From April 15 – 18, 2013 the first global conference on newborn health, the Global Newborn Health Conference, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. On the agenda, maternal and newborn health experts, researchers, and NGOs will collaborate on innovative ways to scale high-impact interventions that will save more newborn lives globally ahead of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
The conference is set out to ask: Why are so many newborns in the poorest countries dying? And what can we do as a global community to save them?
Leading up to the conference Dr. Gary Darmstadt (@gdarmsta), Director of the Family Health Division of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and @gatesfoundation will tweet daily “Did You Know” facts about newborn health and you can become a part of the conversation. In What You Might Not Know About Newborn Health, Dr. Darmstadt explains why so many newborns in the world’s poorest countries are dying and why more needs to be done to save the 3 million newborns that die every year.
Become a part of the conversation
You can spread newborn health facts by following the #newborn2013 hashtag and following Gary Darmstadt at @gdarmsta and @gatesfoundation and retweet newborn health facts to your followers.
Here are a few tweets that have already gone out that you can share and retweet.
Read more about the Global Newborn Health Conference at www.newborn2013.com and continue to follow the conversation at #newborn2013.
Photo: UN Photo/Staton Winter
If you missed our piece about Day 1 of India’s Child Survival Summit on the Gates Foundation blog, Impatient Optimists, you can read it at The Most Important Conversation This Week: India on the Survival of its Children.
You might recall our coverage of the Child Survival Summit that was held in Washington, DC last year. Convened by the Ministries of Health of Ethiopia and India along with UNICEF and USAID decreasing the child mortality rate became front and center on the global agenda in 2012. This year the conversation continues with summits in both Ethiopia (that took place last month) and in India that is happening this week.
A few key facts:
- India accounts for the largest number of under five deaths (Source)
- India decreased its child mortality rate by 45% since 1990 (Source)
Announced today: India created a new management tool to improve accountability: scorecards.
Dr. Abnay Bang talks about home-based newborn care practices in India
Mrs Anuradha Gupta from the Indian Ministry of Health discusses key takeaways from day 1.
Dr. Vinod Paul also discusses home-based newborn care practices
Follow the summit through Saturday at the #C2AIndia hashtag.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
There is a worldwide problem facing women: the lack of access to and education about family planning. What makes this issue so compelling and absolutely important to me as a mother is access to contraceptives in developing countries will save the lives of mothers and babies. Period. I cannot imagine not being able to choose when I want to have a baby when I am the one who has to deliver her. Family planning is every woman’s right.
Family planning can save the lives of over 100,000 women each year who would be able to space their pregnancies in healthier intervals. Additionally, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) analysis found that if all birth-to-pregnancy intervals were increased to 3 years, 1.6 million under-5 deaths could be prevented annually (1). And according to UNFPA, 222 million women in the developing world want to avoid/ plan pregnancies (2). Even more importantly, according to Save the Children family planning can drastically save the lives of teenage girls between the ages of 15 – 19. Pregnancy is the number one killer of teenage girls in the world who live in developing countries according to Save the Children’s new report (3).
On July 11, 2012 the world will take note of the pivotal issue of family planning on World Population Day alongside the London Family Planning Summit hosted by the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The summit will call for greater country commitments to family planning as well as resources to provide family planning access to 120 million women worldwide.
1. Healthy Timing and Spacing in Pregnancies: A Family Planning Investment Strategy for Accelerating the Pace of Improvements in Child Survival
2. UNFPA – World Population Day 2012
3. Every Woman’s Right: How Family Planning Saves Children’s Lives
Photo: United Nations
Every year over seven million children in developing countries die before the critical age of five. Research shows that once children reach the age of five they have an increased chance of surviving through adulthood, but there are several challenges they must overcome first.
This April, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), along with key partners including ONE, launched Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday, a global effort to raise awareness about the prevention methods and tools that can save the lives of millions of children every year. Most of the seven million child deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia where diseases like malaria, pneumonia, and other communicable diseases, diarrhea, pre-term birth complications, hunger and malnutrition as well as other causes take the lives of over 20,000 children a day. In fact, one in eight children die in sub-Saharan Africa before the age of five.
There is hope and progress has been made. Child mortality rates have been reduced by 70% over the last 50 years according to USAID, but progress cannot slow.
Millions of children’s lives can be saved through preventative measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets, low-cost vaccines, improved access to clean water and sanitation, medications for expecting mothers that prevent transmission of HIV to their babies, and access to proper nutrition and adequate food.
On June 14 – 15 USAID along with India’s and Ethiopia’s governments will convene the Child Survival Call to Action event at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. During the two-day event high-level talks with stakeholders, partners, members of civil society and the faith community will take place around the issue of ending the millions of preventable child deaths.
The Child Survival Call to Action event will be streamed online on June 14 and a robust conversation will take place via social media under the #5thBDay hashtag.
You can learn more about Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday at 5thbday.usaid.gov.
Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price
The answer to this question is yes, but the practical solutions to arm 150 million women in developing nations with a mobile phone isn’t as easy as it seems from the outset, even though the market is vast and ripe for technology.
On a conference call last week with USAID‘s Chief Innovation Officer, Maura O’Neill, and Trina DasGupta, mWomen Program Director for the GSMA, the issues were laid out that prevent most women from owning mobile phones in third-world countries. USAID and mWomen partnered to research the mobile market for women in developing nations and published ‘Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid’. The research was conducted to find out more in-depth knowledge about how women who live on less than $2 a day feel about mobile phone ownership.
GSMA mWomen is aimed at reducing the mobile phone gender gap. Women are 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than men in developing nations. mWomen’s goal is to increase that by 50%.
“If you don’t intentionally look at women they will be unintentionally left behind,” said DasGupta.
The research was conducted in Papua New Guinea, India, Egypt, and Uganda. One reason mobile phone ownership is down is because women in all four countries expressed concerns that their husbands would not approve of them owning mobile phones.
“We learned that it is critically important that when we want to reach women in the mobile market we have to reach the family as a whole,” said DasGupta. “74% of the married women didn’t want to own a mobile phone because their husband wouldn’t allow it.”
Additionally, you have to take into consideration cost as well as access to technology that will keep mobile phones charged. Most of these women live off-the-grid so finding solar technology to charge phones will be another obstacle to get phones into the hands of these women.
Despite the obstacles 73% of the women want to be a part of entrepreneurship. They want to be their own boss and use mobile phones for retail enterprises and as a mobile money solution.