October 18, 2013 Communities in southwestern Bangladesh, which have been suffering from repeated flooding and water-logging for years, are calling for long-term solutions: “We live an inhuman life here,” Amina Hasan, a 37-year-old mother of three who lives in a water-logged village in Satkhira District, told IRIN. “We are farmers; we know agriculture, but now […]Read More
Male circumcision (MC) has emerged as a hotly debated topic in Europe and the US. Countries like Germany and states such as California have considered legislation that would outright ban or make it harder to for medical male circumcision.
Opponents say that MC is on par with female circumcision/genital mutilation. The WHO endorses the use of MC as a tool to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in areas with high infection rates.
While the debate rages on, a recent article from Mark Joseph Stern in Slate breaks down some of the anti-male circumcision myths.Read More
October 17, 2013 A new report from the Overseas Development Institute says hundreds of millions of extremely poor people could be at the mercy of natural disasters in the coming years: Climate change and exposure to ‘natural’ disasters threaten to derail international efforts to eradicate poverty by 2030. As temperatures warm, many of the world’s […]Read More
AIDS activists say the tipping point against AIDS will be when more people are on life-saving treatment for the first time than the number of new cases each year. The ONE Campaign calls the point the beginning of the end of AIDS. We are not there yet, but some countries are doing well. Unfortunately those lagging are mostly located in the Global South.
The NGO AVAC decided to analyze how countries are doing in their fight to end AIDS. There is some good news, but countries like Nigeria with its giant population, threaten to circumvent progress. The New York Times highlighted the findings writing:
“There’s all this talk about ending AIDS,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director. “We wanted to find a mechanism that could chart the progress over time, and use it as a management tool, and to make comparisons between countries that are doing the right things and the others.”
October 16, 2013 A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck early yesterday morning in the southern Philippines, near Bohol island. At least 93 were killed, and the death toll is likely to rise: At least 93 people were killed in an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 that struck the southern Philippines on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. The […]Read More
Millions of people around the world will celebrate the lifesaving impact of handwashing, tomorrow. Global Handwashing Day will mobilize youth in schools and adults in community spaces to practice handwashing with soap.
Celebrated annually, this year’s Global Handwashing Day is marked with the theme “The Power is in Your Hands.” The ability to reduce illness caused by poor hygiene lies in the hands of every person around the world. It is even more important for young children. Handwashing alone can cut into the 5,000 children that die every day from pneumonia and diarrhea.
It is for this reason that countless events will take place in over 100 countries on October 15 to celebrate handwashing with soap. For example, the Pan-American Health Organizations (PAHO) in Latin America and the Children’s Global Hygiene Foundation in Australia will both attempt to set Guinness World Records for the most number of people washing their hands at the same time.Read More
October 15, 2013 Officials in India are surveying the damage caused by Cyclone Phailin as residents who fled to shelters begin to return to their homes: Residents along India’s east coast who fled to shelters for safety against India’s strongest cyclone in 14 years began returning to their destroyed homes and businesses Monday. Cyclone Phailin […]Read More
October 14, 2013 Once again defying all expectations, the Nobel Peace Prize this year was awarded to a modest and little-known United Nations-backed organization that has drawn sudden attention with a mission to ensure that Syria’s stocks of chemical arms are eradicated. From the New York Times: The award, to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical […]Read More
#1: CERVICAL CANCER KILLS MORE THAN 270,000 WOMEN EVERY YEAR. YET IT’S PREVENTABLE.
The majority of women in the developing world are unaware of the dangers of cervical cancer. Fewer know that it is preventable if detected early. Most health providers do not offer screening, and where it is available, many women do not know about it. Moreover, preventive treatment services are often disconnected from screening, making them hard to access for women who live far from a health facility.
Bright Idea Pilot #1: Use health clinic franchises, mobile services and public sector partnerships throughout the developing world to offer simple and inexpensive cervical cancer screening, treatment and referrals. Integrate cervical cancer screening and preventive treatment into the existing menu of services offered by providers. With a small investment, we could save countless lives and better integrate women’s health services.
