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Celebrate Solutions: The Reproductive and Child Health Alliance in Cambodia

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Cambodian_Women.jpgThe Southeast Asian country of Cambodia borders the South China Sea and is surrounded by Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. The maternal mortality ratio in 2008 was 290 deaths per 100,000 live births, but has been show to be as high as 493 deaths per 100,000 live births in rural areas.  Over the last decade, the Cambodian government has increased the availability of reproductive health services, but there is still great need for services among expecting mothers in rural areas. A national program is working to narrow the gaps in care, decrease the urban-rural disparities, and educate community-based health workers to provide lifesaving maternal care. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Developing Families Center in Washington, DC

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

While my previous posts have focused on ‘solutions’ in the Global South, today we’re focusing on maternal health in the United States where it is getting more dangerous to be a pregnant woman. In 2007, the United States ranked 41 out of 171 countries for lifetime risk of death from pregnancy related causes. That means 40 countries had better maternal health outcomes than the U.S. In 2008, the United States dropped to 50, behind countries including: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, and Puerto Rico. Today, in the U.S., 1 in 2,100 women will die in pregnancy and childbirth. Read more...

Health Care in its Social Context from SternerTurner Media on Vimeo.

Youth Advocates: 10 Ways to Take Action Right Now

With only a few days left until the New Year, it’s easy to feel like 2010 is already over. But it’s not too late to do something this month! Read our recap of the Top 10 Maternal Health Highlights in 2010 to celebrate all the hard work and successes of the year. Then, click through to check out some opportunities to keep your momentum going.

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...

Human Rights Day: Recognize Maternal Health, Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Today, December 10, is Human Rights Day. As we at Women Deliver have been saying all year, maternal health is a human right. The right of all women to quality health care must be ensured to prevent the deluge of avoidable maternal deaths and injuries that happen every day. Maternal health care must be available, accessible, and of high quality. When countries fail to provide such care, it is a violation of women’s rights to life, health, equality, and non-discrimination. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, India

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula. The state faces major challenges in improving and increasing access to health care services, but they are making significant strides. The Government of Tamil Nadu developed a Health Policy in 2003 with a focus on the health of low-income communities and families. The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project supports this strategy through several interventions, especially those aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality. The World Bank recently provided more funds, in addition to the original financing in 2004, to further improve health services quality and access while supporting state-wide management systems implementation. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Newlyweds Learn About Healthy Families in Egypt

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

If people don’t receive comprehensive sex education growing up, what is another option for disseminating critical sexual and reproductive health information to them? By targeting young married couples in Egypt, The Mabrouk! (“Congratulations!”) Initiative strategically focuses efforts on young couples preparing to start a family. Established in 2004, the initiative combines a multimedia campaign with interpersonal and community empowerment approaches as part of the Communication for Health Living (CHL) project to create sustainable social change related to health practices. Read more...

Living Proof | Egyptian Newlyweds Learn About Healthy Families from ONE Campaign on Vimeo.

New Amnesty International Report: Barriers to Reproductive Health in Indonesia

Girls and women in Indonesia from poor and marginalized communities face multiple barriers in accessing reproductive health services, Amnesty International reports in  “Left without a Choice: Barriers to Maternal Health in Indonesia”. Released yesterday, the report details barriers to access which violate Indonesia’s international human rights obligations to protect girls and women from discrimination, as well as the right to health, and reproductive health in particular.

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...

10 Ways to Get Involved and Take Action for Youth

It’s been five months since the Women Deliver 2010 conference where the world put a spotlight on maternal health and the approximately 350,000 women who die from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth every year. We need to keep that energy going! Need some inspiration and some ideas? Read on for 10 actions and opportunities you can take right now:

Merck Supports Women Deliver and the MDGs

By: Frank Roijmans, Executive Director of the Institutional Family Planning Services at Merck

It was an honor and a pleasure to participate in the Women Deliver Brunch, preceding the UN Summit where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a major concerted effort to accelerate progress on Women's and Children's health. The brunch was designed to exchange thoughts and come up with ideas to integrate and create synergies amongst all the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) through concerted actions at country level. Merck/MSD fully support the endeavors of the United Nations, Women Deliver and the wider development community. We share the top priority goals that include improving universal quality access to reproductive health and reducing maternal mortality, which are major contributors to the overall health of women, families and society. Read more...

