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.


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.


Life Expectancy for Both Sexes: 

1990: 58

2011: 65


  • 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

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