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Seeing the Big Picture Just Became Easier with Ultrasound

Providing high quality antenatal care for expectant Mothers is a fundamental part of ensuring a safe delivery, and a healthy mom postpartum. In order to do that, some innovative products have been introduced for low resource settings. There’s no denying the importance of ultrasound technology during pregnancy. However, until fairly recently, it has been out of reach for many caregivers due to high cost, or complex application. We’re very pleased to announce that has all changed

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Friday Think: this $20 device could save a mother’s life

A lifesaver that replicates a traffic light A new technology has been given a green light in England. And a red and yellow light as well. It’s a device that could deliver lifesaving impact to thousands of women during childbirth. … Continue reading » ; ; ; ;Related StoriesFriday Think: what Disney World and systems strengthening have in commonTask-shifting: an effective way to protect expecting mothers from malariaFriday Think: a “clinic on wheels” packs a punch at poverty ;

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Improving Access to Maternal Health Commodities through a Systems Approach: Where are we now?

By Beth Yeager, Principal Technical Advisor, Management Sciences for Health & Chair, Maternal Health Supplies Caucus, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Nearly three years ago, I blogged about a systems approach to improving access for a Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) series on maternal health commodities: Increasing access to essential medicines and supplies for maternal health requires a systems approach that includes: improving governance of pharmaceutical systems, strengthening supply chain management, increasing the availability of information for decision-making, developing appropriate financing strategies and promoting rational use of medicines and supplies. It was an exciting year for maternal health. The UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children (UNCoLSC) had just released its report with 10 recommendations for improving access to 13 priority commodities that included 3 for maternal health: oxytocin, misoprostol and magnesium sulfate.  The UNCoLSC report also reflected the idea that a systems approach was necessary and included recommendations related to both upstream and downstream supply chain bottlenecks, information, financing and appropriate use. That same year, the Maternal Health Supplies Caucus of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition held its first membership meeting in October for the purpose of joining the maternal health and family planning communities to “draw on existing approaches to address the bottlenecks undermining commodity security across health systems.” Since then, great progress has been made in identifying the bottlenecks to access, raising awareness of the complexity of addressing these challenges and increasing global commitment to ending preventable maternal deaths as part of the post-2015 development agenda. Improving governance With respect to governance, through the efforts of the UNCoLSC to promote coordinated national strategies for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH), the need for coordinated planning among all stakeholders, including measures of accountability, has come to the forefront

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What we must do to get oxytocin to the women who need it

By Helen Petach, Senior MCH Science Advisor, USAID Limited access to quality-assured essential medicines is a common problem across the globe. Quality assurance requires strong commitment to quality-assured manufacturers, wholesalers and ongoing quality testing. For relatively inexpensive maternal commodities, such as oxytocin, that are critically important—but not used in high volume—there is little financial incentive for private health sector involvement and more reliance on the public sector to manage procurement. For example, for every pregnancy in Kenya, there are 12 cases of diarrheal disease, and thus treatment with ORS will require more doses, and perhaps lead to greater profitability, than treatment with oxytocin.


The time has come to maximize the public health impact of intermittent preventive treatment of…

By Matthew Chico, Lecturer, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Women gathering in a community meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Martine Perret/UN In sub-Saharan Africa, 10,000 women and 200,000 children under the age of one die each year as a consequence of malaria infection during pregnancy [1, 2]. On this year’s World Malaria Day, the global public health community is coming together to highlight the important and lifesaving role of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). IPTp using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is a highly cost-effective intervention with the potential to reduce maternal morbidity and neonatal mortality [3].


To recognize World Malaria Day, Clara Menendez talks malaria in pregnancy

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF As we gear up to celebrate World Malaria Day tomorrow, it is important to remember the impact of malaria in pregnancy. Each year across the globe, there are 125 million pregnant women who live in malaria endemic areas. Why is this important? Pregnant women have up to a 50% greater risk of malaria infection than women who are not pregnant. Each year in Africa alone, malaria in pregnancy kills 10,000 women, 75,000-200,000 infants and 100,000 newborns – making up 11% of all neonatal deaths.


Uganda policy makes protecting pregnant mothers from malaria a national priority

By Allen Namagembe, Research Coordinator, PATH Uganda Office As we gear up to celebrate World Malaria Day this Saturday, April 25th, we’ll be featuring posts that highlight work currently happening to protect women and their babies from malaria in pregnancy. Rachel Jocb, 28, who is pregnant with her second child, attends an antenatal clinic at the Kuje Primary Health Care Center. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/PATH For any expecting mother there are many things to worry about – from ensuring her growing baby’s health to making preparations to welcome him or her into the world. Imagine if one of those concerns was malaria.


Call for stories on failure in maternal and newborn health

By Merck for Mothers Do you have the courage to talk about failure? How about what didn’t work? Tell us about it! Global health researchers, implementers and donors are quick to report on program successes in conferences and publications but it is difficult to find documentation of failures – programs or components of programs that did not meet their objectives or had unintended negative consequences. As a result, we miss opportunities to improve our efficiency by learning from valuable experience, and often reinvent ineffective approaches


Check out these events and funding opportunities in maternal health!

