent girls from Upper Egypt together in youth centers and provides training to improve their educational, health, and social opportunities. 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...

A Formative Close to the Maternal Health Dialogue Series

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Maternal Health Task Force, UNFPA, USAID Bureau for Global Health, and the African Population and Health Research Center co-hosted the last session of the two year maternal health dialogue series. The partners launched the report, “Delivering Solutions: Advancing Dialogue to Improve Maternal Health,” which captures the strategies and recommendations that emerged from the series.

Since December 2009, this maternal health dialogue series has hosted 28 sessions with over 100 panelists engaging in conversation and debate around some of the most pressing maternal health topics.   A total of over one thousand participants attended sessions on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and maternal health service integration to family planning in fragile states; new applications of existing communications technologies; and addressing maternal health in urban slums. The series focused on major challenges and opportunities for moving the maternal health agenda forward, and affirmed that solutions for saving the lives of women and girls are plentiful and powerful. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Maternal Health Supplies Survey, Share Your Voice

Our colleagues at PATH are spearheading an in-depth analysis of maternal health supplies to better understand the barriers, challenges, and needs of women and health providers around the world. If you haven’t participated already, please share your experience and thoughts in the mapping survey, which PATH describes as follows:

PATH recognizes the challenges to the delivery of quality MH services and reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity are myriad and complex. The intent of this landscaping is to inform recent efforts by the broader maternal and reproductive health communities to advance maternal health supplies advocacy by building upon the lessons learned and structures created by the reproductive health supplies movement. Their specific focus on overcoming the financial, logistical, and policy-related barriers to ensuring contraceptive supplies has helped to mobilize global support for and increase access to family planning overall. Read more...

The Power Of The “Demographic Dividend”

By: Gary Darmstadt
Originally posted by: the Impatient Optimists

Kanpur.jpgI recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting at the World Bank where global health and development leaders and finance ministers from rich and poor countries met to share experiences and learning about the demographic dividend.

The concept of the demographic dividend is that when fertility rates in a country decline, fewer births take place each year, and the size of the population of individuals who are dependent on the state grows smaller. Read more...

Making Life: A Risky Proposition, A Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special

ABC News continues its year-long global health series by examining the most dangerous thing a woman can do: why so many women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Diane Sawyer and a team of correspondents report on a special edition of “20/20,” Friday, Dec.16 on ABC.

New York, NY, December 12, 2011 -- The numbers are staggering: every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s about 1,000 women a day. Yet experts say that more than 80% of these deaths are totally preventable if only the mothers-to-be received proper medical care. At the bottom of the list, countries like Afghanistan, with its child brides, and Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The US ranks surprisingly low in the industrialized world -- number 41 on the maternal mortality list. It is an issue that experts all over the world say is “unforgiveable” because even the most basic medicine and intervention could prevent the majority of these deaths. Read on...

Maternal Health Advocate Robin Lim Named CNN Hero Of The Year

Last night, maternal health advocate Robin Lim accepted the CNN 2011 Hero of the Year award, telling the audience, “Every mother counts, and health care is a human right.” Lim is the founder of the Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics in Indonesia which provide free antenatal, birthing and postnatal care; capacity-building and training for local midwives; and community outreach on maternal health. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Safe Sex, HIV/AIDS, & Reproductive Health Programs Empower Kibera’s Youth

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate

Found just five kilometers southwest of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, Kibera is one of the most densely populated urban settlements in the world. Of the nearly one million impoverished people inhabiting this rural area, it is estimated that 50% are under the age of fifteen, and 10-25% are infected with HIV/AIDS. To address the district’s economic instability and promote participatory development, the not-for-profit Carolina for Kibera (CFK) provides youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Read on...

Aid Effectiveness Forum: What Does It Mean for Reproductive Health?

By: Suzanna Dennis
Originally posted by: Population Action International

Aid effectiveness and government investments directly shape the amount and quality of funding for reproductive health.  For example, the move to greater country ownership over aid has advocates concerned that governments will not sufficiently prioritize sexual and reproductive health.

Last week, global development powerbrokers convened in Busan, South Korea to assess progress towards aid effectiveness goals, develop a more inclusive global aid framework and address issues beyond aid.  The organizers of this Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) declared it a resounding success:  They delivered a global Partnership for Development Cooperation bringing together all development actors around a shared set of development principles. 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...

Family Planning Conference Brings New Funding and Declarations of Support

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver

Yesterday, at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning, Senegal’s Minister of Health announced his country’s pledge to double its investment in family planning, while the British Department for International Development (DFID) pledged an additional £35m in funding for family planning programs in developing countries. These two groundbreaking announcements have been pivotal moments at the global conference in Dakar, Senegal, where over 1,500 participants have gathered to share best practices. 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...

Corporate Buzz: Women Deliver Report Advocates For Cervical Cancer Prevention in Developing World

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver

HPVvaccine.jpgToday, Women Deliver released a new report, “Saving Lives: The Road to Comprehensive Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Developing World,” which highlights recent innovations and commitments focused on preventing and treating cervical cancer. Currently the number one cancer killer of women in developing countries, cervical cancer causes over 275,000 deaths each year, 88% of which occur in the developing world. Though cervical cancer isn’t directly addressed in the Millennium Development Goals, and is too often viewed as a problem of the developed world, addressing this major public health issue will have a direct impact on reducing poverty and improving women’s health in the developing world. Read more... 

Women Deliver Releases Report On Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Developing World

New York, November 23, 2011 -- Today, Women Deliver released a report “Delivering Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Developing World,” that highlights exciting new partnerships and innovations in cervical cancer prevention and treatment. 

This report comes at an important time: the GAVI Alliance recently announced its commitment to providing HPV vaccinations for 2 million girls in nine countries by 2015. This is a pivotal milestone in the efforts both to bring global attention to the issue of cervical cancer and to galvanize resources to scale up prevention efforts. Partnerships, worldwide and across sectors, have the potential to bring us closer than ever before to a world free of cervical cancer-related deaths. Read more... 

Women’s Health Issues in a World of 7 Billion

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver
Originally posted by The Huffington Post

yemengirls.jpgThis past month, the world met a milestone. We officially live in a world of seven billion people -- an impressive figure that drives home just how much responsibility we all have to take care of our globe, ourselves and each other. This benchmark has sparked many conversations anew, from the impact of population on the environment to the undeniable importance of contraception. But as UNFPA's recently launched State of the World's Population 2011 report points out, a world of seven billion is not a time to ask, "Are we too many?" but rather, "What can I do to make our world better?" Read more...

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