In the interest of promoting more robust discourse around the importance of regular vaccinations for serious but preventable contagious conditions, MHA@GW is hosting a guest post series in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). During the month of August,they’re featuring blogs from thought leaders and advocates who were asked to answer the question, “Why immunize in 2015?” You can read an excerpt of Violent Metaphors‘ Jennifer Raff here, and be sure to read on to explore more posts. MHA@GW is the online master of health administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.
“It’s critical that we continue to talk about immunization, because vaccine opponents are relentless — see the comments on my piece here for many examples of the bad science and provocative rhetoric they employ.
Speaking up is the most important step, letting parents know that their decision to vaccinate is the safest and most common way people protect their children. The anti-vaccine minority is disproportionately loud, partly because vaccines are so safe, so effective and so ubiquitous that they become part of the background landscape of parenting. Fortunately, in reaction to harmful pseudoscientific scaremongering and events like the Disneyland outbreak, people are motivated to speak out in favor of vaccines.
It matters how we talk about vaccines, too. Here is where there is the most room for improvement in 2015. Writers want the discussion to be dramatic and too often try to paint “anti-vaxxers” as demonic or vile. Or they try to use the vaccine debate as a weapon in the larger culture wars. This leads to the media (and many well-meaning science writers) giving too much weight to vaccine opponents, creating the false perception that there is a “growing movement.” Another problem is that the default images associated with stories on vaccinations are often distressed children and menacing needles. These approaches can have the unfortunate effect of recruiting more people to the anti-vaccine community, as Dan Kahan has pointed out in his piece in Science Magazine and on his blog.
Continue reading Fighting the Anti-Vaccine Rhetoric with Science
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:
Continue reading Register: Free Online Course Examines Women, Child, and Adolescent Health #FLImprovingHealth
Michael Wahl didn’t purposely set out to create an innovative cloth diaper for babies who live in the developing world as well as a humanitarian organization, Dri Butts, that distributes diapers to families in need. Rather, he saw it as a necessity to prevent diseases caused by the spread of fecal matter.
Many children in low-and middle-income countries have an increased chance of not living to see their fifth birthday oftentimes because of diseases whose cause stems from fecal matter. In fact, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five. Other fecal-related diseases are cholera and typhoid.
Continue reading Humanitarian Designs Innovative Diaper for Developing Countries
A new, first-of-its-kind report, The Ultimate Investment in the Future Profiles of Corporate Engagement in the Health and Development of Newborns [PDF] was recently released that catalogs 48 corporations and their financial commitments to saving the lives of more newborns globally. Currently there are 2.6 million stillbirths every year and 2.8 million newborns do not make it past four weeks. Most of these deaths occur due to prematurity. India and Nigeria see most newborn deaths.
Last year the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) was endorsed by the 67th World Health Assembly. The new report ranks the listed corporations by ENAP’s five strategic objectives including:
- investing in care during labor, birth and the first week of life
- improving the quality of maternal and newborn care
- reducing inequities
- harnessing the power of parents, families and communities
- counting, measuring and tracking births, deaths, program quality and performance
Exxon, for example, has created a program that helps prevent malaria in pregnancy in Chad and Cameroon. GE funds technology for quality maternal health care in over 150 countries and Johnson & Johnson funds mobile phone programs that sends maternal health news and information to women in 175 countries.
Without the added financial support and investments in maternal and newborn health, the number of newborn deaths would not decrease substantially over time. The report also shows each of the corporations and the countries in which they work. Since, as aforementioned, India, Nigeria and Pakistan have the highest number of newborn deaths, they also have some of the most corporate newborn health and survival programs of all of the countries. Health care equipment and services and pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors make up the vast majority of corporations.
Read The Ultimate Investment in the Future Profiles of Corporate Engagement in the Health and Development of Newborns [PDF]
Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti
By Dr. Leslee Jaeger
I feel overwhelming gratitude for the many mothers in my life – the mother that raised me, the mother that raised my fabulous husband, the mother of my three children created thru egg donation and the Korean and Chinese mothers that gave birth to my daughters and then made the difficult decision to place them for adoption. I have always imagined what their life would have been if, instead of completing reams of paperwork and writing checks for large sums of money, we had worked to provide for their original families so that they would have been able to be raised in their country of origin. That venture is much more difficult and involves a more long-term world view than a short-term individualistic approach. But that is exactly what the founders of Second Mile Haiti are trying to achieve. We were fortunate to spend a few hours touring their expanding facility on our last day in Haiti.
The founders of Second Mile Haiti are Jenn Schenk and Amy Syres, two young women who had a vision to create a sustainable option for families who were previously relinquishing their malnourished children to care centers, where the children were either placed for international adoption or reunified back into their impoverished families after their malnutrition was corrected. It didn’t seem right that the only available way to help these families was to take their kids from them. We really had to ask ourselves if there wasn’t some sort of alternative” says Amy, regarding the experiences that led the co-founders to start Second Mile Haiti.
Continue reading A Place Where a Child Arrives Malnourished and Leaves Healthy