Interested in learning more about maternal health policy? Looking for scholarships to participate in the Women Deliver conference? Are you a young researcher interested in preeclampsia or HELPP syndrome? If so, check out the following opportunities! Making the Case for Mothers: Improving Lives Through Policy On May 7th, the Health Policy Project will host a panel of experts from USAID, the Population Reference Bureau, the Futures Group, The World Bank and the White Ribbon Alliance at the Futures Group in Washington, DC to discuss how to build social and political support for maternal health policy interventions that are grounded in human rights


In Nepal, community health volunteers increase access to reproductive health supplies

By Sarita Panday, University of Sheffield Nepal has experienced a substantial reduction in maternal mortality in recent years. Credit has been given to community health workers known as Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) for this achievement. However, Nepal still has a high rate of maternal mortality at 170 deaths per 100,000 live births and unsafe abortion is one of the main causes of these deaths. This blog is aimed to promote the function of FCHVs in pregnancy testing and making referrals in villages of Nepal. FCHVs are the first source of contact for maternal and child health services in the rural communities of Nepal


10 new opportunities in maternal health

Ten more new jobs to explore as you navigate your way through a career committed to maternal health. Leadership: Chief of Party, RMNCH: Pathfinder (Nigeria) Deputy Chief of Party, RMNCH: Pathfinder (Nigeria) Monitoring and Evaluation: Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, RMNCH: Pathfinder (Nigeria) Asia Portfolio Manager-Knowledge Management, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research: EngenderHealth (India or Bangladesh) Monitoring & Evaluation Officer: EngenderHealth (India) Sr. Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor: Jhpiego (International Positions) Programs/Projects: Program Officer, FPRH: EngenderHealth (Mwanza,Tanzania) Senior Program Officer, Maternal and Child Survival Program: Jhpiego (Baltimore,MD,USA) Technical Advisors: Senior Technical Advisor , Maternal-Child Nutrition: CARE International (Atlanta,GA,USA) Technical Advisor, Global Learning Office: Jhpiego (Baltimore,MD,USA)  


Misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage: translating promise into reality

By Melissa Wanda, Advocacy Officer, Family Care International – Kenya In Kenya, where I work as an advocate for women’s health and rights, women continue to die during pregnancy and childbirth at alarming rates. Approximately 25% of these deaths are due to heavy bleeding following childbirth, also known as postpartum hemorrhage or PPH. More than half of women deliver at home; that proportion can be even higher in some counties with limited infrastructure and predominantly rural populations. Even in cases where a woman arrives to a health facility in time, she can still face significant barriers to receive the care she needs: supplies needed for childbirth—such as a blood pressure cuff or clean gloves—may not be available; essential medicines—such as oxytocin or misoprostol, which can prevent or treat postpartum bleeding—may be in short supply; and a skilled health provider may not be present to provide the care a woman needs to have a safe delivery.


Managing postpartum hemorrhage at home deliveries in Chitral, Pakistan

By Meagan Byrne, Program Assistant, Gynuity Health Projects In Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, Pakistan, a high rate of home births translates to inadequate or nonexistent treatment for life-threatening obstetric complications, like postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). According to the 2012-13 Pakistan DHS report, nearly two-thirds of women deliver at home in rural areas of KP province. Customarily, home births are managed by a traditional birth attendant (TBA) and if a complication like PPH arises, the only care available is to transfer the woman to a higher level facility or have a skilled provider called to the woman’s home to administer oxytocin as treatment. In Chitral, many villages are located far from health centers and access to care is especially difficult due to poor infrastructure and limited transport. Faced with these barriers, women who develop PPH are rarely transferred to a facility, so having treatment options available at home is critical


Spreading the message of the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF On April 11th, the world gathered to celebrate the second annual International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. Voices of maternal health groups from around the world called for recognition and action on human rights abuses that women suffer during pregnancy, labor and the time after birth. These voices were organized by the MHTF and CHANGE into a blog carnival during the week leading up to April 11th.  From health disparities in the U.S. to fighting stigma against HIV-positive women in India, 24 different blogs were shared that chronicled women’s experiences and the work we have left to do as the maternal health community


Addressing disparities in the U.S. for maternal health and rights

By Natalie Ramm, Social Media Manager, MHTF As we approach the International Day of Maternal Health and Rights, we are reminded of the Manifesto for Maternal Health, item 6 of which states: A much greater emphasis must be put on reaching the unseen women who are socially excluded because of culture, geography, education, disabilities, and other driving forces of invisibility. If we are serious about redressing gender and access inequities, we have to ask fundamental and difficult questions about the nature of our societies and the value, or sometimes lack of value, we ascribe to individuals, especially women, in those societies. These disparities are especially apparent in the United States. While much global attention has focused on the 99% of maternal deaths that occur in low- and middle-income countries, the U.S. is one of the few countries where the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has actually risen over the past decade


Let’s reward the use of maternal health supplies

By Milka Dinev, LAC Forum Regional Advisor, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition  During a donor visit to Peru in the year 2000, a maternal health supporter and friend saw that rural women in Peru were suffering and dying because they lacked access to safe maternal health services during the critical hours of childbirth. This young donor had recently had her children, so she decided to reward the unsung heroes who made extraordinary efforts to save the lives of women during childbirth. It would be the “Oscar” of maternal health and survival. The Sarah Faith Award was created to promote and reward the extraordinary efforts made by health providers and communities to save the lives of mothers and their children. For ten years, this award provided funding and technical assistance to the health teams and communities that had demonstrated teamwork and solidarity.


Seeing the Big Picture Just Became Easier with Ultrasound

MDG Women Deliver maternal health

Providing high quality antenatal care for expectant Mothers is a fundamental part of ensuring a safe delivery, and a healthy mom postpartum. In order to do that, some innovative products have been introduced for low resource settings. There’s no denying the importance of ultrasound technology during pregnancy. However, until fairly recently, it has been out of reach for many caregivers due to high cost, or complex application. We’re very pleased to announce that has all changed


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