Maternal & Reproductive Health

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Tanzania’s scarce midwives feel ‘helpless and heartbroken’

Dr Syriacus Buguzi | A dire shortage of skilled nurses and lack of life-saving equipment are putting maternal mortality goal out of reach. “When Juster Joseph graduated Read More

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“Abuse runs deep” in maternal health and HIV programs, says advocates

Right after she gave birth to her second child in a hospital in the Virginia suburbs, Martha Cameron’s doctor said to her, “Are you sure you don’t want your tubes tied?” As a woman living with HIV/AIDS, Cameron is no stranger to medical personnel treating her differently and poorly, whether that be in the U.S. […](Read more…)

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The truth about unsafe abortion

Faustina Fynn-Nyame | Lancet Global Health Blog |  “There are just 500 days left to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Established to drive global Read More

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Tanzania’s scarce midwives feel ‘helpless and heartbroken’

africa

Dr Syriacus Buguzi | A dire shortage of skilled nurses and lack of life-saving equipment are putting maternal mortality goal out of reach. “When Juster Joseph graduated Read More


Disrespect and Abuse During Maternity Care Keep Women from Seeking Facility Births

By Koki Agarwal, Director, MCHIP and forward by Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF  This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series, which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting. Forward: In the following post, Dr. Agarwal speaks of an unfortunately common problem between health workers and mothers: disrespect and abuse. This problem and its solution—respectful maternity care—play a role not only in health outcomes for the mother, but for the baby as well. At the Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health technical meeting, Rima Jolviet and Jeff Smith reviewed research that showed emotional support during labor significantly decreases: The need for pain medication during labor The rate of prolonged labor, labor complications, episiotomies, caesarean sections, low apgar scores, lack of exclusive breastfeeding, and severe postpartum depression The risk of newborn sepsis In addition, global experts identified key areas to address when implementing integration to improve health outcomes for both the mother and newborn.


Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: A Technical Meeting and Blog Series

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF On September 9th and 10th, the Maternal Health Task Force and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program convened experts in Boston to discuss maternal and newborn health integration. The meeting, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality,” hosted about 50 global leaders—researchers, program implementers and funders—in maternal and newborn health to accomplish the following three objectives: Review the knowledge base on integration of maternal and newborn health care and the promising approaches, models and tools that exist for moving this agenda forward Identify the barriers to and opportunities for integrating maternal and newborn care across the continuum Develop a list of actions the global maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectiveness Biologically, maternal and newborn health are inseparable; yet, programmatic, research, and funding efforts often address the health of mothers and newborns separately. This persistent divide between maternal and newborn health training, programs, service delivery, monitoring, and quality improvement systems limits effectiveness and efficiency to improve outcomes. In order to improve both maternal and newborn health outcomes, ensuring the woman’s health before and during pregnancy is critical.


Antenatal Care as a Gateway to Health Care for Women

By Thyra de Jongh, Founder and Director, Gephyra International Health Consultancy Are we doing enough? As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, it is time for the global health community to take stock of what we have accomplished thus far. In the area of maternal and child health some great strides have been made. Maternal, neonatal and child mortality rates have all fallen, although in many areas of the world far more needs to be done still to achieve the ambitious targets that were set. When it comes to the care women receive during their pregnancy and childbirth, we also see encouraging improvements.


Day 2 Wrap Up of the #MNHIntegration Technical Meeting

[View the story "Day 2 of the #MNHIntegration technical meeting" on Storify]


Day 1 Wrap Up of the #MNHIntegration Technical Meeting

[View the story "Day 1 of the #MNHIntegration technical meeting " on Storify]


Part 2: The Continuum of Care: Call the Midwife

By Petra ten Hoope-Bender; Director of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; and Sheetal Sharm; Research and Knowledge Management Associate; ICS Integrare This post is part of our “Continuum of Care” blog series hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force In our first blog, Esther is faced with two issues: a) accessing information (long queues at the clinic) and b) accessing commodities (pregnancy test). Now, she is 31 weeks pregnant and though she’s been to the clinic twice, she still doesn’t know exactly what to do when the big day comes. And what if something strange happens before then? Should she call the midwife? Someone else?