New UN Report: The State of World Population 2010

Effective peace-building requires women’s active participation, according to the The State of World Population 2010, published this past Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund. The report’s release coincides with the anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, a pivotal commitment to ending the abuse and marginalization of women in conflict and in peace-building initiatives.

UN: $750 Million Needed to Treat Obstetric Fistula

Last Monday, October 11th, the United Nations released a report entitled "Supporting Efforts to End Obstetric Fistula" which estimates that $750 million will be needed to treat existing and new cases of obstetric fistula occurring between now and 2015. 

Despite being almost entirely preventable when universal and equitable access to quality maternal and reproductive health services exists, the Lancet has reported that at least 2 million and as many as 3.5 million women suffer from obstetric fistula.  According to the World Health Organization, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable, and their risk for maternal mortality is two to five times greater than that faced by women in their twenties. Read more...

Blog Action Day: Water and Maternal Health

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver brazil_women_water.jpg

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is water. What does safe water have to do with maternal health? A lot. To significantly improve maternal, newborn, and reproductive health, it requires access to quality care for pregnancy and childbirth. Safe health care requires safe water, as well as basic sanitation and waste management. Infections directly contribute to 36% of newborn deaths and sepsis accounts for 15% of maternal deaths in developing countries. If a hospital lacks adequate plumbing, or a village experiences a water shortage, it makes women and children especially vulnerable to the destructive effects of unsafe water. Contact with unsafe water can result in exposure to a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites and therefore can result in waterborne disease, and in some cases, death. Diarrhea weakens pregnant women’s immune systems and results in morbidity and mortality among infants and children under 5. Read more...

New Publications on Contraceptive Use, Access, Abortion, Early Marriage, and Youth

From contraceptive use in Cambodia and Central America and issues of access in Kenya and around the globe, to abortion trends and practices in India and Nigeria and early marriage and reproductive health outcomes in India, to youth policy and services from the WHO European Region - click through to find a variety of new research studies and publications.

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) Awarded for Humanitarian Design

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) has been awarded the 2010 Curry Stone Design Prize for development of a locally produced and distributed sanitary pad that enhances women’s dignity and allows better access to education and occupation. In numerous developing countries, the stigma of menstruation is exacerbated by the lack of adequate, affordable sanitary devices, often keeping girls and women away from school and work for days or even weeks during a year. SHE’s goal is to tackle this taboo in a multi-faceted, “quilt-like” approach involving advocacy and education, as well as the promotion of a local business model based on the sustainably designed pad.

Empty Handed: Responding to the Demand for Contraceptives

Empty Handed tells the story of women’s lack of access to reproductive health supplies in sub-Saharan Africa, and its impact on their lives. It documents the challenges at each level of the supply chain and identifies key areas for improvement. Watch the film here, visit the website, and click through to learn more.

Celebrate Solutions: Midwives and Misoprostol in Afghanistan

Afghan.jpgBy: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Badakhshan Province along the Northern border of Afghanistan is an impoverished, isolated, and remote mountainous region. There are few passable roads, and areas of unrest, making it dangerous to get health care, and difficult to get help to villages. The region is experiencing some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. But Afghans are trying to change that. The solution? Midwives. NPR reported August 29 on the impact of an initiative to recruit and train midwives in rural Afghanistan. Read more...

The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking

Girleffect.org tells the story of girls creating a ripple impact of social and economic change on their families, communities and nations. Launched a few years ago, this compelling video showed the world the power of investing in girls. Last week, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Girl Effect launched a new video that builds on the original message, and discusses important issues like child marriage and early pregnancy for adolescent girls.

The Launch of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health

Yesterday, the Aspen Institute launched the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, and issued a call for resolve: Universal Reproductive Health Access by 2015. The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health is a group of sixteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders committed to advancing reproductive health for lasting development and prosperity. Chaired by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, these leaders will mobilize the political will and financial resources necessary to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015 – a key target of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Read more...

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