Category Archives: South America

Can a Village Revolution for Mothers and Newborns Go Global?

Kenya: Carolyn MilesBy Carolyn Miles, President & CEO, Save the ChildrenFollow Carolyn Miles at @carolynsave.

Fifteen years have passed since a husband and wife team in western India challenged the notion that the deaths of thousands of mothers and millions of babies during pregnancy and childbirth are inevitable in poor and remote communities.

Drs. Abhay and Rani Bang trained a battalion of local women to deliver lifesaving care to mothers and newborns who had little access to doctors or hospitals. Their paper published in 1999 in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, recorded that the interventions delivered by these community-based health workers led to a 62 percent reduction in newborn mortality in only three years. Since then, more evidence has been generated suggesting that up to 75 percent of maternal and newborn deaths are preventable — most without intensive care.

Today babies in some of the world’s poorest, most remote communities are being saved through the use of low-tech interventions, such as a low-cost, hand-held device that can resuscitate babies who are not breathing at birth or an antiseptic gel that can prevent deadly infections when applied to the umbilical cord immediately after birth.

These interventions — and a number of others — have the potential of saving 1.9 million newborns and 158,000 mothers a year, while also averting 800,000 stillbirths, according to the latest estimates published in The Lancet last month. But the problem is this: So far no country in Africa or South Asia — where 80 percent of maternal and newborn deaths take place — has succeeded in delivering these high-impact, cost-effective interventions nationwide. Yet, based on the work of the Bangs and others, we know that these lives CAN be saved.

Without these interventions reaching every woman and every newborn, many deaths happen needlessly each year. But that may be about to change.

Last month, when the World Health Assembly met in Geneva, health ministers from around the world took the historic step of making maternal and newborn health and stillbirths a top global health priority. The health ministers approved the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP), a roadmap to help countries sharpen their plans to reduce stillbirths and maternal and newborn deaths.

Even more importantly, many countries, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Uganda and Malawi have already taken steps to change health policies that will help ensure that proven newborn interventions are made more widely available. In Ethiopia and India, for example, trained personnel at community health posts are now allowed to use injectable antibiotics to treat severe newborn infections when a hospital referral is not possible. In both countries severe infections are among the leading killers of newborns.

Increasing access and use of such interventions, especially for those that have not been reached, will help ensure that the reductions in newborn mortality start to catch up with great global declines we’ve already seen in deaths to children after the first month of life. Currently, babies who die within the first month of life account for almost half (44 percent) of all deaths of children under age 5.

On Monday, ENAP will be launched with great fanfare in Johannesburg, with many notables and agencies including Save the Children joining in a global call to action.

Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of one of the world’s greatest health crusades in history — ending preventable deaths of mothers and newborns and stillbirths within our own lifetime.

Join Us for the #WaterAidNica Chat on March 21

This Sunday, Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member, Jennifer Barbour, will join WaterAid America on a trip to Nicaragua to see WaterAid’s WASH programs on the ground. Their itinerary is packed from Monday – Friday. While in Nicaragua Jennifer Barbour will be detailing all that she observes and how WASH programs benefit women and girls and entire communities. She will be updating her blog, Tumblog, and social media and using the #WaterAidNica hashtag.

We are excited to follow her journey and share her work. On Friday, March 21 from 1 – 2 PM EST we will join Jennifer and WaterAid America for a chat discussing Jennifer’s trip in Nicaragua. Join us on Friday, March 21. Feel free to ask any questions you might have. You can tweet them to us already at @socialgoodmoms using #WaterAidNica.


Global Impact Launches Innovative Fund to Help Women and Girls

We are proud to support Global Impact with the launch of its Women & Girls Fund this week during International Women’s Day. Below, read more about how you can join Global Impact, CARE, World Vision, Plan USA and ICRW to help women and girls around the world. And be sure to join our conversation on Twitter this Friday, March 7 at 2 PM EST. RSVP at

This week marks a momentous occasion to celebrate women and girls and to continue to work tirelessly to make their lives better around the world. Saturday, March 8, is the annual International Women’s Day celebration where the world comes together to raise awareness about the global plight of women and girls.

Photo courtesy of PLAN

• Did you know that an estimated sixty percent of women have been physically or sexually abused?

• Did you know that women produce half of the world’s food, but own less than one percent of the world’s property?

• Did you know that each year, about 300,000 women suffer a preventable death during pregnancy and childbirth?

