Tag Archives: World Health Organization

The Importance of Clean Cookstoves – A Personal Experience

When I was in Ethiopia last week observing frontline health workers with Save the Children I had the unfortunate circumstance of going into a home, a traditional hut, where the mother was cooking on her indoor cookstove. The smoke from the burning wood was so thick and powerful I could hardly breathe and couldn’t imagine a family, let alone children and babies, being in an enclosed area with that much damaging smoke.

In Ethiopia communities recognize families as “model families” if they have two separate homes – one for living and one for cooking — but many do not have the resources to create a separate space for cooking.

When you visit developing countries where there is widespread cookstove use you will see children who have a lot of mucus in their noses. Cookstove smoke causes increased risk of pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. And 2 million people die every year because of indoor health pollution.

Now that I have experienced how harmful cookstoves are I am more adamant about how important clean cookstoves are to the health and well-being of families, particularly women and children.

Read more about what you can do to advocate for clean cookstoves at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

The Guardian Looks at Key Millennium Development Goals Datasets

If you follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) you know there are a variety of global datasets that sometimes are in concert with one another and other times contradict one another. It is important to know the critical datasets to zero in on in order to analyze the progress of the MDGs.

The Guardian published Millennium development goals – the key datasets you need to know today that will help development experts, the media, and those interested in the progress of poverty eradication and its effects.

If you’re interested in following the key data be sure to check out the article above. Also, they have provided data that you can mash up and share as well.

Photo Above:

Meningitis Vaccination Campaign Takes Off in Darfur

A child receives a meningitis vaccination at the Al Neem Camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in El Daein, East Darfur, Sudan.

A major vaccination campaign against meningitis A, organized by the Government of Sudan and the World Health Organization (WHO), debuted earlier this month and targets 16.9 million children and adults across Darfur. The vaccine protects young adults and children as young as one, conferring immunity that could last a decade. WHO estimates that their efforts could reduce cases of meningitis A between 80 and 85% and save nearly 150,000 young lives by 2015.

UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Maternity Equality in Uganda: How You Can Help

ACTION: Become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner. Why and how below.

As a mother who has given birth twice I feel a strong, overwhelming kinship with women all over the world who have or will also give birth even if I don’t know them nor will I ever. That global kinship makes me work harder to learn more about maternal health in developing countries and do what I can to improve the lives of women who face harrowing challenges to give birth.

Our partner, Shanti Uganda, is doing amazing things for expecting mothers in rural Uganda. For two years Shanti Uganda has provided antenatal and postnatal health care for poor women in the Luwero District of Uganda in the solar-powered Shanti Uganda Birth House. Without the help Shanti Uganda provides local women would have to deliver their babies at home or try to find their way to the closest health facility which could be several miles away. To date, 100 women have given birth at the Shanti Uganda birth house and 100%  of those women have walked out healthy and alive. In a country where 1 in 16 women die giving birth this is a phenomenal feat.

Not only is Shanti Uganda providing a safe, empowering environment for women to give birth,
but we are defying these statistics and creating a new norm for birthing women in Uganda. Of the over
100 women who have given birth at our centre in our almost two years of operation, 100% have left
healthy, happy and supported by our dedicated team of midwives.

– Shanti Uganda’s Founder & Executive Director Natalie Angell-Besseling


Today I am joining Shanti Uganda to blog for better birth outcomes; to spread the word about what we can all do to help reduce the high maternal mortality rates women in developing countries face.

One of the things you can do to help right now is become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner. As a birth partner your donation helps fund births. You are touching real lives of expecting mothers and their babies. $100 a month supports the births of two babies. If that donation is too steep, $25 a month helps fund the birth of one baby every two months.

When you become a birth partner during the Birth Partner Push you will receive a necklace made from the women in the Shanti Uganda Women’s Income Generating Group. These paper bead necklaces are stunning. How do I know? Because I wear mine almost every day.

Help save the lives of mothers and babies. US dollars go a long way in Africa. A simple $25 donation will deliver one baby in two months. Become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner!