Maternal & Reproductive Health

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Beyond new facilities: Helping politicians understand universal health coverage

By Dr. Oluwadamilola O. Olagoun, Project Manager, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood 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.

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Adding it up: the costs and opportunities of universal access to contraception services

Ann Starrs, Guttmacher Institute | Despite significant improvements in access to contraceptive services over the past decade, there are still 225 million women living in Read More

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Tuberculosis in pregnancy: an estimate of the global burden of disease

The burden of tuberculosis disease in pregnant women is substantial. Maternal care services could provide an important platform for tuberculosis detection, treatment initiation, and subsequent follow-up.

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Welcome to the new MHTF website!

If you’ve visited us over the last few months, you may have noticed that we have a new look! The site, launched in November, was designed to load quickly and to be easy to use on mobile devices. The new design also includes several new features that make it easier for you to find and access the maternal health information you need. We’re excited to present our new resource library where you can search for guidelines, research, videos and more. But that’s not all! New features: Shorter load times for low-bandwidth settings Detailed descriptions of resources, like guidelines and videos, so users can decide if it will meet their needs prior to downloading An improved search function offers visitors quick access to a wide-range of maternal health resources including peer-reviewed research articles, grey literature and blog posts In development: An organizations search that allows users to find other groups and organizations by geographic area and scope of work We hope you’ll take a look around and let us know what you think.


Twelve new jobs in maternal health!

Every other Friday we bring to you some of the latest job openings in maternal and reproductive health. Check out the international postings below: Country Program Officer: JSI (Rosslyn, VA, USA) Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist: JSI (Arlington, VA, USA) Technical Director – SEUHP: JSI (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Senior Technical Advisor for Maternal and Child Health: CARE (International) Senior Policy Advocate: CARE (Washington, D.C., USA) Senior MNH/RH/FP Specialist (Expressions of Interest): EngenderHealth (Indonesia) Monitoring & Evaluation Officer: EngenderHealth (Bihar, India) Senior Program Officer, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health:  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA, USA) Program Officer, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (New Delhi, India) Program Officer, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition: PATH (Brussels, Belgium) Research Utilization Specialist, Reproductive Health: PATH (Washington, D.C., USA) Research Officer: PATH (Johannesburg, South Africa)


New Lancet commentary makes link between Ebola and women’s health

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF The Ebola epidemic that is currently ravaging Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea has devastated these nations and their health systems. While Ebola’s destruction has reached far beyond the health system into other critical sectors, it is without a doubt women and their children who are suffering the greatest burden of this disease and its effects. Today, The Lancet published a commentary that describes the socioeconomic, biologic and health systems connections between women’s health and the current Ebola epidemic. Ana Langer, Director of the MTHF, joined with her colleagues at ISGlobal and the Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça to author the paper, which describes the reasons why the majority of those infected with Ebola are women and how the outbreak has increased the obstacles women face in accessing the health system. The authors expound: First, the worsening of suboptimal access to reproductive and maternal health care in the Ebola crisis countries is posing a major threat to the lives of mothers and infants.


TFCH improves Maternal health in Nigeria with Solar Delivery Lights from Maternova, Inc.

Knowing the electricity challenges in our rural communities, women in labor and the midwives finds it very difficult during delivery of the newborn. Its been a trend that pregnant mothers are mandated to buy “Candles” as part of the listed items for delivery. The candle of course provides light in case labor comes at night. Where the mother is not able to buy the candle, the local lights known as “npanaka” used mainly by rural dwellers which produces dangerous fumes that causes carbon monoxide poisoning are regularly used. This local lights is known to be very dangerous to the health of the newborn , mother and health worker


Parasite harms reproductive health and increases HIV risk

By Sally Theobald, COUNTDOWN Consortium & Research in Gender and Ethics: Building stronger health systems (RinGs), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine 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. New mother in Zimbabwe is tested for HIV. Photo: Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation I spent many of my teenage years living in Malawi, enjoying swimming in beautiful Lake Malawi. Wind on to age 30, and I was struggling to get pregnant.


Beyond new facilities: Helping politicians understand universal health coverage

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By Dr. Oluwadamilola O. Olagoun, Project Manager, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood 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.


Involved in medicine or midwifery? Fill out this survey!

After convening at the International Society of Obstetric Medicine Conference last October, the Global Obstetric Medicine group endeavours now to understand the global landscape of Obstetric Medicine—particularly in low- and middle-income countries—in order to determine training, learning and resource needs. Obstetric Medicine is an emerging specialty that focuses on the care of the obstetric patient with medical disorders, whether these disorders are pre-existing or arising in pregnancy. To facilitate this endeavour, the group is hoping that you will complete this brief survey regarding provision of Obstetric Medicine services in your locality. The survey should not take more than 5 minutes. A lack of awareness regarding the contribution of  Obstetric Medicine has been suggested as one of the factors contributing to pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality. In addition, specialised Obstetric Medicine does not exist in many countries and management is distributed amongst a range of health care providers with variable expertise.


