Category Archives: United States

U.S. Support of Formula Over Breastfeeding is a Race Issue

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The formula industry has responded to the decline in sales to white women at home by ramping up its marketing to Black and brown women overseas.
(Shutterstock)

Andrea Freeman, University of Hawaii

When the United States threatened Ecuador with trade and aid restrictions if it did not withdraw a World Health Assembly breastfeeding promotion resolution that most people considered benign, if not banal, reactions ranged from shocked to amused.

Experts explained that the U.S. resistance, although extreme, was nothing new. The United States previously demonstrated its allegiance to the formula industry by refusing to sign on to the World Health Organization’s Ban on the Marketing of Breast Milk Alternatives.

This U.S. stance, like its intimidation of Ecuador, flew in the face of near universally accepted medical and scientific research proving that breastfeeding saves lives. Perhaps even more surprisingly, both acts perpetuate an alarming racial divide in breastfeeding rates that leads to significant racial health disparities. American support of the formula industry comes at the cost of the health and lives of Black and brown babies, at home and abroad.

Both the resolution and the U.S. opposition to it stemmed from a decline in formula sales in the United States. The industry has sought to make up for its considerable domestic losses on the global market. The racial aspects of this local-global dynamic are hidden in plain sight.

Continue reading U.S. Support of Formula Over Breastfeeding is a Race Issue

Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

Duracell Announcement
Duracell PowerForward vehicles wait to be loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

With nearly 84% of Puerto Rico still without power after Hurricane Maria, Duracell has arrived on the island today and will distribute $1 million of batteries as well as charging mobile devices and internet access through its Power Forward initiative. When natural disasters occur Duracell helps to reconnect communities. Puerto Rico will be its largest distribution effort since it launched in 2011.

PowerForward will charge mobile devices, radios, and flashlights, and provide power for critical medical devices like dialysis machines, hearing aids and ventilators. Duracell is working with the Red Cross to assess areas where there is the most need.

Duracell Announcement
A Duracell PowerForward vehicle is loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

Duracell will update its Twitter and Facebook accounts with the next truck location as it navigates the island.

We have personally seen phenomenal post-recovery efforts in both Nepal after the earthquake and the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. We’re hoping to help now when people have the most on-going need during the most harrowing times.

In order to help when disaster strikes, we need the government, NGOs, and the private sector to help as much as possible. For Puerto Rico, it seems they may have to rely on NGOs and the private sector more than they expected.

Duracell Announcement
A Duracell PowerForward vehicle is loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

If you have friends and family in Puerto Rico, please let them know to check the Duracell social accounts for location information.

This is not a compensated post. 

 

7 Local Houston Organizations to Donate to Now and When the Cameras Leave

The video and photos coming out of Houston and surrounding areas really make your heart sink. It’s unimaginable what hundreds of thousands of people are going through due to the rains and flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The area stands to face weeks, months, and likely years to fully rebuild. Now, chemical plants are blowing up and people and their pets are still being rescued from homes and dropped off in temporary shelters with little knowledge of how their home has fared or what they will be able to salvage.

It’s true that Americans really want to open up their wallets to help, but what are the best organizations to donate to? You can always donate to large national organizations that have massive scale-up relief capabilities like Save the Children. We know the phenomenal work they do with children and how they help them cope with natural disasters like deadly tornadoes and hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, and the Louisiana floods last year.

Continue reading 7 Local Houston Organizations to Donate to Now and When the Cameras Leave

8 Simple Ways to Provide Free Menstrual Products to Girls and Women in Need (Updated)

Every 28 days, millions of girls and women in developing countries miss school or work – up to 50 days per year – because they lack access to affordable menstrual products. And, it’s not just a problem in poor countries. Right here in the United States, women and girls who lack means often need both menstrual health education and reusable menstrual products.

The eight companies and organizations provide menstrual products in the United States and in Africa. Here are ways you can help them on their missions to provide women and girls with products that simply make their lives easier.

Continue reading 8 Simple Ways to Provide Free Menstrual Products to Girls and Women in Need (Updated)

9 Facts We Learned in 2016 About Maternal Mortality in the United States

  1. Texas has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. (Source)
  2. In Texas, cardiac events, overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs, and hypertensive disorders are the leading causes of maternal death. (Source)
  3. White women had the highest rates of diagnosed mental illness of any kind (depression as well as other psychological illnesses) in Texas during pregnancy and the puerperium; Black women had the second highest rates. (Source)
  4. The best state to have a baby is Vermont and the worst state to have a baby is Mississippi. (Source)
  5. Canadian researchers recently published an article stating that maternal mortality is not increasing in the United States because of more chronic health factors, but rather because of improved surveillance and documentation. (Source)
  6. 28 women out of 100,000 live births die per year in the United States. These statistics are based on data from 2013, the latest year data is available. (Source)
  7. California is the only state where maternal mortality rates have gone down. (Source)
  8. Women over 40 experience the greatest severe maternal morbidity factors in New York City and its surrounding areas. (Source)
  9. Since maternal mortality and morbidity data is difficult to assess, experts are calling on all states to standardize its data. (Source)

Source List

USA Today
Washington Post
New York Times (1, 2)
Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services: Joint Biennial Report
WalletHub
National Institutes of Health
New York City 2008 – 2012: Severe Maternal Morbidity

Image Courtesy of Uzuri Art.