Breastfeeding is a human right, and critical for the health of both newborn and mother. Newborns benefit from early skin-to-skin contact and the antibodies in the mother’s first milk, plus factors that protect against later obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. Mothers benefit because early breastfeeding assists in uterine shrinkage and helps prevent postpartum bleeding. In addition, frequent, exclusive, breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of an immediate new pregnancy.
My home region of Tigray in northern Ethiopia has made great strides in ending preventable maternal mortality. Best estimates suggest that the maternal mortality ratio in our region dropped from approximately 653 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990, to 267 in 2014. However, while most pregnant women in Tigray attend at least one antenatal care visit, only 41 percent attend the recommended four visits, and less than 63 percent deliver with a skilled birth attendant.
UPDATE: The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015, S.1911, was introduced in the US Senate by Senators Susan Collins and Chris Coons on July 30, 2015.
Since 1990, nearly 100 million children around the world have been saved due to global efforts to reduce child mortality, and maternal deaths have been cut nearly in half. The US government has played a large role in this great success story.
Detecting and treating diabetes in pregnancy offers a simple, low-cost opportunity to improve maternal and child health and reduce maternal deaths. Yet, it has received scant attention as a public health priority, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
I'd like to introduce you to a special mother. Her name is Mama Sophie (meet her in this video). Seven months pregnant and experiencing pain, Sophie went to the Dipeta Health Facility in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): I thought maybe the baby was changing position in the womb, but…[they told me the baby was coming]. Sophie was frightened: she had lost two babies before. She wasn’t the only person concerned. Dipeta Health Facility has an incubator, but doesn't have a reliable source of electricity to use it. When I delivered...
Nearly three years ago, I blogged about a systems approach to improving access for a Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) series on maternal health commodities: Increasing access to essential medicines and supplies for maternal health requires a systems approach that includes: improving governance of pharmaceutical systems, strengthening supply chain management, increasing the availability of information for decision-making, developing appropriate financing strategies and promoting rational use of medicines and supplies. It was an exciting year for maternal health.
Last month I represented Management Sciences for Health (MSH) at Oxfam India’s South Asia Consultation on Maternal Health in Kathmandu, Nepal. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss significant maternal health programming experiences in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and to suggest strategic directions for Oxfam India’s future maternal health programming. More than 30 representatives from governments, national and international universities, and nongovernmental organizations attended.
Currently, there is strong interest in global women and children’s issues on Capitol HIll, with several Members of Congress declaring bipartisan interest in introducing maternal, newborn, and child survival (MNCS) legislation on Mother’s Day 2015. MSH is actively engaged in supporting this effort and using our technical expertise to help ensure any proposed legislation is evidence‐based.To this end, MSH's Policy & Advocacy Unit recently joined the newly‐formed MNCS Working Group, a coalition of like-minded NGOs that are trying to build broader congressional su