How do you translate research into practice? Here are five ways.

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Over the last three weeks, we’ve heard from authors around the world who have seen concrete practice and policy results from their articles in our MHTF-PLOS Collection for Maternal Health. Our Translating Research into Practice Series featured these authors and the influence of their papers. Find a summary of the collection below. From inaction to advocacy: placing women and children at the center of sustainable development While a maternal death is devastating in its own right, a mother’s death is not an isolated event; when a mother dies there are immediate and lasting repercussions for her children, her family, and the broader community. As the dawn of the Sustainable Development Goals fast approaches, it is important that we turn to evidence from the Impacts of Maternal Death on Living Children Study to inform advocacy efforts toward the inclusion of women’s reproductive health and gender equality as a central, fundamental part of global development


Women, girls and universal health coverage: Who is accountable?

By Belkis Giorgis, Global Technical Lead for Gender, and Fabio Castaño, Global Technical Lead for Family Planning and Reproductive Health, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) 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. Who is accountable for the young woman dying during childbirth in a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia? For the woman in a health center in Bugiri in Uganda? For the girl child in a rural home in Uttar Pradesh, India?


Five ways an innovative program increased facility birth in Nigeria

Written by: Seye Abimbola, Research Fellow; Nnenna Ihebuzor, Director of Primary Health Care Systems Development; Ugo Okoli, Program Director of SURE-P Maternal and Child Health Programme, Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency This post is part of our Translating Research into Practice Series, which features guest posts from authors of the MHTF-PLoS open-access collections describing the impact of their research since publication. The Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) was set up as a game changer to reduce maternal and child mortality so Nigeria could achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health (MCH). Established by the national government in 2009 to improve the availability of skilled birth attendants in rural communities, the program engages newly graduated, unemployed and retired midwives to work temporarily in rural areas. Four midwives are posted for one year to selected primary health care (PHC) facilities to provide the human resources for health necessary to achieve the MDGs in their states and local government areas. 1


Ten arguments for why gender should be a central focus for universal health coverage advocates

Written by: Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs) Steering Committee This post is the first in 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. Refugee women in DRC dancing. Photo: André Thiel To make universal health coverage (UHC) truly universal we need an approach that places gender and power at the centre of our analysis. This means we need a discussion about who is included, how health is defined, what coverage entails and whether equity is ensured


New Jobs in Maternal Health

Looking for a new job? Check out these availabilities in maternal health: Healthy Newborn Network – Consultancy Pool: Maternal and Newborn Health programme planning and implementation FHI 360 – Project Manager, Data Collection Pathfinder – Director, Service Delivery Strengthening and Integration EngenderHealth – Maternal, Newborn Child Health Technical Advisor (based in Uganda) Jhpiego – Senior Reproductive Health /Family Planning Advisor


Using research findings to influence maternal health action: An example from Nigeria

Written By: Bolaji Fapohunda, Senior Advisor & Nosakhare Orobaton, Chief of Party, TSHIP Nigerian mother and baby. Photo: Soumik Kar Our paper—When Women Deliver with No One Present in Nigeria: Who, what, where and so what, published in the MHTF-PLOS Year Two collection—revealed that over one in five births in Nigeria was delivered with no one present (NOP) and 94% of those deliveries occurred in northern Nigeria. A woman’s age, increasing number of pregnancies, Muslim religion, and residence in northern Nigeria increased her risk of delivering alone. However, with greater economic status, decision-making power, and education women were less likely to deliver alone. To decrease the number of NOP deliveries, we recommended an increase in women’s access to and control of disposable income through financial incentives and changes to the broader socioeconomic fabric.


Apply to the International Development Design Summit by January 20th!

The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) is an intense, hands-on design experience that brings together people from all walks of life to co-create low cost technologies that improve the livelihoods of people living in poverty. Coming to India in July 2015, IDDS Aarogyam is a four-week summit that will focus on designing low-cost technologies that address global health challenges in remote and resource-poor settings. Hosted by HIVE—a nonprofit organization in Chennai, India that focuses on providing a space for innovations to come to life and thrive—the summit will be a one-stop shop for all innovators – giving them access to knowledge, expert advice and market information & networks. With expert instruction by Zubaida Bai, founder of ayzh, and prominent instructors from MIT’s Design Lab, summit participants will learn about the collaborative design process and work closely with local communities to be able to develop contextually relevant solutions that can be deployed to strengthen the healthcare system and empower the various stakeholders in the process. Participants will also create prototypes and business models designed specifically to support the creation of inclusive healthcare solutions in the communities where the summit is organized. However, the intention is that the models will have the potential to be replicated and scaled up across geographies that need access to quality healthcare.


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