Category Archives: Non-Communicable Disease

Focusing on Cervical Cancer on World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day, a day to talk about and discuss cancer and the myths surrounding the global disease. On World Cancer Day we are focusing our efforts on cervical cancer and its effects on women in poor countries.

Last year I met a cervical cancer nurse, Susan Banda, at the N’Gombe Health Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia who said she is treating more and more women every day with cervical cancer. Africa has the highest rates of cervical cancer deaths at 270,000 each year. By 2030 it is estimated that 500,000 women will die from cervical cancer and 98% of those deaths will be in low and middle-income countries. Humanitarian organizations and governments are working to end the amount of cervical cancer deaths and diagnoses. USAID is working toward and funding a single-visit approach to cervical cancer (pdf). Jhpiego is studying the rate of cervical cancer in African women and has implemented programs in Africa since 1995 to fight the disease.

You might have also heard about the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative that was created by the George W. Bush Institute. Partnering with PEPFAR and Susan B. Komen among other implementing and founding partners, the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon campaign will increase the number of HPV vaccines for girls and will help fund cervical cancer treatments.

This World Cancer Day think about the amount of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day. You can help by donating to our partner Jhpiego. For $25 you can provide a cervical cancer screening unit with vinegar, lights, and swabs.

DONATE: www.jhpiego.org/donate

WATCH: See Susan Banda’s cervical screening room, her tools, and her thoughts on working with women who have cervical cancer.

The Narrowing Health Gap Between Rich and Poor Countries

The World Health Organization released its annual World Health Statistics report. In the report the WHO looked at all of its global regions to see how countries fared in various global data stats  including maternal and child mortality, life expectancy, and health coverage as examples.

“Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But with less than 1000 days to go to reach the MDG deadline, it is timely to ask if these efforts have made a difference in reducing the unacceptable inequities between the richest and poorest countries.”

Since I am in India with Nicole Melancon to visit some of Mom Bloggers for Social Good’s key partners I have decided to look at India’s health statistics from the report. Overall, however, globally the shift between rich and poor countries is narrowing, but not quickly enough.

India

Life Expectancy for Both Sexes: 

1990: 58

2011: 65

Mortality 

  • Stillbirth Rate in 2009: 22 per 1000 livebirths
  • Neonatal Mortality Rate: 47 per 1000 live births in 1990; 32 per 1000 live births in 2011
  • Under Five Mortality Rate: 114 per 1000 live births in 1990; 88 per 1000 live births in 2000;  61 per 1000 live births in 2011
  • Specific Causes of Mortality: In India pneumonia and prematurity claims the greatest lives for children under the age of five

Infectious Diseases: By far the greatest infectious disease in India is tuberculosis with 1,323,949 cases in 2011.

Health Coverage: India has a 21% unmet need for family planning and 55% contraceptive coverage. India has 75% antenatal care coverage with one visit. That percentage drops sharply to 50% with four visits. Only 58% of women in India give birth with a skilled birth attendant.

You can read more health statistics for each country at http://apps.who.int.

Photo: United Nations

10 Global Development Stories to be Thankful For

Typically when we think of global development we focus on everything that is wrong because the challenges are so great. Rarely are the successes celebrated because with every move towards a goal there is still so much to do.

Today we are featuring those stories that have been more about success than failure; more about moving forward than moving backward even if the net result only makes a small dent in the overall scheme of things.

    1. Female Genital Mutilation Banned Under New Somalian Constitution
    2. Path’s Sure Start Program Ensures the Reduction of Maternal Mortality
    3. Living, Thriving with HIV/AIDS: A Mother’s Story
    4. A Return to Normalcy: Mogadishu’s Lido Beach Lively Again
    5. Somalia’s Concerted Move Toward Gender Equality
    6. Men March Against Child Marriage in Liberia
    7. A Promising Trend for Data,Transparency
    8. New Fishing, Agricultural Development Project in Haiti
    9. Quick Impact Project Provides Education for Darfur Children
    10. Powering the Country With Wind Energy

What global development stories are you thankful for?