#2: TUBERCULOSIS (TB) IS A CURABLE DISEASE, YET IT IS AMONG THE TOP THREE CAUSES OF DEATH AMONG WOMEN AGED 15-44. EACH YEAR, 3 MILLION WOMEN BECOME INFECTED WITH TB AND 700,000 WOMEN DIE FROM THE DISEASE.
Women are less likely to be diagnosed with TB because they are unaware of the risks associated with TB infection and fear seeking care at TB clinics due to high levels of stigma. TB screening and testing are typically unavailable in facilities where women seek other healthcare such as family planning services, further complicating efforts to reach them with TB care.
Bright Idea Pilot #2: Develop targeted communications for girls and women about the risks of TB. Make it easier for girls and women aged 15-49 years to access TB care by introducing screening and diagnosis in health clinics already providing reproductive health services. Collaborate with National TB Programs to train these same providers to correctly prescribe and dispense high quality TB drugs.
The result? Lives saved, more women educated about the risks of TB, and an integrated approach to women’s health.
#3: SAFE DELIVERY SHOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERY MOTHER AND CHILD. TODAY CHILDBIRTH TAKES THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN EACH YEAR.
The international community has made it a priority to encourage childbirth in health facilities, the best and safest place for mothers to give birth. However, in many developing countries, women are unnecessarily dying as a result of childbirth because of limited access to health facilities. Approximately 1 million newborn babies die each year to largely preventable severe infections, accounting for nearly one third of the total burden of newborn deaths.
Bright Idea Pilot #3: Develop an improved, low-cost Safe Delivery Kit that includes basic supplies like soap, gloves, a razor, a sterile cloth, along with two notable, very important additions: antiseptic (chlorhexidine) to clean the umbilical cord to avoid newborn infections, and misoprostol, a medication taken after childbirth to prevent severe life-threatening bleeding.
Reach women where they already seek health solutions by arming community health workers with low-cost Safe Delivery Kits. Train them on how to use the kits, and why. That way, the kits can be used at home or at a nearby health facility.
#4: EVERY WOMAN AND COUPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DECIDE WHETHER, AND WHEN, TO HAVE CHILDREN. UNINTENDED PREGNANCIES OFTEN HAVE UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES FOR POOR WOMEN, INCLUDING HEALTH COMPLICATIONS AND EVEN DEATH.
More than 200 million women and couples in the developing world want to plan for the families they desire but lack access to modern contraceptives. For women in the developing world, unintended pregnancy dramatically increases the likelihood of health complications or death. The London Summit on Family Planning set a goal of reaching 120 million additional women by 2020 with contraception, but currently funding is inadequate to meet the growing need for free and subsidized contraceptives for the lowest-income women and couples.
Bright Idea Pilot #4: Treat provision of contraception as a business, through the creation of a social enterprise for a range of contraceptives sold in the private sector to target those who have the ability to pay. This shifts those who can pay away from free and subsidized access, freeing precious resources to reach those with the least ability to pay. Use profits from selling higher-priced products to subsidize other family planning products, providing greater options and access and bringing us one step closer to reaching those 120 million women.
#5: LIFE FOR TEENAGE GIRLS DOESN’T NEED TO BE ANY MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT ALREADY IS. BUT MILLIONS OF GIRLS WHO NEED LONG-ACTING CONTRACEPTIVES CAN’T ACCESS THEM, PUTTING THEIR LIVES AND FUTURES AT RISK.
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19 in developing countries. Yet there are very few efforts to reach young women with a full-method mix of contraception. New evidence shows that long-acting reversible contraceptives such as the intrauterine device and implant are safe and effective for young women.
Bright Idea Pilot #5: Through existing networks of health providers, develop cutting-edge communication and education programs that reach young women in urban and rural settings about a wide range of contraceptive options. At the same time, educate policymakers about the health and economic benefits of long-acting contraception and supportive policies for young women.
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