Author Archives: Maternal Health Task force

How to improve respectful maternity care through community engagement

by Melaku Muleta, Participatory Community Quality Improvement Manager, JSI, Inc. – Last 10 Kilometers Project, Ethiopia In 2003, the Ethiopian government launched the Health Extension Program (HEP) to ensure universal health care. The approach here in my country, one with a large rural population with minimal access to quality health services, is to bring primary health care down to the grassroots community level. The approach has proven successful. Through my work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Last 10 Kilometers Project (L10K), I have focused on examining how the quality of services can be improved for communities seeking care.

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As humanitarian crises multiply, maternal health and safety of women becoming a focus

By Katrina Braxton, Program Assistant, The Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative Accessing maternal health care is already a challenge in many countries, and when conflict erupts or a disaster strikes, it can get even worse, leaving millions of women on their own while at their most vulnerable, said Ugochi Daniels, chief of humanitarian response for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Women and girls also become more vulnerable to violence during times of crisis, she said, by virtue of nothing but their gender. [Video Below] Daniels and other experts discussed efforts by humanitarian agencies to better address maternal health and gender-based violence in crisis settings at the Wilson Center on November 20, supported by the Maternal Health Task Force and UNFPA. Providing a baseline More than one third of maternal deaths world-wide occur in crisis settings, said Janet Meyers, deputy director of health policy and practice at the International Medical Corps. During an average humanitarian emergency — famine, conflict, extreme flooding, etc.

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Margaret Kruk joins the MHTF: Strengthening health systems for women

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF I sat down with Margaret Kruk, who recently joined our team at the MHTF, to talk about her career, how health systems can better serve women, the power of social media, and her hopes for the future. Your recent work has focused on health systems research in sub-Saharan Africa. How has your career brought you to this point? MK: I have a somewhat nonlinear path to academia.

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Critical next steps for the maternal health community

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF As we reflect on lessons learned from the MDGs and set strategies for improving global maternal health, it’s time to identify what has worked and what more is needed to not only avert preventable maternal deaths, but also provide quality health care for every woman. In a paper published today, Tamil Kendall, a post-doctoral fellow of the Maternal Health Task Force, summarizes priorities for maternal health research in low- and middle-income countries based on three broad questions she asked 26 maternal health researchers from five continents: Critical maternal health knowledge gaps “We know what to do. But the interactions between the interventions and the health system have not been studied” The most prominent knowledge gap that remains is implementation research for health systems strengthening. Not only do we need to identify the most effective ways to deliver, scale up and sustain both basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care, especially for postpartum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia, but implementation research is needed to ensure we deliver the right packages of care at the right levels of care. Other priorities: Improving the quality of maternal healthcare Improving the quality and availability of information about maternal mortality Supporting women’s empowerment Increasing the availability and uptake of contraception Increasing access to safe abortion services New treatments for major causes of maternal deaths Neglected and crucial issues “The human resource crisis.” The most neglected and crucial issue identified is strengthening the health workforce, another health systems issue.

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Emerging Priorities for Maternal Health in Nigeria: Surveying the Field

By Katrina Braxton, Program Assistant, The Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative “Nigeria’s population is only two percent of the world population, but we contribute about 10 percent of the maternal mortality,” said Oladosu Ojengbede, professor and director of the University of Ibadan’s Center for Population and Reproductive Health. [Video Below] Despite efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 – reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters compared to levels in 1990 and achieve universal access to reproductive health – Nigeria has seen only modest improvements to maternal health, said a panel of experts participating in both Abuja and Washington, DC in a live video conference supported by the Maternal Health Task Force and UNFPA, on December 17. The simulcast event was preceded by a day-long policy workshop in Abuja with 40 participants from a wide array of stakeholders, including the ministry of health, development partners, NGOs, traditional leaders, health organizations, and the media. Results from Nigeria’s most recent National Demographic and Health Survey indicate the maternal mortality ratio stood at 576 per 100,000 live births in 2013, compared to 800 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003 – a 52 percent decline since 1990. Through roundtable discussions, participants identified five key factors to Nigeria’s maternal mortality that must be addressed to accelerate progress. Five Central Challenges The first roundtable, led by Dr.

