Author Archives: Maternal Health Task force

New Maternal Health Jobs

Are you interested in working in maternal and newborn health? At the MHTF, we like to encourage knowledgeable and capable people, like yourself, to join the field and pursue new opportunities. Please find a list of some of the current job openings in maternal health below: Management Sciences for Health: Director of Grants and Contracts in Uganda. See more jobs at MSH. Pathfinder International: Chief of Party in Kenya Jhpiego: Program Officer in the US; Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor in the US World Health Organization: National Consultant, Maternal and Neonatal Health in Ethiopia Save the Children: Advisor, Newborn MCSP; Coordinator, MCSP March of Dimes: State Director of Program Services in Alabama, US Have you or your organization recently posted a job opening?

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Building Community capacity for maternal health promotion: An important complement to…

By Moustapha Diallo, Country Director, EngenderHealth|Guinea; and Ellen Brazier, Senior Technical Advisor for Community Engagement, EngenderHealth EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Plus project recently published the results of two studies in Guinea, one examining factors associated with institutional delivery and another investigating the effect of an intervention to build the capacity of community-level volunteers to promote maternal health care-seeking. Community empowerment and participation has long been recognized as a fundamental component of good health programming and as a critical strategy for improving access to and use of health services. However, as Susan B. Rifkin notes in a 2014 review of the literature, evidence directly linking community participation to improved health outcomes remains weak. For maternal health, the evidence gap is particularly acute

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UNGA week shows maternal and newborn health are central to development challenges

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Interim President of Global Advocacy, Family Care International This year’s UN General Assembly was full of high-profile moments that reinforced the need for investment and action to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH): the launch of a Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health; the release of reports tracking stakeholders’ fulfillment of commitments to Every Woman Every Child; new data on maternal, newborn and child survival from Countdown to 2015; and a plethora of side events focusing on strategies and country progress toward MDGs 4 and 5. For Family Care International—which advocates for improved reproductive, maternal, and newborn health—this unprecedented level of attention to women’s and children’s health is a welcome sign that our advocacy is having an impact, and that global commitment to ending all preventable maternal and child deaths is stronger than ever. RMNCH was a key theme in many other important discussions during the week, demonstrating the centrality of the health of mothers and newborns to a range of development challenges. Events began with a Climate Summit that brought together leaders from more than 120 countries.

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Making a Human-Rights and Socioeconomic Case for Preventing Maternal Mortality

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF On October 7, 2014, a panel of experts in maternal health—moderated by Dr. Ana Langer, the Director of the Maternal Health Task Force—gathered at the Harvard School of Public Health to discuss the socioeconomic impact of a maternal death on her family and community. Several studies were summarized and priorities for how to use this research were discussed by the panel and audience at “Women’s Lives Matter: The Impact of Maternal Death on Families and Communities.” What does the research say? In many countries around the world, the household is the main economic unit of a society. At the center of this unit is the mother and the work—both productive and reproductive—that she provides for her family. A study in Kenya, led by Aslihan Kes of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Amy Boldosser-Boesch of Family Care International (FCI), showed great indirect and direct costs of a mother losing her life

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WHO Welcomes Revitalized Interest in Maternal and Newborn Heath Integration

By Severin Ritter von Xylander, WHO This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Health Integration Blog Series, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting. The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the revitalized interest in integration of maternal and newborn health care as integration is the key to success for both improving maternal health and for ending preventable newborn deaths. This is the very reason why WHO, together with UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, have been promoting, already since 2000, Integrated Management of Pregnancy and Childbirth (IMPAC). This is the package of guidelines and tools, which respond to key areas of maternal and perinatal health programmes. IMPAC sets standards for integrated maternal and neonatal care

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A Year of Mentoring, A Lifetime of Impact: The Maternal Health Young Professionals Program in…

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF At the beginning of this year, the MHTF teamed up with St. John’s Medical College and Research Institute to launch the Maternal Health Young Professionals (MHYP) program; a year-long mentoring program for health professionals throughout India. This professional development program supported eight young health professionals from the private, public and practice sectors to enhance their research, evaluation, and managerial skills – equipping them with the skills they need to be national and global leaders in maternal health. In September, the MHYP showcased their projects, which were made possible by this unique skill building and mentoring process.

