Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health: Our Impact

{Photo Credit: Carmen Urdaneta/MSH}Photo Credit: Carmen Urdaneta/MSH

Mothers are caregivers, educators, leaders and decision-makers. And they are frontline health workers and first responders, safeguarding their families' and communities' health and well-being. Mothers do everything for their families. Even when pregnant, they travel for days, on foot or by boat, to give birth at the nearest health facility. They cradle their sick children as they wait to be seen by a doctor in a crowded hospital. Mothers work multiple jobs and save their earnings so they can buy medicines, clothing, food, and school tuition and books for their children.

{Photo credit: Jean Jacques Augustin}Photo credit: Jean Jacques Augustin

The Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality working group has written a letter to the editor of The Lancet, which was published in the February 18 edition of the journal. Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Senior Director of the FCI Program of MSH, represents MSH in the working group and co-wrote the letter.

 {Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Nurses from Nseke discuss collected data during their monthly monitoring meetingPhoto Credit: MSH Staff

In the vast, logistically challenging Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), health data are often incomplete, unreliable, or submitted too late to be of use to public health authorities. Health data for the Nseke health area (Kanzenze health zone) seemed at odds with what the health zone management team actually saw on monitoring and supervisory visits. On paper, it looked like the local health facilities were performing well. But community feedback and verification told a different story.

{Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Noëlla and her healthy newborn baby at the Kabindula health center.Photo Credit: MSH Staff

Noëlla Bitisho, 29, gave birth to her third child at the Kabindula Health Center in December 2015. As with her first two deliveries, this one was challenging, and it looked like there could be complications and possible hemorrhage. Maternal mortality remains high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at 846 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the most recently completed Demographic and Health Survey. Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in the country.

 {Photo Credit: Leslie Alsheimer}Nurses at health clinic Virgen del Lourdes Puesto de Salud in Lima, PeruPhoto Credit: Leslie Alsheimer

Catharine Taylor weighs in at STAT on President's reinstatement of Mexico City Policy

 {Photo Credit: Mohammad Hossain/MSH}Tama with her daughter Sangita, who received treatment for potentially fatal, pneumonia-related complications.Photo Credit: Mohammad Hossain/MSH

Tama, a resident of Parokhali village in the Khulna district of Bangladesh, was devastated when her 15-day-old daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia-related complications and needed treatment, including immediate oxygen support. Following instructions from the local doctor, she and her husband rushed their newborn to Khulna Shishu Hospital, situated eight kilometers from her village. Thanks to the oxygen supply system that had been recently installed at the hospital, baby Sangita received a steady flow of medical oxygen and recovered.

 {Landry Serges-Malaba/MSH}Fallone and her daughter Gracia (right) with Therese, head nurse at Dipeta HospitalLandry Serges-Malaba/MSH

Fallone Ntumba, a radio journalist in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was 24 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the Dipeta General Referral Hospital with a prematurely ruptured membrane. After three weeks in the hospital, Ntumba gave birth to a daughter. Baby Gracia weighed only three pounds, and Dipeta Hospital’s incubator had not worked in three years. Like many hospitals in DRC, they lacked the resources to replace or repair it when a part malfunctioned.

 {Cloteni Coulibaly/MSH}Dr. Fougnique Tuho, Head Doctor, Kaniasso Health CenterCloteni Coulibaly/MSH

"In 2010, I was shocked to meet a child whose whole future was at risk, just for lack of a birth certificate," said Dr. Fougnique Tuho, head doctor of Kaniasso Health Center in northern Côte d'Ivoire. "Without this piece of paper, a child could not even take the entrance examination for sixth grade."

 {Photo Credit: Leonard Razafimandimby/AIM}Herilalaina with his healthy 4-month old childPhoto Credit: Leonard Razafimandimby/AIM

In remote communities of Madagascar, the distribution of chlorhexidine, an antiseptic and disinfectant, by community health volunteers (CHVs) is a major innovation that greatly contributes to the reduction of child mortality. This umbilical ointment prevents deadly infections and eases the healing process.

Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman

MSH’s country representative for Kenya Spencer Ochieng spoke to Citizen TV yesterday about the successes and challenges Kenya faces in its effort to improve maternal health.  Maternal and newborn health in Kenya has drastically improved since 2013, when the government instituted a new policy of free maternal services at public hospitals. Since 2013, the number of deaths during childbirth each year has been reduced by one-third, and the number of women who deliver under the watch of a skilled health worker has nearly doubled, according to Citizen TV.

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