Category Archives: South America

NEW: Drug That Prevents PostPartum Hemorrhage Added To WHO Essential Medicines List

As I have written many times before postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) or excessive uterine bleeding after childbirth is the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-and-middle income countries. The recommended drug to prevent PPH according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is oxytocin. When administered in its recommended dose it causes little to no side effects. Oxytocin, the WHO’s current gold standard therapy, however, must be refrigerated and administered by skilled health workers posing two obstacles to its wider use in low resource, tropical settings.

Some countries have approved misoprostol, an oral drug, to prevent PPH, but there are several concerns that its use can be misappropriated for abortions instead of used solely for PPH. The World Health Organization has listed misoprostol as an alternative to oxytocin if it is not available.

Now, another PPH preventative drug, carbetocin, has been added to the latest updated 2019 WHO Essential Medicines List. The announcement was made last week. Unlike oxytocin, even at high temperatures carbetocin remains effective. The recommendation is that carbetocin can be used when oxytocin is not available or if its quality is uncertain. Additionally, the cost must be comparable to oxytocin.

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Venezuela’s Health Systems are crumbling – and Harming Women in Particular

Health workers and patients protesting at the Hospital Dr. Jose Maria Vargas in Caracas, Venezuela. EPA/Edwinge Montilva

Pia Riggirozzi, University of Southampton

Venezuela sits on the world’s biggest oil reserves, but in terms of GDP growth per capita, it’s now South America’s poorest economy. It is mired the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate in the region of 500%, a volatile exchange rate, and crippling debts that have increased fivefold since 2006.

The economic crisis is inflaming a longstanding “economic war” between the government and the business sector – and a dangerous cycle of protest and repression is further polarising Venezuela’s already divided society.

In this scenario, violence of all sorts is approaching what could be a point of no return. The very ability of democracy to combine forces of transformation and resistance is at stake.

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Coca-Cola Celebrates Mother’s Day With Women Artisans #5by20

Last year I was happy to see women in Nepal benefitting from Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program. By 2020 Coca-Cola has pledged to help five million women entrepreneurs around the globe by allowing them to earn money through its value chain. That could mean teaching women valuable business skills as I saw in Kathmandu to providing women with opportunities to support their families through creating products with Coca-Cola products and packaging to helping women start their own small businesses.

For Mother’s Day, I was delighted to receive this tulip from Coca-Cola made by artisans who work for Mitz, a Mexican nonprofit where women devote 8 to 30 hours a week to create handmade products. Mitz creates jobs for women, funds kids’ scholarships and reduces waste.

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International Day Against Sexual Violence in Conflict

Rape has always been used as a weapon of war and women and girls are typically the victims of these heinous crimes.

To bring more awareness to sexual violence during conflict the United Nations General Assembly created the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict that will be commemorated on June 19 each year.

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” President of the 193-member Assembly, Sam Kutesa, declared as he greeted the resolution’s adoption. “Yet these depraved acts still occur and are used to terrorize and control civilian populations in conflict zones.”

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How Heifer International Creates a Movement of Change for Families

This holiday season gifting animals to families in need in low-income countries can mean the difference between them living in abject poverty or being self-sufficient. I interviewed Cindy Jones-Nyland, Chief Marketing Officer of Heifer International about how they work with families around the world and transforms their lives.

  1. When people buy animals as gifts for those in need, how long does it take for families to receive that gift? 

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We work with families to provide training regarding proper animal well-being techniques, including animal health, nutrition and breeding.  Heifer projects are customized to achieve the objectives of the communities with which we work so there is no standard timeframe in which animals are distributed. In general, animals are delivered within 12 to 18 months of the project cycle start.

  1. Which animals are most gifted during the holiday season? 

Goats, heifers and bees are pretty popular this time of year. Heifers are classic, and what’s not to love about goats? A gift of bees goes great with a jar of local honey for the recipient.

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