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Quality of Care for Maternal and Child Health: An Interview with Dr. Zulfi Bhutta

The maternal health community has made great strides towards improving the health of women and newborns around the world, but as global efforts have scaled up interventions quickly, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) has often paused to consider the quality of this work. To evaluate this, Ana Langer and Anne Austin from the MHTF joined experts from around the world to create the Quality of Care in Maternal and Child Health supplement, published by the Reproductive Health Journal in September, 2014. Three of the five articles in the supplement have been highly accessed, which demonstrates high interest in quality of care in the community and untapped momentum that may be used to fill the identified research gaps. We talked to Dr. Zulfi Bhutta, lead researcher for the series, and asked him a few questions about the research process and how we as the maternal health community should move forward with the results

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Empowering Pregnant Women for Positive Birth Experiences: Addressing RMC in the United Kingdom

By Milli Hill, Founder, Positive Birth Movement The focus of my response will be on UK maternity care, as this is where I am based and where the majority of Positive Birth Movement (PBM) groups are. However I am aware that RMC is a global issue, and that different cultures face different issues in their efforts to promote compassionate care. Running the PBM and writing about birth nearly every week, women consistently tell me this: kindness, compassion and respectful care really matter. How a woman (and her partner) are treated during and after childbirth can transform a difficult birth into something they feel at peace with; conversely, disrespectful treatment can be the root cause of trauma, even if the birth was relatively straightforward. The birth experience matters greatly to women, but we have somehow formed a cultural habit of discouraging them from admitting this.

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Free Women from Disrespect and Abuse: Promote Respectful Maternity Care

By Christina Rawdon, National Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance Zimbabwe How great it would be if all women the world over were free from any form of disrespect and abuse (D&A) in their life time; not because I am a woman but because I am an advocate for human rights with love for other human beings. Health care professionals are the pillar of respectful maternity care (RMC). Who disrespects and abuses women in health facilities? It is often but not always the health professionals.

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From Rights-based Advocacy to Maternal Health Outcomes

By Georgia Taylor, Health Partners International The health system is responsible for poor maternity care Women’s health is affected by how they are treated during pregnancy, childbirth and after. South African women, for example, have described verbal abuse, including being ridiculed while pleading for assistance or pain relief, and being berated for “messing up” when they bled on the floor during labour. Many are later forced to clean up their own blood, the report states. “It’s become so normal some nurses don’t understand why it’s a problem to slap or shout at women in labour,” says Odhiambo. “Some say it’s necessary to get patients to follow directions, and it’s for their own good.” Health providers, especially midwives, nurses and obstetricians are held responsible for this situation, but in fact, it is the whole health system that allows the abuse and lack of care to take place.

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The Right to Survive Pregnancy and Childbirth

by Melissa Upreti, Center for Reproductive Rights For many women, pregnancy is a joyous occasion, but for millions of women worldwide, it is a dangerous proposition that could result in serious injury or even death. Nearly 800 women die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, with the vast majority of these deaths happening in developing countries in the global South. In many parts of the world, this reality is accepted as a fact of life, but the truth is that it is a violation of women’s human rights since, in most instances, the deaths are preventable. In fact, maternal death is too often directly tied to the severe gender bias women face, including discrimination based on their caste or tribe, where they live, and their socioeconomic status. This underlying discrimination frequently manifests as disrespect and abuse (D&A), which goes unchecked due to a lack of accountability norms, procedures, and mechanisms in health systems to ensure respectful maternity care (RMC).

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Join Us in Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Today is a day of celebration: Today we congratulate Malala as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which is a perfect way to kick-off tomorrow, International Day of the Girl Child. As Malala fights for equal access to education for girls everywhere, we join tomorrow with girls, women, and organizations around the world to recognize the unique value, needs, and contributions of girls – ones that often go overlooked. The time of childhood and adolescence for girls is one filled with infinite possibilities for transformative experiences, for better or worse. The International Day of the Girl Child was launched for the first time three years ago by the United Nations as world leaders recognized that girls face many challenges that limit the realization of their potential and violate their human rights. Of these human rights, is the right to plan a family and the right to survive childbirth

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Every Woman Deserves Respectful Maternity Care During and After Childbirth

By Susan Moffson, MCHIP Senior Program Officer At a training center in Tanzania, Jhpiego’s Senior Maternal Health Advisor, Sheena Currie, addressed the group of brightly dressed nurse-midwives and doctors. As part of an overview about respectful maternity care (RMC), Sheena used role-play to show these health care providers how to warmly greet pregnant women with a smile and kind words when they arrive at the health facility to give birth. “Hello, I am Sheena your midwife and I will be looking after you,” she said. Her words were met with giggles and snickers, and several training participants shook their heads skeptically. Sheena described this type of reaction as common: “Disrespectful and abusive (D&A) care is the elephant in the room; everyone knows it takes place, but it makes them uncomfortable to talk about it.” USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), led by Jhpiego, has always incorporated RMC in quality improvement (QI) approaches, for example, by integrating RMC in provider trainings on checklists and clinical standards

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Apply Now! Exciting Fellowships for Maternal Health Professionals

Two fellowship opportunities are now available. Please review the information below. Takemi Fellowship The Harvard School of Public Health is pleased to announce that two Takemi Fellows will be supported annually by a grant from the Ford Foundation to contribute to leadership development and build capacity for sexual and reproductive health policy in Africa. The focal countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia. Strong candidates from French-speaking West African countries can apply if they have strong English language skills.

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