Thoughts on the Passing of Dr. Paul Farmer

When I decided to concentrate on global health in 2011 and started Social Good Moms I learned immediately about Dr. Paul Farmer and the nonprofit he co-founded, Partners in Health. It is absolutely impossible to miss the immense contributions he made to the disciplines of global health, health inequality, and human rights for others to admire and aspire to, including me. He is the reason I decided to go to Haiti on my own to see the work other NGOs and nonprofit hospitals were doing for Haiti’s poor.

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Poor knowledge and practice around oxytocin could put women in Nigeria at risk during childbirth

Chioma S. Ejekam, University of Lagos and Chimezie Anyakora, Pan Atlantic University Severe bleeding after childbirth – postpartum hemorrhage – is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in middle-income countries. Oxytocin is an affordable and effective drug that’s recommended to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. But there are concerns about the quality of oxytocin available for use by healthcare workers in most low- and middle-income … Continue reading Poor knowledge and practice around oxytocin could put women in Nigeria at risk during childbirth

World Health Leaders Change Targets to Reach 2030 Maternal Health Development Goal

The COVID pandemic did much to upend global health. Not only were hospitals filled to overcapacity worldwide with patients experiencing severe COVID symptoms, but entire health systems were also brought to a halt. Routine medical procedures and quality care in other areas besides COVID were preempted by the global virus. This has caused global health goals to suffer, notably decreasing preventable maternal deaths.

This month the World Health Organization along with the UNFPA created new goals in order to get back on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3.1 –  reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births – by 2030. Right now, the estimates are at 211 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Currently, 810 women still die per day due to complications caused by pregnancy and childbirth. While this number is a drastic improvement from a decade ago there is still much to do in order to save more mothers’ lives not only in the United States but worldwide.

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Malaria Vaccine is Finally Approved for Widespread Rollout

Scientists have been working on an effective malaria vaccine for over 30 years and this month the latest iteration, the RTS, S vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline and largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was approved by the World Health Organization. ( W.H.O.)

Two years ago, clinical trials for the RTS,S vaccine rolled out in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana reaching 800,000 children under five with 2.3 million administered doses. Boasting a strong safety profile according to the W.H.O., the four-dose vaccine that fights against the Plasmodium falciparum parasite from female mosquitoes is advised to begin at five months of age. Scientists and health workers who worked on the clinical trials say the vaccine reduced hospital admission by 30% and “nearly halves the risk of severe malaria over a period of 18 months” according to clinical trial data.

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Company Launches Kickstarter to Reduce Feminine Hygiene Waste

Did you know that 19 billion single-use feminine hygiene products will be thrown out this year in the United States alone? Most will end up in our oceans and landfills. We can definitely do something about this. A Danish company, LastObject, is launching a Kickstarter tomorrow September 1 to help fund a brand-new reusable pad that will contribute to a more waste-free world. Funders will … Continue reading Company Launches Kickstarter to Reduce Feminine Hygiene Waste

Donate to Help Expecting Mothers in Haiti

It is difficult to believe how much Haiti is suffering. Not only was its president assassinated a little over a month ago, but a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit last weekend with a death toll now of over 1400. And, if that is not enough, a tropical storm is quickly barreling its way towards the island where mudslides will inevitably cause additional deaths, injuries, and property damage. This is all amid an interim government that has not gotten its bearings after President

I had the privilege of visiting Haiti once. That was five years after the devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed 200,000 and injured 300,000. Even after five years I could clearly see where buildings had not been rebuilt and rubble was still bulldozed into corners across Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

Then, I went to see the work of Midwives for Haiti whose dedication to quality maternity care in the poorest country in the western hemisphere I admire greatly. While Midwives for Haiti was not immediately affected by the earthquake, there will undoubtedly be an increased need for its help in the region because as its Executive Director, Jane Drichta, said in her most recent newsletter, “Haiti is a small nation and what affects one, affects all.”

