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…

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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


10 reasons why we are tackling Zika with protective apparel

If you have seen anything from Maternova in the last few weeks, you have probably seen that we launched a line of fashionable, low-cost clothing embedded with nanotechnology to protect against mosquitoes. This was the result of months of brainstorming, researching, and testing different Zika solutions. It is clear why we would choose to get involved with the Zika response – Zika is a huge threat to pregnant women and their unborn babies, as it has been linked with severe birth defects. However, a clothing line is not the most obvious solution. If you are wondering why Maternova is tackling Zika with protective apparel, this is the article for you


Confirmed Reports Of Local Zika Transmission In Florida Prompt U.S. Senate Democrats To Call…

Devex: Cecile Richards on the Zika funding blockade “Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has fought her fair share of battles to protect the health services organization’s work around the world. Now she’s fighting for the opportunity to tackle a global threat: Zika. Richards stopped by the Devex studio after meetings on Capitol Hill where she…More


Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems…

Maternal and congenital syphilis decreased worldwide from 2008 to 2012, which suggests progress towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. Nonetheless, maternal syphilis caused substantial adverse pregnancy outcomes, even in women receiving antenatal care. Improved access to quality antenatal care, including syphilis testing and treatment, and robust data are all important for achieving the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis.


Actual and Predicted Prevalence of Alcohol Consumption during Pregnancy in the WHO African…

Objective To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption and binge drinking during pregnancy among the general population in the WHO African Region, by country.


Child rape: U.N. pot calls the kettle black in Ivory Coast

The headline from a new U.N. report says that the rate of rape remains high and that the perpetrators are eluding justice. Ironically, it is not about U.N. peacekeepers and foreign forces, but about the west African country Ivory Coast. According to the United Nations Operation inCôte d’Ivoire report, in the five years since the country returned


Celebrating the decline in syphilis in pregnancy: a sobering reminder of what’s left…

In 2015, Cuba became the first country to be validated by WHO for having achieved the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.1 In June, 2016, Thailand, Armenia, Belarus, and Moldova were also validated.2 This is amazing news, which demonstrates that, given the political will, a policy for effective prenatal screening and treatment, and a commitment to implement that policy at every level of the health-care system, countries with limited resources can now have an HIV and syphilis free generation.


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