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HIV health services associated with better prenatal and postnatal care for all women

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Investment in HIV services may improve quality of prenatal and postnatal care. At the facility level, the mere presence of HIV treatment services was associated with higher quality prenatal and postnatal care, shows a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers from Columbia University, the CDC and Kenyan public health institutions, analyzed data from 560 hospitals and clinics in Kenya, a country with a high maternal mortality ratio, to compare the quality of prenatal, postnatal, and delivery services in facilities that had HIV treatment services and those that did not. The researchers found that the existence of PMTCT and ART treatment programs was associated with significantly increased quality in prenatal and postnatal care, irrespective of HIV status. However, quality of delivery care was similar across the two settings. Driving this association is the fact that “the introduction of PMTCT and ART programs may have brought with it better tools, resources, and infrastructure for outpatient maternal health, services,” shared Dr

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Join the live webcast for Putting Mothers and Babies First

Thursday, February 26, 2015, 12:30-1:30pm EST The Leadership Studio, 10th Floor Kresge Building, 677 Huntington Ave., Boston Join us with The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for Putting Mothers and Babies First: Benefits across a lifetime – a panel discussion presented in collaboration with The GroundTruth Project and GlobalPost. One of the smartest investments a society can make is to foster the health and education of its mothers. Healthy mothers raise healthier children, which boosts the productivity and stability of communities and economies. Yet, maternal mortality remains a terrible and disproportionate reality, particularly in developing countries, where 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur.

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Twelve new convening partners join the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference 2015!

Join the Secretariat of Health of Mexico and 15 other convening partners in Mexico City, October 18 to 21, for a landmark technical conference to discuss strategies for reaching every mother and newborn with high-quality health care. Who should attend? The conference will have a technical focus, highlighting approaches and lessons from programs, policies, research, and advocacy for improving both maternal and newborn health. We welcome participation from stakeholders at all levels including: program managers, policymakers, researchers, donors, clinicians, technical advisors, advocates, and representatives of professional organizations. How to join

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How to train providers where maternal mortality is highest

maternal ihme

By Atziri Ramírez Negrin, Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research In Mexico, maternal mortality continues to be a public health problem. Throughout the country, the burden of maternal mortality varies greatly between different locations. The three states with the highest maternal mortality ratio are Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. The main causes of maternal mortality continue to be hypertensive pregnancy disorders and postpartum haemorrhage.

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#SavingLivesRd5 Twitter Chat

A Twitter chat hosted by Saving Lives at Birth discussed the future of maternal and newborn health and innovation. Here is a Storify of the first half hour. To see the rest search #SavingLivesRd5 on Twitter! View the story “#SavingLivesRd5 Twitter Chat” on Storify

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Integrating culture into maternity care programmes: A systematic mapping of interventions

By Ernestina Coast, Eleri Jones, Samantha R. Lattof and Anayda Portela This synopsis is from an article featured in our recent update of the MHTF-PLoS Collection, Integrating Health Care to Meet the Needs of the Mother-Infant Pair. Our recent systematic mapping indicates a growing global awareness of the need to design culturally-appropriate maternity care services in order to improve service utilization and thus maternal and newborn health outcomes, which is core to the World Health Organization’s mandate on ‘health for all.’ Scaling up women’s use of skilled maternity care is an important component of global strategies to improve maternal and newborn health, but the availability and provision of skilled care does not necessarily lead to increased utilisation of services. Culture can often influence women’s use of maternity care services, either leading women to avoid services or to seek them. Differences between the cultures of maternity care services and service users have been recognised as a major issue in service delivery

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Can male involvement improve maternal health?

By Olena Ivanova, International Centre for Reproductive Health, Belgium This post is part of the Woman-Centered Universal Health Coverage Series, hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and USAID|TRAction, which discusses the importance of utilizing a woman-centered agenda to operationalize universal health coverage. To contribute a post, contact Katie Millar. Since the 1994 International Conference on Population Development in Cairo, the importance of male involvement in reproductive health programs, including maternal health, has come into focus. In their roles as fathers, partners or healthcare workers, men influence not only their own health but also women’s reproductive health. Men tend to be the decision-makers within families and often take the lead in issues regarding the allocation of money, transport, women’s workload and access to health services, family planning and use of contraceptives.

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Male involvement in maternal health: helpful or harmful?

By Suzanne Kiwanuka, Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda This post is part of the Woman-Centered Universal Health Coverage Series, hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and USAID|TRAction, which discusses the importance of utilizing a woman-centered agenda to operationalize universal health coverage. To contribute a post, contact Katie Millar. Over the last several years, research on male involvement in reproductive and maternal health care has shown incredible impacts on the health outcomes of women and newborns. For example, educating male partners about HIV in general and how it is transmitted is essential to successful, long-term approaches to eliminating HIV/AIDS. Male involvement in antenatal care (ANC) can reduce the risk of mother-to-child  transmission of HIV and infant mortality by more than 40 percent. In response to this overwhelming research, Uganda officially launched a male involvement strategy in November 2014

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Input needed on indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF As the maternal health community, we understand how important measurement is to accomplishing the goal of decreasing maternal mortality and ensuring healthy lives across the life course for girls, women, and their children. With the end date of the Millennium Development Goals looming, prioritizing maternal health and measuring it well will be critical to progress for women and newborns in the post-2015 era. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the United Nations needs your input in reviewing their indicators and monitoring framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But act quickly!

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