• Did you know that two-thirds of the children denied primary education are girls?

• Did you know women and girls make up ninety-eight percent of trafficking victims?

What Can We Really Do To Solve These Problems?

Global Impact, a world leader in international philanthropy, has partnered with four of the best-in-the- business charities, CARE, World Vision, Plan, and the International Center for Research on Women, to raise awareness about these issues and to raise funds to help women and girls gain safer, healthier, more prosperous lives. Global Impact has brought these leading organizations together under one fund so that people passionate about helping women and girls can help the work of all four charities by giving in one place.

Photo Courtesy of CARE
Photo Courtesy of CARE

The Fund is one of the most effective ways to support programs that help women and girls. Through this fund, you will join a movement with millions of people to change the world by helping to provide education, protection and rehabilitation from violence and exploitation, job training, healthcare, safe drinking water and a host of other services to women and girls around the world.

Your contributions go directly to supporting real and meaningful work to improve the lives of women and girls. By investing in a girl, she can lift herself out of poverty and abuse, altering the condition of her family, her community and, ultimately, the world.

Visit to donate any amount to help women and girls and to learn more about the Global Impact Women & Girls Fund.

Bill and Melinda Gates Dispel Three Poverty Myths in Annual Letter

3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor
Like last year and in previous years Bill and Melinda Gates released their 2014 Annual Letter today. Their theme: 3 Myths That Block Progress for the Poor. Last year’s letter was all about the critical need to measure how programs work and this year’s letter explains how the data shows foreign aid does in fact work and saves lives. This, of course, is great news for people around the world who are beneficiaries of foreign aid programs and whose lives are being saved every day through innovative approaches to global health and development.

What myths do Bill and Melinda Gates dispel in their Annual letter this year?

1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.


Read more about myth one in the Gates Letter.

 Prediction from Bill Gates: “By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.” 

2. Foreign aid is a big waste.


Read more about myth two in the Gates Letter.

3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation


Read more about myth three in the Gates Letter.

Through key facts, graphs, and data Bill and Melinda Gates show that foreign aid has played a critical role in making sure people and countries move out of poverty and that lives are increasingly saved in poor and middle income countries.

We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.” -Melinda Gates

To read the Gates’ letter for yourself visit

Photos Copyright: Gates Foundation

Chad Comes in Last in New Global Food Index

Yesterday Oxfam released its new Global Food Index that shows the best and worst places to eat. Across all indicators Chad came in dead last in the index. The indicators to rank the countries include having enough food to eat, food affordability, diabetes and overweight citizens, and food quality. In fact, along with Chad, eighteen of the last twenty countries in the index are sub-Saharan African countries save for Yemen and Lao’s People Democratic Republic. Conversely, the top country in the index is the Netherlands followed by fellow European countries France and Switzerland. The top ranking sub-Saharan country is South Africa, to be expected, followed closely by Botswana.

Global Food Index    Oxfam

Parsing the data by indicator the best country for food quality is Iceland and the worst is Madagascar. The best country for food affordability is the Netherlands and Guinea is the worst. South Africa is the best sub-Saharan country based on the food affordability indicator. I am happy to see this data as this is the experience I have had while spending time in South Africa. Food is quite affordable there.

See the full interactive data on the Oxfam web site.

“Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Across the globe, particularly in developing countries, far too many people are consuming more and more unhealthy food.  Paradoxically, more than 800 million people cannot get enough nutritious food to eat. Governments and the food industry are failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthfully, despite there being more than enough food to go around.”

According to FAO’s The State of Food Insecurity in the World (2103 edition) 1 in 8 people around the world experience chronic hunger. Undernourishment decreased by 17% since 1990-1992. However, 12% of the world’s population was not able to meet all of its daily dietary needs and most of those people live in Southern Asia (295 million) followed by sub-Saharan Africa (223 million).

FAO Data

Based on data from the UN, Millennium Development Goal 1 that states hunger should be halved by 2015 is in reach. FAO believes MDG 1 can be met, but many countries will not reach the target reduction in hunger. Countries that have experienced conflict within the last twenty days and landlocked countries with unfavorable trade laws have the least chance of improving hunger rates.

How much would it cost to feed all hungry children the world over? The World Food Program estimates that $3.2 billion would be needed annually to feed all hungry children. Of course, that doesn’t take into account all of the adults, particularly women who are expecting, who do not have enough food to eat.