Women & Gender

Immaculée, seated, holding her twin boys. Thanks to the intervention of the center’s midwife, at left, both of these babies are now in good health. {Photo credit: IRC.}Photo credit: IRC.

Thirteen newborns die every hour in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). So on July 23, when 25-year old Immaculée went into labor with twins at the Monvu Reference Health Center in the Idjwi Health Zone, and her first twin was born without signs of life, the chances of survival were not in his favor.

The odds are stacked against newborns in the DRC: neonatal mortality hovers around 97 deaths for every 1,000 live births, and has done so for years, explaining the acute need for intervention in this area.

Recognizing this need, the USAID-funded DRC-Integrated Health Project (DRC-IHP), in conjunction with the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Ministry of Public Health, organized a “Helping Babies Breathe” training in Kinshasa in April 2012, to build the capacity of health providers who oversee labor and delivery.

Helping Babies Breathe is an evidence-based neonatal resuscitation approach designed for resource-limited areas, which teaches health workers how to handle newborns’ breathing in their first minute of life, a critical period known as the “Golden Minute.”

Investing in Asia (PDF).Investing in Asia (PDF).

"Investing in Asia" (PDF), a new supplement published by MediaPlanet as part of its "Investing in Development" series, hit newsstands in select markets of USA Today on Friday, December 21, transporting readers to the Asian continent.

MSH President and CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick was interviewed in the "Panel of Experts" section. Asked by MediaPlanet "Why is now the time to invest our time, energy, and abilities into the Asian continent?," Dr. Quick said:

MSH is driven by the ancient Chinese Tao of Leadership, working shoulder-to-shoulder with our local colleagues for their success. China and India, two of Asia’s most populated countries, are moving toward universal health coverage. Malaysia reduced maternal deaths. Afghanistan’s thousands of community health workers have increased access to family planning. Asia’s populations are hit hard by chronic diseases, including cancer, lung and heart disease, and diabetes. Now is the time to make even greater impact.

Read the full interview in the publication, "Investing in Asia" (PDF).

MSH: Saving lives and improving health in 2013.{Image credit: MSH.}Image credit: MSH.

We have seen some remarkable gains in global health in 2012. Yet millions of women, children, and men still die from preventable causes. As we pause and reflect on 2012 and look ahead to the new year, I invite you to read and share some of our favorite blog posts from the year.

MSH President Dr Quick introduces Dr Canning. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Global health leaders, advocates, experts and practitioner gathered to increase awareness following this year's London Summit on Family Planning and to seek ways to carry forward the promises made during the event.

Say No to Violence Against Women: http://saynotoviolence.org/Say No to Violence Against Women: http://saynotoviolence.org/

saynotoviolence.org

Human rights, solidarity, awareness, strength, and resilience. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think about the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign (16 Days campaign).

Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of gender violence reaching 70% in some countries. Behind the numbers are the faces of women and girls whose lives are interrupted, their potential undermined, and their future compromised because of violence.

Started 21 years ago through the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, the 16 Days campaign spans from November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through today, December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Making of Banner for International Day of Persons with Disabilities {Photo Twitpic @UNICCanberra.}Photo Twitpic @UNICCanberra.

On December 3, 2012, the international community commemorated International Day of Persons with Disabilities. About 15 per cent of the global population --- more than one billion people ---  live with some form of disability.

About half are women living with disabilities, many of whom suffer disability-specific gender-based violence.

Today, at 12:30 pm, Management Sciences for Health, John Snow, Inc. (JSI), Pathfinder International, Ibis Reproductive Health, and the Women and Health Initiative of the Harvard School of Public Health, are hosting a post-election luncheon event: The London Summit on Family Planning: Where Do We Go from Here?

Follow the discussion on Twitter with and .

The event includes:
12:00 pm Boxed Lunches and Networking
12:30 pm Welcome and Introduction of Keynote Speaker

  • Joel Lamstein, President, John Snow, Inc.
  • Dr. Jonathan Quick, President and CEO, Management Sciences for Health

12:40 pm Keynote Presentation

  • David Canning, PhD, Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health

12:50 pm Panel Discussion

A woman receiving antenatal care in South Sudan. {Photo credit: J. Warren/Save the Children.}Photo credit: J. Warren/Save the Children.

On a dark August night in rural South Sudan, Linda Kenneth felt the swift kick of labor pains begin. Having previously delivered five children, Linda recognized the pains and immediately called for the nearby skilled birth attendant, as it was too late in the evening for her to travel safely to the health facility. In her previous two pregnancies, she had experienced heavy bleeding after delivering, and worried similar complications might arise this time.

South Sudan has the world’s worst maternal mortality ratio (2,054 deaths per 100,000 live births), and roughly one third of these deaths can be attributed to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). Administration of misoprostol or another uterotonic (a drug that reduces bleeding after childbirth) could prevent the majority of these deaths. Misoprostol does not require a cold supply chain, and is cheap and effective, making it a perfect candidate for community-based interventions.

Upon the birth attendant’s arrival, Linda presented the three misoprostol pills she had recently been given by a home health promoter. Several days prior, a home health promoter had visited Linda and discussed with her a birth preparedness plan, informing her of the benefits of taking misoprostol immediately after delivery to prevent excessive bleeding.

Seven-year-old Ladi Muhammed. Nigeria. {Photo credit: S. J. Garlora / MSH.}Photo credit: S. J. Garlora / MSH.

Seven-year-old Ladi Muhammed wants to become a teacher. The third of five children ranging 3 to 20 years old, Ladi and her family live in a poor Nigerian village.

The likelihood of Ladi attending primary school is low.

Public primary education is free in Nigeria, but Ladi’s parents can barely afford to feed their children. The children supplement their parents’ income with menial jobs, such as street trading, which leaves little time or energy for schooling.

Her father, Ahmadu Mohammed, wants to send all of his children to school, but does not have the financial means to do so. “It is my heartfelt desire to send my children to school, but I can’t support them due to the meager salary I earn from my work as a gateman. Our situation is tough; we can barely feed ourselves,” says Mohammed.

Without an education, Ladi’s desire to one day become a teacher appeared a distant dream.

International Day of the Girl: End Child MarriageInternational Day of the Girl: End Child Marriage

My grandmother married at 8 years old; my mother married at age 15.

I often wonder what their lives --- their potential --- would have been, if they were not child brides.

Today, the same pattern is repeated in villages and cities around the world. Every year, nearly ten million girls are forced into marriage before they reach the age of 18 --- with little or no say in the matter.

That’s more than 25,000 girls a day; 19 girls each minute.

These girls are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential for healthy and productive lives. When they enter marriage, most drop out of school and enter a world where they work from dusk to dawn to provide labor to the households. From their mothers' care they are transferred to the supervision of their husbands and mothers-in-law, who view them as an additional labor source. Pressured to demonstrate their fertility, they get pregnant when they are still children and face the risk of illness or death when they deliver.

And some child brides are as young as eight or nine.

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