Maternal & Reproductive Health

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Reflections on a year of malnutrition

Malnutrition is frustrating. I often sit in the office, analyzing data from our programs, and feel helpless. Children who stay the same height for two Read More

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Tracking perioperative mortality and maternal mortality: challenges and opportunities

Access to surgery remains inequitable worldwide, with 5 billion people lacking safe and affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed.1 The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery was convened in 2013 to assess the state of surgery around the world, provide recommendations for improving access, and propose indicators for assessing national surgical systems. A key safety indicator is the perioperative mortality rate (POMR). This is defined by the Commission as the number of all-cause deaths before discharge in patients who have undergone a procedure in an operating theatre, divided by the total number of procedures, and presented as a percentage.

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Large Price Premiums for Unprotected Sex Among Female Sex Workers in Kenya: A Potential…

No abstract available

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Pregnant women must be able to access the right care at the right time, says WHO

WHO has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care in order to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience.


WHO and partners call for better working conditions for midwives

WHO and partners are calling for an end to the discrimination, harassment and lack of respect that hinder midwives’ ability to provide quality care to women and newborns.


Testing moms to stop syphilis in newborns

Last week, on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s newest surveillance report on sexually transmitted infections, a little-known infection affecting newborns made news. Congenital syphilis, a condition where pregnant women pass syphilis to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth, is on the rise in the United States. During 2015, 487 cases […] ; ; ; ;Related StoriesThe multidimensional fight against polioThe essential fight for positive changeThe race to immunize a country—and a little girl named Precious ;


What’s all the buzzzzzzzzzz with Mosquitoes?

The Zika virus is taking the world by storm lately. Miami, Florida is in the spotlight for being a literal hotbed of daily cases of new infections, with other Southern states reporting rapid growth of risk areas. Despite their efforts to thwart this pernicious insect, we’re seeing it spread much more quickly than anyone imagined. But is Zika the only bite that matters? Can mosquitoes transmit other vector-borne illnesses just as dangerous?


Pregnant Refugees From South Sudan Face Numerous Health Challenges

IRIN: Pregnant and homeless: South Sudan’s women refugees “Josephine Maziku arrived at Uganda’s Nyumanzi Transit Centre in June this year six months pregnant and with only the dress she was wearing. … Like many other expectant mothers who fled South Sudan’s violence, she had little time to think of anything but escape. When she got…More


Questions Surround Report Of Maternal Mortality Spike In China

New York Times: Reported Spike in Maternal Deaths Spurs Questions in China “Did China’s maternal mortality rate surge by nearly one-third in the first half of 2016, as a top health official reportedly said this week? An anxious, skeptical debate has broken out over the drastically higher figure, announced by Ma Xiaowei, deputy director of…More


A look at maternal care: Too little, too late for some; too much, too soon for others

Despite overall improvements in maternal death rates, women receive poor-quality care in all countries, and the mortality-rate gap between rich and poor countries is growing. A new series of papers published by The Lancet show that a combination of poor-quality health care and over-medicalization is harming women and children around the world. The problem is


Independent and combined effects of maternal smoking and solid fuel on infant and child…

Objective To estimate the independent and combined risks of infant and child mortality associated with maternal smoking and use of solid fuel in sub-Saharan Africa.


It’s Time to Latch on to Breastfeeding!

Last month was World Breastfeeding Week, which is a social media campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of children’s healthy development and how breast milk plays a vital role in it. This was not a surprise of groundbreaking news to most of us, especially in light of the oodles of articles focused on the constant stigma and body-shaming often directed at nursing mothers. (Yes, we’re looking at you Donald Trump). But what we should also promote are the economic benefits a family can receive by simply opting to forgo formula.


World Breastfeeding Week: Conflicts of interest in infant and young child feeding

In the aftermath of World Breastfeeding Week, leading academics in infant nutrition from the Australian National University, Julie Smith, Libby Salmon and Phillip Baker, examine the challenges that remain in keeping breastfeeding on the global agenda. Cognitive losses from formula feeding cost the world economy $300 billion a year, according to a major study earlier this year.[1] Relatedly, a review of evidence on reproductive cancers calculates that 20,000 women a year – most in high income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom – die of breast cancer avoidable by extending breastfeeding duration [2]. For children lack of breastfeeding also means increased risk of death, infectious disease, and chronic disease including asthma, obesity and type-2 diabetes. Infant and young child feeding matters for wealthy as well as poor countries. This year’s theme for  World Breastfeeding Week, ‘breastfeeding … the foundation of a country’s development’, [3] should remind governments in high income countries that aggressive infant formula marketing isn’t just a problem for deprived populations in faraway export markets


Zika Epidemic Rekindles U.S. Abortion Debate; All Advocates Agree More Funding Needed To…

USA TODAY: Zika outbreak could reignite abortion debate “…With nearly 1,000 pregnant women in the U.S. infected with Zika and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising all expectant mothers to be screened for exposure to the virus, the USA is beginning to get a hint about why the issue became so contentious in Latin…More


Plan International CEO Discusses Challenges In Collecting Accurate Data On Births Among…

Devex: Finding data points to shed light on girls left behind “Reproductive age is defined as between 15 and 49 by every demographic health survey in the world. But girls under 15 account for two million of the 7.3 million births that occur to adolescent girls under 18 every year in developing countries, according to…More


Honduras Reports Suspected Zika-Linked Deaths, Birth Defects; Cuba Reports 2 New Locally…

Agence France-Presse: Zika suspected in 6 deaths in Honduras “Six people have died and 10 babies have been born with defects in Honduras in cases feared to have been caused by Zika, the health minister said Tuesday. Tests were being carried out to confirm whether the cases were the result of the virus, which is…More


In Unprecedented Domestic U.S. Travel Advisory, CDC Warns Pregnant Women, Those Planning…

The Hill: CDC warns pregnant women to avoid Miami over Zika “Federal health authorities are warning pregnant women not to travel to the parts of Miami where mosquitoes are believed to be spreading the Zika virus…” (Ferris, 8/1). POLITICO: CDC issues Zika travel warning for Miami “…The CDC is also warning women planning to become…More


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