First International Standards to Assess Fetal Growth and the Size of Newborns at Birth

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF For the first time, the world has international standards for both fetal growth and newborn size. These standards have been developed by a global team led by scientists from Oxford University. The international standards—one for the growing fetus and the other for newborns—are published today in two papers in The Lancet. They were developed as part of the landmark INTERGROWTH-21st Project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which took over 300 clinicians and researchers from 27 institutions across the world six years to complete. To produce the standards, almost 60,000 pregnant women were recruited in eight well-defined urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA


Part 1: What Women Want and Need vs. What They Get

By Petra ten Hoope-Bender; Director of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; and Sheetal Sharm; Research and Knowledge Management Associate; ICS Integrare This post is part of our “Continuum of Care” blog series hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force Esther has walked for 10 kilometers in the dusty red soil to her district health post in Mafinga, Iringa, Tanzania. She thinks she is pregnant; her belly is growing and her dada mkubwa (big sister) has said, “inaweza kuwa hivyo,” (it might be so) and she should go see a daktari (doctor). She enters the clinic and there is a long queue. Over 30 women are waiting, some with their babies, growing impatient; they have to go back home to their chores or to the shambaa (field). She is told that the nurse-midwife only works until lunchtime because she has to go to the next village to give vaccines. The nurse-midwife tells Esther that she needs to do a test but can’t because they are out of stock.


“Abuse runs deep” in maternal health and HIV programs, says advocates

World map

Right after she gave birth to her second child in a hospital in the Virginia suburbs, Martha Cameron’s doctor said to her, “Are you sure you don’t want your tubes tied?” As a woman living with HIV/AIDS, Cameron is no stranger to medical personnel treating her differently and poorly, whether that be in the U.S. […](Read more…)


Addressing Barriers for Midwifery Care in Mexico: Interview with Cris Alonso

Luna Maya is a midwife-run birth center in Chiapas, Mexico. This the second part of a two-part edited conversation with its director, Cris Alonso. To read the first part of this interview click here. Q. What have been some of the primary barriers to realizing your vision for Luna Maya? I would identify two major barriers: Lack of regulation of midwifery and birth centers: Mexico does not have an open system of midwifery regulation.


Implementation of a New WHO Antenatal Care Model in Thailand

By Pisake Lumbiganon, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University This post is part of our “Continuum of Care” blog series hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force Background Theoretically antenatal care (ANC) should promote good pregnancy outcomes and reduce maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. In 1972 Archie Cochrane, the father of evidence-based medicine, highlighted the need to study ANC through randomized control trials when he said, “By some curious chance, antenatal care has escaped the critical assessment to which most screening procedures have been subjected.” From 1996 to 1999 the World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a multicentre cluster randomized trial in 53 clinics in Argentina, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Thailand involving over 24,000 pregnant women. The main objectives of the study were to evaluate the effectiveness, cost and satisfaction of a new WHO model for ANC. The results of this study were published in tandem with a WHO systematic review of routine antenatal care. The WHO concluded that the new WHO model for ANC—or Focused ANC (FANC), a model with a reduced number of visits—posed little to no risk to mother and baby and cost less


Increasing Midwifery Care in Mexico: Interview with Cris Alonso

Luna Maya is a midwife-run birth center in Chiapas, Mexico. It was created in 2004 through a MacArthur Foundation (MAF) statewide initiative to reduce maternal mortality in Chiapas. Despite many years of interventions and investment, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Chiapas had remained stagnant over the previous 10 years. We talked to Cris Alonso, the director of Luna Maya, to ask her some questions about the center and what it has done for the women of Southern Mexico.


Building Management Capacities in Maternal Health Clinical Leaders

By Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers  Do management capacities in clinicians really matter for maternal health? This is a key question that MSD for Mothers, along with some of its partners, is trying to tackle. MSD for Mothers is a 10-year global initiative launched in 2011 by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)—better known as “Merck” in the United States and Canada—to help create a world where no woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Since we are in the early stages of our intervention development and determining our investment path, we need you to share your thoughts and insight on this important topic and the evidence it requires. Please take five minutes to help us better understand the types of evidence we need by completing this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/85PQLNR Maternal mortality needs our attention as Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5—the target to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015—is the most off-track MDG and is even further behind where health systems are poor


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