Tag Archives: Child survival

Maternal and Newborn Health News from the 68th World Health Assembly

The 68th World Health Assembly features the launch of two important reports – The WHO report on Strategies Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality [PDF] and the Every Newborn Action Plan Progress Report [PDF].

Maternal health remains one of the most elusive Millennium Development Goal to achieve. While maternal deaths worldwide have been nearly halved since 1990, there is still a long way to go to ensure that more women’s lives are saved during childbirth. Currently 800 women lose their lives during childbirth due to largely preventable reasons. According to the new report, Strategies Towards Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality, by 2030 the maternal mortality ratio should be no larger than 70 deaths/100,000 live births and no country should have a MMR of 140 deaths/100,000 live births.

How can this be achieved?

The new report calls for more wellness-focused healthcare as opposed to emergency-focused care for expectant mothers despite available resources. Most importantly, the post 2015 maternal health framework is rooted in human rights for women and girls. In order to save more women’s lives, there needs to be a cross-sectional system of integrated care. According to the report, more women, girls, and communities need to be empowered to recognize gender equality and empowerment. Mothers and newborns must have integrated care as opposed to caring for both independently.

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Prize Provides $250K to Fund Programs That Save Children’s Lives

Across the world, over 17,000 children under age five continue to die every day, mostly from preventable causes and treatable diseases. This translates to approximately 12 children every minute and over 6.3 million total in 2013. More than half of these child deaths can be attributed to malnutrition (approximately 45% of all child deaths), pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and malaria.

Nearly 3 million of the total deaths occur in children within their first month of life. The Challenge. The 2015 Children’s Prize seeks the best and most effective project that proposes to save the greatest number of children’s lives with $250,000. Projects will be evaluated based on the ability to impact rates within a child mortality indicator (U5MR, IMR, NMR, etc.), effectiveness, innovation and scalability of the intervention approach within global health, feasibility of the proposed lives-saved estimate, probability of success, ease of verification and inclusion of an impact assessment for the project.

The Children’s Prize, a $250,000 global health competition, is open for applications from individuals, nonprofits, and for profits organizations that work for children and can save more children’s lives through funding.

Visit childrensprize.org to apply.

Newborn and Child Health Education Through Haitian Art

Inside the child malnutrition unit at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, the largest regional hospital in Haiti’s Artibonite region, colorful murals have been painted over the beds. They were specifically designed to teach parents, especially mothers, how to keep their newborns and children healthy and well-fed.

In Haiti one in five children suffers from chronic malnutrition and 6.5 percent of Haitian children suffer from acute malnutrition. Chronic malnutrition is described as stunting or shortness. Acute malnutrition is wasting or thinness.

This mural in Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti shows mothers the importance of breastfeeding their newborns as well as the importance of taking their babies to the Centre de Santé (health center).

Health messaging art

Haiti has a 53 percent literacy rate making it imperative that health messaging at the hospital is conveyed through art as well as through color-coded words. For example, the hospital’s social services are all written in red so those who cannot read can easily find that department. Additionally, for those who can read all signs are written in French as well as in Creole as language politics in the region are quite heightened.

Mothers instead of fathers are more likely to tend to their children in the malnutrition unit like the mothers I saw when I visited. Some mothers were feeding their children and others were sitting with their children who were too weak to be awake.

Haitian women have a lower literacy rate than men in Haiti making messaging through art critical to driving home nutrition education in this unit.

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Infographic: 2015 Mothers’ Index Rankings

As in years past, the Nordic countries lead the world in being the best countries to be a mother and to raise children. Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index ranked countries based on maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, and economic and political status.

Sub-Saharan African countries and Haiti rounded out the worst places to be a mother, with Somalia being the worst place on earth for mothers and children.

Read the entire report and see the full Mothers’ Index of 179 countries at savethechildren.org/mothers.

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Save the Children Sounds Alarm on Plight of the World’s Urban Poor

When you think about very low- and middle-income countries you might assume that the poor in deep rural pockets in these countries have the highest chance for maternal and infant mortality. That isn’t the case according to Save the Children’s latest State of the World’s Mothers report released today.

The report says that it is the urban poor in countries like Haiti, Somalia, Niger and Mali, for example, who are suffering the most and have less access to health care, nutrition services, sanitation and clean water. Even as child mortality has decreased by 49 percent since 1990, the numbers do not fully tell the entire story. While resources have successfully helped the rural populations, the urban poor continue to suffer from a lack of overall services that will allow them to live and thrive.

“Our new report reveals a devastating child survival divide between the haves and have-nots, telling a tale of two cities among urban communities around the world, including the United States,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children in a statemtn. “For babies born in the big city, it’s survival of the richest.”

New data says there are 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. 860 million people live in urban slums in big cities like Delhi, Nairobi, Rio, and Johannesburg where the disparity between the rich and poor is incredibly stark. In fact, poor children in urban areas are two times more likely to die than their richer peers. In some countries, poor children are up to five times more likely to die before the age of five than their peers in a much higher income bracket.

Slum area - Addis Ababa
Slum area – Addis Ababa

Urban slums continue to grow because poor migrants from rural areas seek jobs in cities. This causes squatter communities and slum-dwelling as well as a perpetual cycle of poverty. These migrants often believe that it is better to live in crowded slums in the city than in their rural home towns because they can at least find work. The tradeoff, however, comes in the form of poor living conditions.

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