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.
By Dr.Ya Diul Mukadi, Senior Tuberculosis Media Advisor, USAID
In 1882, Dr. Robert Koch discovered Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. In 1952, the first combination of antibiotics was used to treat. Today, thoughout the world, most people with TB are diagnosed with the same simple microscopy method that Koch used to identify the bacteria. Additionally, almost all are treated with the same basic antibiotics that have been used since mid-20th century. During the same time period, the HIV epidemic and spread of drug resistant TB have complicated diagnosis of TB. People with HIV who become sick with TB are less likely to be diagnosed correctly using simple microscopy, and this technique does not tell us whether or not the bacteria is resistant to anti-TB drugs. Moreover, with the alarming increase in drug resistant cases in recent years, we see the limits of available treatment. The drugs used to treat multi-drug resistant TB are not very effective and extremely toxic, and patients must take them for up to two years to achieve cure.
By Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
There are few more inspiring thoughts that the one set out in the vision of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel, namely that extreme poverty can be eradicated in our time. It is a vision and a belief which compels us all to take action.
There are many technical and academic definitions of poverty. But I take the view that if you are hungry, don’t have access to clean drinking water, live in conditions where hygiene and sanitation are nonexistent, are unable to access health care, where your children can’t go to school, where you have no prospect of getting a job and where there is no energy to cook your food or warm your home then you are poor.
For these reasons I believe that the post 2015 Agenda should be built upon the big social targets of hunger, water, health, education and so on which were set out in the original Millennium Development Goals. We should of course do everything in our power to ensure that as many of those goals can be met by the original deadline of 2015 – we still have some 1000 days to make a difference – but in the event that we don’t quite make it then a new framework should in my view commit the nations of the world to deliver in full the goals that were agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2000.
In four important respects however the post 2015 agenda needs to be different from its predecessor.
During the month of May, IMPACT will be highlighting USAID’s work in Global Health. From May 1-10, we will be featuring the role that Science, Technology & Innovation plays in Global Health.
By Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health
Improving women’s and children’s health is critical to the development of successful economies and stable communities. It not only saves lives, but it helps communities move themselves out of poverty. Yet every year, 6.9 million children die of preventable causes and more than 287,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
In his State of the Union Address earlier this year, President Obama set forth a vision to, within the next two decades, achieve some of the greatest contributions to human progress in history– eliminate extreme poverty, ensure an AIDS-free generation, and end preventable child and maternal deaths.
To many, these goals seem impossible. They seem like nothing more than a catchy statement, in a political speech. But in reality, these goals are achievable, and we’ve already begun to see tremendous progress. For example, we’ve supported the scale up of a simplified newborn resuscitation program, “Helping Babies Breathe” through a public-private partnership. The partnership has trained and equipped 100,000 health providers in 50 countries in the last two years. This past year, USAID reached more than 84 million women with family planning information and services. By enabling women to delay and space pregnancy, this helped to prevent 15,000 maternal deaths and save the lives of more than 230,000 infants. These are just a couple examples of the recent advancements we’ve made.
A new strategy to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Somalia relies upon the development of skilled birth attendants and midwives. The WHO featured the effort in Somalia in a recent article. It describes the nation-wide effort and highlights what PSI has done in Somalia with regards to training midwives. Check it out:
Training has been a key element of the plan. In 2012 WHO has trained 200 birth attendants on clean and safe delivery and early referral in South Central Somalia. Another 200 health workers, mostly midwives, were trained in Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care.
The following is the introduction to an interactive story from the Global Fund that tells of a community in South Sudan that is addressing the problem of malaria. The work highlighted is the result of cooperation between the Global Fund, PSI, the government of South Sudan and other partners. Read below to learn more and go here to see immerse yourself into the story.
On returning to their homeland after surviving two decades of war, the people of Morobo County in the new nation of South Sudan realized that they still had another battle to fight.
Malaria was killing many of their children.
