Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health: Our Impact

Dr. Stanekzai, Afghanistan.Dr. Stanekzai, Afghanistan.

The 2010 Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS 2010) is Afghanistan's first comprehensive mortality survey. Implemented by the Afghan Public Health Institute (APHI), the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), and the Central Statistics Organization (CSO), the national survey represents over 22,000 households, covering 87 percent of the total Afghan population. In addition to data on mortality and cause of death for mothers, children, and all adults, the survey includes data on fertility, family planning, and on the utilization of maternal and child health services.

A midwife in Wardak province takes the blood pressure of her patient. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Midwives can decrease the risk of mother or infant dying during childbirth. For many expectant mothers in Afghanistan, especially those in rural provinces such as Maidan Wardak, a midwife is the only health care provider they may ever know, since traditional beliefs prevent women from being treated by male doctors. For three years, the thousands of women in Maidan Wardak province’s mountainous communities essentially had no access to health care, because there were no midwives in the province’s nine different health facilities. Maternal and infant deaths were common.

Women and children gather in Tambura, South Sudan. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Women throughout the world face a stacked deck when it comes to health. They bear and raise children, perform taxing housework, and often take primary responsibility for cultivation and harvesting – all of which make them vulnerable to health complications. But they are usually not the primary decision makers in the household, even when it comes to their own health.

Globally, pregnant women still continue to suffer and die from postpartum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia – when a women has dangerously high blood pressure levels (pre-eclampsia) which can lead to fatal seizures (eclampsia) -- even though there are proven therapies that can prevent and treat these conditions.In 2010, the United Nations (UN) first launched the Every Woman, Every Child initiative to help save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015 – in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

President Águida Curo Vicaña, holding the orange HCM Toolkit, stands with women members of the Local Development Committee of Tutumbaru. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

In rural Peru, women are rarely in official positions of power. In fact, certain public health issues – family planning, maternal health and child health -- are considered "women's issues." The Peru Healthy Communities and Municipalities II (HCM II) project, funded by USAID and led by Management Sciences for Health, is trying to shift these patterns in 500 rural Peruvian communities.The people of Tutumbaru, one Amazonian community in central Peru where narcotrafficking is common, are already experiencing changes.

Goodness Dlamini (right), a "mentor mother", outside the Lamvelase clinic in Manzini, Swaziland. {Photo credit: Josh Chuttergoon/MSH.}Photo credit: Josh Chuttergoon/MSH.

"I want to see more women living like me, moving away from being sickly to living a healthy, productive life."This is what keeps Goodness Dlamini going as a "mentor mother." Goodness, 39-years old, supports and educates pregnant women and mothers on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) at Lamvelase Clinic in Manzini, the largest city in Swaziland.

Left to Right: Annick Supplice Dupuy, Deputy Director for Haiti, Population Services International and Diana Silimperi, Vice President, Center for Health Services, MSH (Photo credit: MSH) On Monday, January 30, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and partners held an event to observe the second anniversary of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti—one of the most devastating to ever hit the island.

Peru Personal de salud durante entrevista. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

In Peru, women of reproductive age represent a full quarter of the population -- which means there are about 6.75 million women with potential family planning needs.  In the region of San Martín, 29.4 percent of women do not use any method of family planning; in the regions of Ayacucho and Ucayali, the percentage increases to 30.3 percent and 33.1 percent respectively.

Issakha Diallo. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

The USAID Action for West Africa Region project (AWARE II) is expanding the use of regional best practices in family planning and reproductive health, HIV & AIDS, and maternal, neonatal and child health through creating positive policy environments, training regional institutions, and leveraging funding.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH),  welcomed remarks delivered last week by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that cited global health as a strong pillar of US leadership and called for the creation of an "AIDS-free generation." "In order to create an 'AIDS-Free Generation,' the key is to support a robust health systems approach to all global health problems, " said Scott Kellerman, MD, MPH, Global Technical Lead, HIV, at MSH.

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