Category Archives: Women and Girls

Multibillion-Dollar Fund Launches to Prevent Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Deaths

This week at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a new multibillion-dollar global fund was launched. Called the Global Financing Facility, the fund will pump international, domestic, public, and private financing into high-burden, low-income countries that desperately need the funds to save more of its mothers, newborns, and children. The Global Financing Facility will be housed at the World Bank.

According to the World Bank, $12 billion of the needed $33.3 billion has already been pledged to this financing effort that will support the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child. Some sources report that Norway has already pledged $600 million and Canada has pledged $200 million. Together, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States, Japan, and Canada (with a new $40 million pledge) have also committed $214 million. To date, those public numbers are far shy of the $12 billion that is said to have been “aligned” to the fund. Who pledged the additional funds I am not entirely sure. What is clear, however, is that over the course of 15 years, a total of $33.3 billion will be needed to save the lives of 4 million mothers and 101 million children and prevent 21 million stillbirths. [PDF]

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Register: Free Online Course Examines Women, Child, and Adolescent Health #FLImprovingHealth

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is launching a free online course about women, child, and adolescent health. The course called Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action will last for six weeks starting on Monday, September 28, 2015. Registrations are now open.  While the course is primarily targeted to health professionals anyone can join.

Watch the course trailer:

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Maternal Mortality Will Rise Due to Ebola-Caused Health Worker Deaths

In January I wrote that I would be looking closely at the effect of Ebola on maternal health and mortality in the Ebola-affected countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Today unfortunate news was released by the World Bank and The Lancet.

According to the new report, Health-care worker mortality and the legacy of the Ebola epidemic and New Wave of Deaths From Ebola?: The Impact of Health Care Worker Mortality (PDF), it is estimated that 4,022 more women will die during childbirth in these countries on top of their already high maternal mortality rate due to the deaths of 240 health workers (doctors, nurses, and midwives) collectively across all three countries. Liberia lost the most health workers at 83. Guinea lost 78 and Sierra Leone lost 79 health workers. That translates to an increase of maternal deaths by 38% in Guinea, 74% in Sierra Leone, and 111% in Liberia. Due to the nature of health work a disproportionate rate of health workers died during the Ebola epidemic as opposed to the general population. Those health workers, of course, were critical to the health systems in all three countries whose systems were already on troubled ground before Ebola ravaged west Africa.

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Addressing Food Deserts In The Land of Plenty

Guest Post by Brian Kennell, Tetra Pak president and CEO for the U.S. and Canada

From just-squeezed juices to artisan sandwiches to colorful bunches of fresh-picked vegetables, nutritious dietary offerings have never been so bountiful or convenient for affluent Americans. They can legitimately browse for gourmet-quality dinners inside local supermarkets as well as convenience stores or trendy “small box” neighborhood groceries.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for some 23.5 million largely underserved U.S. residents who live in “food deserts,” areas where grocery stores are absent, and food options frequently range from fast food to corner mini-marts, where chips, soda pop, candy, cakes and snack packs are more likely to line the shelves than fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meat; whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal; or high-quality dairy and all-fruit juice drinks. Many food desert residents, without access to foodstuffs that allow them to eat three full, nutritious meals a day, regularly lack food security.

Food Deserts and Health

Unsurprisingly, because residents have access to and consume foods that tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt, food deserts are strongly correlated with higher rates of obesity and other nutrition-influenced chronic diseases, note academic studies such as “Distance to store, food prices, and obesity in urban food deserts” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. First Lady Michelle Obama noted this four years ago when she made eradicating food deserts to stem food insecurity one of the goals of her “Let’s Move” Campaign. But the issue has proved just as intractable as it is complex.

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