Category Archives: Blog

Preventers of Maternal Deaths in the US Could Receive Millions in Funding

The relatively large number of American women who die due to childbirth is one of the little-known facts in our country. In a nation where we spend exorbitant amounts on healthcare, we have the highest maternal mortality rate of any other developed country. Word, however, is getting out that women are increasingly susceptible of dying during childbirth with a surge in articles in major publications and of hospitals, healthcare workers, and researchers working together to solve this problem.

According to ProPublica, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted this week to request $50 million in new funding for programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality. $38 million would be allotted to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau which is run by the Health Resources & Services Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Continue reading Preventers of Maternal Deaths in the US Could Receive Millions in Funding

12 Tips for Safe Global Travel

Now that summer is in full swing, many are heading abroad for annual vacations. While planning the perfect global getaway can be daunting, it is equally as important to stay safe while traveling internationally as it is to score a great deal on a hotel stay.

The American Red Cross has put together twelve important tips for traveling abroad that we’re happy to share.

  • Download the first aid app. The American Red Cross first aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Whether you’re in the United States or abroad, arming yourself with basic first aid skills can save a life. Be sure to download the app while you’re still in the United States, otherwise, you’ll download the local Red Cross or Red Crescent’s mobile app (which will be in the local language).
  • Make a plan. Just like at home, it’s important to establish a time and place to meet family members in case you get separated.   
  • Know what natural disasters are possible. There’s no reason to panic, but it’s important to research whether your destination faces emergencies you’ve never experienced. While you’ll need to gauge the local context, the Red Cross offers basic tips about what to do during natural disasters like tsunamis, volcanoes, and hurricanes.
  • Register your trip with the State Department. Enter your travel details with the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program online, which allows the State Department to better assist you in case of an emergency while you are abroad. You can also get information about safety conditions in the country you are planning to visit.
  • Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while traveling.
  • Check out the State Department’s What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis‘ and have an evacuation plan that doesn’t rely on the U.S. government.
  • Keep your destination country’s emergency numbers handy. You know to use 911 in the United States, but how will you reach the fire department, police, or an ambulance abroad? Find your destination country on this reference sheet from the State Department—and write down the emergency numbers before you take off.
  • Know the six-month passport rule. Some countries deny travelers entry if their passport expires in less than six months. Renew your passport about nine months before the expiration date.
  • Let your credit card company know what countries you will be visiting and when. This way, they won’t think your card is stolen and shut it off just when you need it the most.
  • Pack your International Certificate of Vaccination. Also referred to as the “yellow card,” it lists your immunizations, allergies, and blood type. The “yellow card” is available from your physician or local health department.
  • Bring medications, bug repellent. If you’re traveling somewhere with mosquito-borne illnesses—such as malaria, dengue, or Zika—be sure to spray repellent and/or cover your arms and legs with lightweight clothing at critical times of the day. Don’t forget your medications and it’s a good idea to bring other stuff like OTC pain reliever and something for an upset stomach.
  • Check for emergency exits and evacuation routes. The American Red Cross has helped many communities around the world install signs that indicate evacuation routes in case flooding or another natural disaster occurs. Be sure to identify evacuation routes at your destination and, as always, pay attention to the location of emergency exits.

Suffering in silence: how Kenyan women live with profound childbirth injuries

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Shutterstock

Kathomi Gatwiri, Southern Cross University

Sasha is 22-years-old. She was married off when she was just nine and by the time she was 11, she was pregnant with her first child, and unprepared for childbirth.

So when labor came, in the middle of the night – in her geographically isolated village in rural Kenya – she was unaware of the painful fate awaiting her.

During childbirth, the baby’s head was too big to fit through Sasha’s pelvis, causing the baby to get stuck in her birthing canal. Traditional birth attendants tried their best to help Sasha but they were not skilled enough to handle the complications. She needed surgery, and quickly. But because she could not access emergency obstetric services, she spent the next six days trying to push out the baby that was stuck inside of her.

In the end, Sasha delivered a dead, rotten baby in macerated form. She was not only in grief of her lost child, but was also traumatized by her experience which left her with profound injuries and a double obstetric vaginal fistula.

Continue reading Suffering in silence: how Kenyan women live with profound childbirth injuries

Can Fitbit Help Kids Gain Steps and Lose Weight?

Around 17 percent of American children from age 2 to 19 are classed as “obese”. That’s a level that has remained fairly steady over the last decade. And it’s growing.

Obesity is measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measure that can be used to compare children in terms of their weight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. For children and teens, BMI is so age- and gender-specific that it is referred to as BMI-for-age. BMI levels among children and teens need to be expressed relative to other children of the same age and gender. Every child is different and that makes it difficult to generalize on something like this.

heart-rate-monitoring-device-1903997_1280Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender.

To give an illustration, a 10-year-old boy of average height (56 inches) who weighs 102 pounds would have a BMI of 22.9 kg/m2. He would be considered obese because this calculation puts him in the 95th percentile for BMI-for-age. His BMI is greater than the BMI of 95% of 10-year-old boys in his “reference population”.

Continue reading Can Fitbit Help Kids Gain Steps and Lose Weight?

IKEA Foundation Grants $53 Million to Support Children’s Right to Play

War and conflict. Poverty. Gender discrimination. Growing up too fast. These are just some of the reasons children in some of the poorest countries around the world are not allowed to play. Play makes children healthier and more resilient. It heals some of their greatest wounds and helps them remain kids without growing up too soon. Additionally, play is every child’s fundamental right according to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, millions of children around the world aren’t allowed to play.

IKEA is a global leader in the power of play not only in their stores but also in countries where children are routinely denied the right to play. That’s why the IKEA Foundation has granted $53 million to six leading global organizations that work with children and promote play including Handicap International, Save the Children, Special Olympics, Room to Read, UNICEF and War Child for its good cause campaign, Let’s Play for Change.

These six organizations will focus their efforts on helping children in Asia and Africa in countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Ethiopia. “Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child’s brain development and emotional well-being,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

“Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being ‘kids’. Through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Learn more at ikeafoundation.org.

One World Play Project

Haiti.Jacmel.GoalsBeyondtheNet-667x500Another business that promotes play is the One World Play Project, a mission-driven company based in Berkeley, CA that makes resilient toys designed for rough terrain—fields scattered with rocks, thorns, and broken glass—where most of the world plays.

When you buy a One World Futbol ($39.50-$44.50 depending on the color), One World Play Project gives a Futbol to a community in need. The One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat. If you just want to give a Futbol, the price is $25.

After seeing impoverished communities around the world where kids have made balls out of anything they can find, I know how important a simple ball can be for kids and their overall mental and physical health.

Learn more at oneworldplayproject.com.