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Author Archives: Maternal Health Task force
The death of a woman in pregnancy or childbirth is a tragedy. Yet the tragedy is not only her absence, but how her absence impacts her family and community. Join us on Tuesday, October 7th, as we support the event “Women’s Lives Matter: The impact of a maternal death on families and communities” hosted by the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Family Care International, and the International Center for Research on Women. Here experts will gather to share new research findings demonstrating how drastically a women’s death during pregnancy or child birth affects her community economically and socially. You may join us in person or via live webcast at The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health to discuss how to use research findings to advocate for both funding and policy to sustain reproductive and maternal health efforts throughout the post-2015 agenda. Who: Dr
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Representatives make announcement about Global Financing Facility at UNGA. Photo from website of Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper In a landmark decision, the World Bank, the United States, and governments of Canada and Norway announced at the 69th UN General Assembly their efforts to establish a new funding mechanism—the Global Financing Facility (GFF)—to support not only the acceleration needed to achieve MDG 4 and 5, but also a more long-term vision through 2030 to end preventable maternal and child deaths. Dr. Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health welcomes this fund and its strategy. “The focus on both maternal, child and reproductive health for women and girls and 2030 as a finish line is most welcome as it reflects both a life cycle approach and proves consistent with the new set of goals that the global maternal and newborn health community has proposed post-2015,” said Dr
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Skilled birth attendants are one of the most effective tools to decreasing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. Although many women do not receive skilled care. One way to ensure women have this care is to ensure providers can provide it. This Tuesday, September 30th, The Wilson Center will hold the policy dialogue, Innovative Training of Birth Attendants, to discuss innovative, technology-drive training models in low-resource settings. Experts from UNFP, Jhpiego, and Dartmouth Medical School will gather with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center to share their models and next steps for promoting healthy deliveries for moms around the world
By Graciela Salvador-Davila, Senior Advisor for Maternal and Newborn Health, and Rebecca Herman, Communications Specialist, Pathfinder International This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting Ninety-nine percent of all maternal and newborn deaths in the world occur in low- and middle-income countries. That inequity is unacceptable. Furthermore, 46% of all maternal deaths occur during the time of labor and the day of birth. In a tragic alignment, as much as 45% of all newborn deaths occur within the first 24 hours of a child’s life. The parallels between the timing of maternal and newborn deaths is no accident. Both women and their babies are in dire need of high-quality, skilled care.
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Next week the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), along with other global experts, will gather in Cape Town at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. At the symposium, we, along with the USAID|Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project, aim to strengthen the messages of maternal health, universal health coverage (UHC), and health systems presented at the symposium. The MHTF is participating in a number of events, which are part of a large focus on respectful maternity care (RMC) and woman-centered care. To garner attention for woman-centered care as a driver for UHC, we invite you to attend our sessions. “Woman-centered Care as the Engine for Universal Health Coverage: Creating a Health Systems Research Framework” on September 30th, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF We can count today as a victory for women around the world. Today the World Health Organization (WHO) released the consensus statement “Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth” – the first of its kind. Besides being a violation of human rights, disrespect and abuse (D&A) is a major barrier to women seeking care in facilities, the WHO-recommended location for childbirth to prevent maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidities. The release of this statement comes at a critical time as it will be disseminated at the UN General Assembly this week at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in South Africa next week.
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting Dr. Jorge Hermida, presenter at the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting, addressed global leaders on promising approaches to integration of care. In his presentation, Dr. Hermida proposed a global paradigm shift for health care and reviewed the success of a quality assurance project. This project implemented quality improvement (QI) teams, which constituted a variety of health worker cadres and healed a both horizontally and vertically fragmented system
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting. Around the world, countries are achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 and 5—to reduce child and maternal mortality—yet we see little change in the number of newborns who die every year. This fact is one that Dr. Dunstan Bishanga, Chief of Party for USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program in Tanzania, emphasized at the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting last week when he said, “Looking at MDG 4 and 5,… there is no indicator for newborn, it is assumed that by improving, reducing under-five mortality rate and infant mortality rate you will definitely be addressing newborn health, but this may not be true.” This is a reality he has seen firsthand in his country of Tanzania. In Tanzania, under-five mortality (U5MR) and infant mortality have decreased by 58% and 56%, respectively, from 1990 until 2010.
By Niyi Osamiluyi, Founder/CEO, Premier Medical Systems Nigeria, Ltd. This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting. The main causes of newborn mortality are birth asphyxia, birth trauma, low birth weight, prematurity and infections. These accounts for 80% of deaths in the age group. While prematurity can spontaneously occur without any obvious predisposition or previous warning, a lack of obstetric and newborn care is often implicated in birth asphyxia, birth trauma and low birth weight – more especially in the developing countries.
At the end of August and at the beginning of this month we featured an interview with Cris Alonso, Director of the Luna Maya birth center in Chiapas, Mexico. Here she shares with us her insights on the broader maternal health environment – from obstetric violence to woman-centered care. Q: What do you believe accounts for the high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Mexico? A: There are many aspects: lack of culturally competent care, inaccessibility in rural areas, lack of midwives within the system, over medicalization of birth, massive institutionalization of birth with decreased capacity to attend to the volume of births.
By Koki Agarwal, Director, MCHIP and forward by Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting. Forward: In the following post, Dr. Agarwal speaks of an unfortunately common problem between health workers and mothers: disrespect and abuse. This problem and its solution—respectful maternity care—play a role not only in health outcomes for the mother, but for the baby as well. At the Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health technical meeting, Rima Jolviet and Jeff Smith reviewed research that showed emotional support during labor significantly decreases: The need for pain medication during labor The rate of prolonged labor, labor complications, episiotomies, caesarean sections, low apgar scores, lack of exclusive breastfeeding, and severe postpartum depression The risk of newborn sepsis In addition, global experts identified key areas to address when implementing integration to improve health outcomes for both the mother and newborn.
By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF On September 9th and 10th, the Maternal Health Task Force and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program convened experts in Boston to discuss maternal and newborn health integration. The meeting, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality,” hosted about 50 global leaders—researchers, program implementers and funders—in maternal and newborn health to accomplish the following three objectives: Review the knowledge base on integration of maternal and newborn health care and the promising approaches, models and tools that exist for moving this agenda forward Identify the barriers to and opportunities for integrating maternal and newborn care across the continuum Develop a list of actions the global maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectiveness Biologically, maternal and newborn health are inseparable; yet, programmatic, research, and funding efforts often address the health of mothers and newborns separately. This persistent divide between maternal and newborn health training, programs, service delivery, monitoring, and quality improvement systems limits effectiveness and efficiency to improve outcomes. In order to improve both maternal and newborn health outcomes, ensuring the woman’s health before and during pregnancy is critical.
By Thyra de Jongh, Founder and Director, Gephyra International Health Consultancy Are we doing enough? As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, it is time for the global health community to take stock of what we have accomplished thus far. In the area of maternal and child health some great strides have been made. Maternal, neonatal and child mortality rates have all fallen, although in many areas of the world far more needs to be done still to achieve the ambitious targets that were set. When it comes to the care women receive during their pregnancy and childbirth, we also see encouraging improvements.