Tag Archives: developing countries

Will Trump’s Global Family Planning Cuts Cause Side Effects?

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Actress and U.N. Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd visited a refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan in 2016.
AP Photo/Raad Adayleh


Written by Rachel Sullivan Robinson
, American University School of International Service

President Donald Trump is leading an assault on family planning around the world.

Most recently, his administration cut off U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund, which provides and funds reproductive health services in poor countries. That follows his reinstatement of what’s known as the “global gag rule,” the executive order enacted by all Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan barring foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding from even mentioning abortion.

But Trump wants to go even further than his GOP predecessors by slashing spending on global health efforts funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Deeper family planning retrenchment would, however, put millions of lives at risk.

Continue reading Will Trump’s Global Family Planning Cuts Cause Side Effects?

Path’s Sure Start Program Ensures the Reduction of Maternal Mortality

Sita Shankar Wunnava, the Director of Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition at PATH India, knows about maternal health and women in India. An outspoken leader and NGO director Wunnava has over two decades of international global health experience under her belt and knows that behavioral change in India’s rural areas is what will ultimately save more mothers’ lives.

Each year 78,000 women die in childbirth in India and one million babies die before two months. Those numbers are devastatingly high. To combat this high mortality rate PATH implemented the Sure Start program in Uttar Pradesh and Mahrashtra, Indian’s two most populous states, seven years ago.

The Sure Start program works with women in rural areas to teach them how to stay alive when pregnant and delivering their baby. The Sure Start program was created with the understanding the very first step to reversing maternal and child mortality rates begins with education and behavior change. For instance, Sure Start teaches women that if they have swollen feet it’s not just something that normally happens, but there is a great chance she has high blood pressure which can lead to preeclampsia. They also teach women that colostrum, or a woman’s first milk, is essential for a baby’s health and survival whereas traditionally women in rural areas typically squeeze the colostrum out of their breasts in order to get to the white milk. Also, women are educated about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding instead of supplementing with water and cow’s milk. Now twice as many women in these two Indian states exclusively breastfeed during their baby’s first week of life. Sure Start  also teaches women to wrap babies when they are first born instead of immediately washing them which can lead to hypothermia.

In order to change cultural practices the Sure Start program encourages women to have institutional births, that is delivering in a health center instead of at home with untrained birth attendants. They also had to change the way rural people view pregnancy. Women and their husbands did not view pregnancy as an illness and believed health centers and hospitals were unnecessary for delivering a baby. However, through education over the past three years births in health centers have doubled in Uttar Pradesh.

PATH’s Sure Start program recognizes that the key to reducing maternal mortality is to encourage communities to take collective actions to work together from mothers’ groups, to mothers-in-law, health workers, towns’ mayors, and the village as a whole.

While the Sure Start program has been implemented for seven years in Uttar Pradesh and Mahrashtra, there is only one more year of the program remaining. Sita Shankar Wunnava says that program administrators are sharing data with government officials so they can implement these changes through a larger scaled effort.

For more information visit www.path.org/surestart.

Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

The Crucial Need for Sanitation in the Emerging World

I have written before that one of the things I advocate most is access to clean water and sanitation around the globe. When I was in Kenya last year – especially in the rural areas – I came face to face with the bathroom issue. While I didn’t see any open defecation as can be rampant in some areas in developing nations I did have to face the dreaded pit latrine.

That said, access to toilets that flush aren’t always a possibility. In fact, they are more of an impossibility in rural areas. It’s simply important to have a “clean toilet”; a pit latrine works to separate waste from people.  Having access to sanitation drastically reduces the amount of communicable diseases like rotavirus (diarrhea), cholera, typhoid, and parasites that people come in contact with. In areas where people use water areas for their personal wastes, disease is rife. According to our partner, Water.org, Only 63% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact. That is a lot of people who are living with open waste every day.

There is good news, though. Today I read from an Oxfam tweet that Sierra Leone has increased their sanitation efforts by 100 percent. And sanitation aid has increased to 7.8 billion dollars in 2010 according to the Guardian.

As more countries ramp up their efforts to solve their sanitation issues, the better for the overall health of their countries, especially for children.

Honor Your Mother, Change a Life With BRAC

Our newest partner, BRAC, is celebrating mothers and changing lives at the same time. Mothers are the driving force behind BRAC’s success. They leverage their holistic approach to provide health and well-being to their entire family. That’s why every gift you give BRAC to invest in a woman gets multiplied.

This Mother’s Day, celebrate all the hard work your mother has done by investing in a woman in her honor.

Visit BRAC to learn more and to help a fellow mother.