Photo: Jennifer James, Kenya

Why African Women Are Dying of Cervical Cancer

With so many communicable diseases plaguing the African continent we often forget about the non-communicable diseases that ravish its people as well. Did you know that cervical cancer is the number one cancer killer of women in Africa? Taking the lives of roughly 270,000 African women each year, Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, has been studying the rate of cervical cancer in women with HIV/AIDS. They found that women who are HIV positive are two to three times more likely to test positive for cervical cancer than women who are HIV negative. In fact, every two minutes an African woman dies of cervical cancer.

Women who are diagnosed and treated early have a greater chance of survival. However cervical cancer testing and prevention services are scarce. The good news is cervical cancer is preventable. Learn more about Jhpiego’s single visit screen-and-treat approach and help them save women from succumbing to cervical cancer at jhpiego.org.

Be a Hero and Send a Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, you can be a hero. Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago has put together an amazing campaign for kids that are at the hospital on Valentine’s Day. The campaign is inspired by a little girl who had leukemia.

Four years ago, a little girl names Taylor changed Valentine’s Day forever. Weak from Leukemia, she asked her grandmother a heart breaking question:

“Is there anything worse than leukemia?”

Her grandmother reached over and squeezed Taylor’s hand. “How about not feeling loved?”

Taylor wanted to do something special for all the kids who’d be spending Valentine’s Day at Children’s—to give them something to show them that they are loved. Tragically, Taylor lost her battle but her legacy lives on.

Help continue what Taylor started. Send your Valentine today, along with a donation to help kids fighting for their lives. Click here to send a Valentine’s Day card to a child and bring a smile to their face.

Send a Valentine’s Card.

Watch them smile on this video. It is incredible what a small gesture can do. Children belong on the playground and it is heartbreaking to see them fight for their lives at a hospital.

Children’s Memorial Hospital is a wonderful organization that puts kids first. They believe that Heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Heroes see a need and take action. Heroes put others first. Heroes want to make change for the better.

At Children’s Memorial Hospital, heroes come in all shapes and sizes!

Be a hero and send a Valentine’s Card.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

70+ Bloggers Rally for American Heart Month

If you see a lot of red this month it’s not only because it’s the annual love month, but also because it is American Heart Month. Fact: heart disease is the number one killer of women*.

Over seventy bloggers have come together for The Heart Project, a collaborative effort to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Society. Spearheaded by Jaime, creator of Hands On As We Grow, the bloggers have amassed their talents to create craft projects with a heart theme. All photos and craft ideas will then be included in an e-book that Jaime is selling for $5. All proceeds (not just profit) will be donated to the American Heart Society.

Additionally all of the bloggers are hosting giveaways every day (some multiple per day) of the craft projects to gain more awareness of the ebook and the American Heart Association. Melissa & Doug, CraftProjectIdeas.com and Fudoo Boards are all donating products or matching $1 per ebook sold up to $500.

To learn more, visit The Heart Project.

*Source: American Heart Association

New Partner Announcement – Shot at Life

Did you know 1.7 million children in developing nations will die this year because they don’t have access to life-saving vaccines? How can this be changed, you ask? Lives can be saved by simply administering vaccines to children who are most vulnerable to life-threatening diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, and polio. It’s that easy.

I am happy to announce that we have partnered with Shot at Life, a United Nations Foundation campaign that educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Read an interview with Peg Willingham, Shot at Life’s Executive Director.

A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. To learn more, go to ShotatLife.org.

Like Shot at Life on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Interviewing Peg Willingham, Shot at Life’s Executive Director

Children in Kisumu, Kenya

In many developing nations children are born with a distinct disadvantage: the risk of dying from pneumonia or diarrhea, the two leading causes of death for children in the third world. If these children are fortunate enough to escape the grip of those two infectious diseases they may come down with malaria or measles, or be crippled by polio.

