NPR featured a story over the weekend on reducing infant mortality. Host Rachel Martin speaks with DC nurse Mindy Greenside and Michael Fraser, CEO for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. The two stress the importance of prenatal care in preventing child deaths.
Martin also spoke with Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles following the release of the organizations global report on mothers.
CAROLYN MILES: Shockingly, about 11,000 moms lose their babies on the first day of life.
MARTIN: Carolyn Miles is the group’s president and CEO. And she says the group found that the U.S. really struggles with keeping newborns healthy immediately after birth.
MILES: Particularly in this first day, the U.S. is actually worse than all the other industrialized countries put together.
Procter & Gamble’s flagship social initiative has helped save the lives of 30,000 children globally. Katharine Earley explores how the firm is using the program to engage consumers and meet its goals. This originally appears on 2 Degrees Network here.
As the global water crisis intensifies, some 780 million people lack access to safe water, while nearly 2,000 children under the age of five die from water and sanitation-related diarrheal diseases every day.
That is more than from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.
Increasingly, major companies are tackling fundamental health and development issues, including safe drinking water, as they move beyond cutting their own impacts to make a positive contribution to society.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is one such company. As a global manufacturer of everyday products, the $84bn consumer goods giant sees its responsibility very clearly as helping people to take small steps to improve their everyday lives.
Committing time, funds and resource to addressing sustainable development issues also represents an investment in future markets.
This Gates Foundation video shows how mobile technology deployed by the Grameen Foundation in Ghana is improving maternal and child health. The MOTECH mobile midwife program lets pregnant women register to receive voice message reminders during their pregnancy.
MOTECH Ghana is a mHealth service for pregnant women and their families in rural Ghana built on the MOTECH Platform. It delivers weekly automated voice or SMS messages to the women which contain time-specific information encouraging them to make health-seeking choices such as receiving recommended vaccinations or maintaining proper nutrition. Via the MOTECH Ghana mobile application, Community Health Nurses in Ghana use their mobiles to record the care given to patients and the caregivers receive alerts of patients who are due or overdue for care so they can follow up with them. A detailed overview is available in our Early Lessons Learned in Ghana report.
Discussions continue as to what will follow the Millennium Development Goals when they end in 2015. Unilever CEO Paul Polman says sustainability has to be high on the agenda. At the core, the goals should aim to tackle the basic problems of poverty such as health, lack of work and hunger. However, Polman adds a few more ideas to the mix in a column for the Guardian.
Here are his four main points:
Empower people economically
First, it should recognise the best way of bringing people out of poverty is through economic development. So the new agenda must place a strong incentive on governments to create the right conditions for business to flourish. It must engage the private sector not just in setting but in delivering the agenda. Increased pressure on public sector finances makes it unwise to rely too much on overseas development assistance funding to tackle all the issues that matter within the time available.
World leaders, including her Excellency Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State in the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates, explain why vaccines are such a great investment, for the Gates Foundation YouTube channel. Give it a look!
You might see a lot about vaccines here, but you may not know that many have to be kept cold in order to remain effective and safe. That poses a challenge when they are transported across unpaved roads and stored in countries with poor energy resources. Keeping vaccines cold is so important that it is driving some neat ideas and innovations. This video shows how UNICEF is taking on the challenge in Haiti.
This is a Lancet article published in response to the Affordable Medicines Facility – Malaria (AMFm) evaluation paper (on which PSI supported ACTwatch was second author). Not only does the article acknowledge the contribution of ACTwatch evidence to the AMFm evaluation, it asks why ACTwatch evidence from non AMFm countries was not used as a “control” and it includes a link to the ACTwatch website.
Sarah Tougher and colleagues (Dec 1, p 1916) provide an analysis of the effects of the pilot phase of the Affordable Medicines Facility—malaria (AMFm) in seven countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The paper reports increases in the availability and market share of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) and price reductions in most countries, and concludes that the AMFm can be effective in rapidly improving these outcomes.
The toughest places in the world to be a mother also happen to be the toughest places to be a newborn child. The annual State of the World’s Mothers Index from Save the Children finds that Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali and the DR Congo share the dubious honor of sitting at the bottom of the index while also shouldering high rates of newborn deaths.
Though the report is not all doom and gloom. Maternal and child deaths are preventable and the solutions are known. They range from free interventions like exclusive breastfeeding to cheap nutrition supplements for mothers. It also recommends the use of chlorhexidine solution to prevent infection at the umbilical cords of infants. PSI uses 4% chlorhexidine as an intervention to prevent neonatal sepsis.
With a lot of talks about the level of cuts to the US foreign aid budget due to sequestration and as a part of the fiscal year 2014 budget negotiations it is useful to take a closer look at the numbers. Devex did just that and teased out the country-level budget changes found in the White House budget request.
The development giants Brazil, China and India will see aid flows decrease while Sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asian countries are set to get more. Devex researchers determined that “58 of 100 U.S. bilateral aid programs would see their budgets slashed, compared with fiscal 2012 levels.”
Here is a bit about the winners according to the analysis.
For fiscal 2014, the Obama administration has requested $75 million in bilateral assistance to Myanmar, representing an increase of 62 percent over 2012 levels. In recognition of the country’s political reform process, in July 2012, USAID reopened its mission in Myanmar after a 23-year hiatus. Later that year, during his historic visit to the once-pariah state, Obama announced that over the next two years, the United States would provide $170 million in humanitarian, democracy and governance, and economic development assistance to Myanmar.
Who came out on top? Canada’s University of British Columbia was at the top with a grade of A-. It was followed by Case Western Reserve, Johns Hopkins University, University of California – Irvine, Harvard and Emory.
Beside the grades for the individual universities, the students found that the overall research into neglected tropical diseases fell short.
The report card points out that more than a billion people suffer from ‘neglected diseases’ – “illnesses rarely researched by the private sector because most of those affected are too poor to provide a market for new drugs”. Each year 10 million people die because they cannot get medicines that exist, often because the treatments are too expensive.
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