Determined to save their babies, parents walked for dozens of kilometers to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Uganda to seek treatment. Others didn’t have the money to make the trip or pay for treatment, so they turned instead to traditional healers. Time and again, the children would die in their mothers’ arms because the herbs traditional healers administered to their hapless little patients couldn’t cure malaria.
By Suzanne McCarron, President, ExxonMobil Foundation
Malaria is preventable, treatable and curable. Yet it continues to have a devastating impact across Africa. For more than a decade, ExxonMobil has been working to help drive lasting change and build a better future for communities in the region by investing in the fight against malaria.
Through our longstanding work in Africa, we’ve seen first-hand the huge toll malaria takes. Despite progress in recent years, malaria continues to kill more than 660,000 people a year, many of them children living in sub-Saharan Africa. That means an African child dies from malaria every minute.
We also recognize that this disease doesn’t just affect the person who gets sick – it also places enormous burdens on families, communities and nations, helping to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. By tackling malaria, we can help improve health and development outcomes across Africa.
That’s why ExxonMobil has prioritized combatting this disease. We focus on identifying important issues in the prevention and treatment of malaria, and funding solutions to address them. We also leverage our internal expertise to promote results-focused programs at global and country levels. And through our efforts, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with some of the best and most effective malaria organizations in the world to help meet malaria reduction and elimination goals.
Merck has officially launched the Merck for Ugandan Mothers Program (MUM), a partnership with Population Services International (PSI) and its local affiliate, the Program for Accessible Health, Communication and Education (PACE), to improve the private delivery of maternal healthcare in up to 30 districts in Uganda. The program is expected to reach more then 150,000 pregnant women over three years.
Approximately 4,700 Ugandan women die each year due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, making maternal mortality one of the country’s most pressing – and preventable – public health challenges. While Uganda’s maternal mortality rate has declined substantially since 1990, the likelihood that a woman will die while giving life in Uganda is approximately 50 times higher than in the developed world. That is part of the reason why Merck identified Uganda as one of its priority countries for its Merck for Mothers initiative, a long-term, $500 million effort to reduce maternal mortality worldwide. MUM is the first of five country program launches that Merck is expected to announce this year.
By Ariel Pablos-Mendez, PhD, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, USAID
I just returned from India‘s “Call to Action Summit for Child Survival and Development“, which took place in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.
India accounts for the largest number of deaths of children under five: nearly 1.5 million per year. This number is staggering, but there is good news. There has been a steady rate of decline in child mortality — even ahead of the global rate of reduction. As I told DevEx during the Summit, “success in India is paramount to see the global success and vision of ending preventable child deaths in this generation.”
Led by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Summit called for an accelerated response to decrease child mortality across the country. This event was a direct outcome of the Call to Action held in Washington, DC last year — where India joined Ethiopia and the United States with UNICEF to launch a global roadmap to end preventable child deaths globally. About 300 policymakers, public health practitioners, private sector, civil society and media representatives attended India’s Summit, including 27 international and 35 national experts. Notably 20 State delegations were present. U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell, a stalwart advocate for child survival, addressed the opening plenary on behalf of the United States.
This originally appears on the USAID Impact blog and is by Sandra Jordan, Technical Champion for FGM/C.
Today marks the tenth observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), an internationally recognized day to foster awareness of the devastating effects of FGM/C and renew the call for the abandonment of this harmful traditional practice. FGM/C is a practice that ranges from nicking to total removal of the external female genitalia. Some 140 million women around the world have undergone this brutal procedure and three million girls are at risk every year.
This 10thanniversary, I’d like to take a look back over progress achieved in the past decade. Significant efforts have been made at the community, national, and international levels to address the issue of FGM/C. Studies have looked at the physical, emotional and mental impacts of FGM/C. Research has deepened our understanding of the diverse reasons for the continuation of the practice, providing a frame for theories about the origins and social dynamics that lead to its continuation. Reflecting the work of dedicated advocates, today most practicing countries have passed laws banning the practice, and prevalence is beginning to decline in some countries.