Young lives teeter between life and death every day in the poorest countries in the world. In fact, 1.7 million children will die this year because they have succumbed to one of the aforementioned diseases. With life-saving vaccines, however, the outcome for hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing nations can be changed. They will live.

The United Nation Foundation’s new program, Shot at Life*, works to combat the problem of children dying senselessly from diseases that can be thwarted through simple vaccines. With a generous donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners such as UNICEF and GAVI Alliance, Shot at Life encourages Americans to champion vaccines as an effective, verified, and cost-effective way to save the lives of children in developing countries.

Peg Willingham, Executive Director, Shot at Life

Recently a team from Shot at Life including its Executive Director, Peg Willingham, as well as a team of congressional staffers traveled to Honduras to see the rate of childhood vaccinations and the outcomes from vaccinating 99 percent of its children.

“We selected Honduras because we wanted to show a success story to congressional staffers and the media,” said Willingham. “We wanted to show them here are the people you are helping.”

“Honduras was one of the earliest countries to receive the new vaccines for pneumonia and diarrhea,” said Willingham. Since then GAVI Alliance, the Pan American Health Organization, the Honduras government including health workers, teachers, and the police as well as community volunteers have worked in tandem to ensure the successful inoculation rate of its children. This levels the playing field for children who could die from preventable disease and drastically reduces child mortality.

Willingham also cited Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, because of its willingness and desire to vaccinate its children to help severely reduce measles cases. Even though Mozambique only has one major highway that traverses its country and has recently emerged from a devastating civil war, the Mozambique government had the political will to vaccinate its children. “Over the course of five days 3.6 million children in Mozambique were vaccinated,” recalled Willingham who was in the southeastern African country during their massive vaccination campaign. Such a large undertaking took nine months to plan and its success relied on a top-down model of everyone working together from the government and its partners to the media to health workers, church groups and local volunteers. Due to the widespread and succinct nationwide messaging some mothers walked 15 miles in order to ensure their children were vaccinated.

Shot at Life is currently building a national network of supporters who believe every child deserves the right to life by receiving life-saving vaccines. Since its soft launch in September 2011 over 74,000 people have already joined in support. Shot at Life is now working to engage even more people through social media and mothers’ and parents’ groups around the country to spread the word about their global efforts to keep children alive.

On April 26 during National Immunization Week, Shot at Life will officially launch in Atlanta at the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium. In preparation for their launch Shot at Life has brought in a team of digital moms to their Washington, DC offices today for a summit to gear up for a nationwide roll-out of volunteers to spread the word about vaccine awareness.

To learn more about how you can help visit Shot at Life at www.shotatlife.org.

* Shot at Life is an official partner of Mom Bloggers for Social Good

New Partner Announcement – National Breast Cancer Foundation

A dear friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy during the holidays. She jokingly wrote in an email to her friends that she never imaged her holidays would be swathed in pink. I saw my friend yesterday and she looks great and recovering beautifully. She is one of the lucky ones.

Breast cancer takes the lives of 40,000 women every year. That is why I am so thrilled to announce Mom Bloggers for Social Good’s newest partner: the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need. NBCF accomplishes this mission through various initiatives. NBCF programs provide women help for today and hope for tomorrow.

Be sure to connect with National Breast Cancer Foundation at the following links!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nationalbreastcancer
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nbcf
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/nbcf91

Rally for Rare Disease

February 29 marks World RARE Disease Day.

1 in 10 Americans are affected by RARE disease and more than 350 million people are affected worldwide. 75% of RARE diseases affect children and 30% of children with a RARE disease will die before their 5th birthday.

The Global Genes Project is a grassroots effort to bring more awareness to the rare disease community as more awareness will lead to more support and funding which will aid in developing treatments and cures. Currently only 5% of rare diseases have any sort of treatment; there are no cures.

What you can do:

  1. Join the “1 Million for RARE” movement and like the Global Genes Project Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/globalgenesproject
  2. Tweet @GlobalGenes. Use #1Mil4RARE
  3. Forward to a friend!