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Women’s Empowerment Program Update Four Years On

This past week I was thinking about the time I spent in Nepal with Coca- Cola to see the devastation after the earthquake and the global brand’s response to it. The April 2015 4.5 magnitude earthquake upended lives and left cities in rubble. I saw much of it during our travels through Kathmandu and its surrounding towns. NGOs worked with their partners in the field … Continue reading Women’s Empowerment Program Update Four Years On

Netflix Documentary Explains Current Cuban Anti-Government Protests

Last weekend Cuba erupted in anti-government protests amid countrywide shortages of food and medicine, as well as constant power outages during one of the hottest months of the year. These protests aren’t new, but questions quickly arose about why the protests started this time. Depending on who you ask you’ll get a variety of answers. Some cite four years of strict sanctions under the Trump … Continue reading Netflix Documentary Explains Current Cuban Anti-Government Protests

Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Is still Under Attack

If you have followed my travels or have read my blog over the years you know that Ethiopia is my favorite country in the world. There is something about the people, the culture, its beauty and the sheer size of the country I love.  Even though I love Ethiopia I have never been under a grand illusion that it is a unified country. There have been mass arrests and killings in Oromia, journalist and freedom fighter imprisonments, and now a civil war with mass atrocities and forced starvation against the people of the Tigray region. In fact, just this week reports of an airstrike on a market near Tigray’s capital Mekele killed at least 64 people and wounded over 100. 

Even as war is still happening in Ethiopia’s northernmost region, its national election officially wrapped on Monday without voting in Tigray, of course. Now, ballots are being tallied across the country with the likelihood that the current prime minister Abiy Ahmend will be reelected.  

Women selling baskets in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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New Photos Show Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

Since last November, Ethiopia and Eritrea’s militaries as well as militia groups from Ethiopia’s Amhara region have imposed heavy atrocities on the country’s northern Tigray region. Reports from the ground from journalists and aid agencies reveal mass rapes, murders, and intentional starvation of 350,000 of the region’s 6 million people. Farmers are not being allowed to plant their crops and food trucks are being turned around at gunpoint.

Yesterday, the New York Times published photos by conflict photographer Lydnsey Addario who captured some of the sufferings in Tigray including rape survivors to children who have been caught in the crossfire.

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AFTER THE CEASEFIRE, THE FIGHT TO EMPOWER ARMENIA’S WOMEN CONTINUES

By Susan Klein 

In the fall of 2020, as the COVID-19 infection rate was peaking in Armenia, the country was rocked to its core by the outbreak of what has become known as the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War—which Armenia neither wanted nor was prepared for. By the time a ceasefire agreement was reached last November, with Armenian casualties in the thousands, the loss of strategic territory, the presence of Russian peacekeepers, and mass displacement of uprooted communities, few could take notice of another longstanding battle still underway—the fight for gender equality for Armenia’s women. 

Among those on the front lines of this socio-economic reckoning are a group of women daring to take the uncertain post-war situation into their own hands, with financial emancipation as the first step in leveling the playing field in commerce and business, and, ultimately, gaining influence in shaping Armenia’s future at a pivotal historic moment.

“Substantive decisions about national security and economic viability over the next critical five years must have the entire population pulling its weight,” says Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan, Assistant Professor at the American University of Armenia, Political Science and International Affairs Program. “That includes Armenia’s women, whose resilience and ingenuity during a time of national crises and severe loss are nothing short of astounding. Armenian women always played key roles in the fate of the nation, more so in recent years and months. Women’s participation was instrumental in the peaceful Velvet Revolution of 2018. Women are overrepresented in the healthcare and service sectors, so they are, literally, taking care of the nation’s needs, wounds, hurts and losses right now. Women are struggling to keep COVID-19 at bay and are nursing the nation back to life, with hopes and dreams of a better future.”

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The Universal Human Right to an Identity from Birth Explained

By Caroline Kinsella, Advocacy and Communications Intern, White Ribbon Alliance 

One of the more hidden human rights abuses around the world is the fact that one billion people have no legal proof of identity. Alarmingly, UNICEF estimates that about one in four children  under age 5, or 166 million, are unregistered and without any trace that they exist.  Conversations about reducing global poverty and protecting the health and human rights of  mothers and newborns must include the challenges of birth registration.

A single piece of paper has the power to transform a person’s future. Birth certificates are  necessary to access government services, life-saving medical treatment, a nationality and age related legal protections. Legal proof of birth is often required to attend school and apply  to higher education, as well as open a bank account and vote. Many of the individuals without a  birth certificate today are children who were never registered at birth. In some cases, nobody  knows for decades that a child does not have a birth certificate. 

In Uganda, Senfuka Samuel, who goes by Sam, applied for a master’s degree program that  required a birth certificate. As he did not have one, Sam had to venture to the hospital where he  was born. There, he discovered that hospital records before the year 2000, including any  proof of his birth, were destroyed in the civil war. Traveling hundreds of miles over two  weeks, Sam spent his own money to first get issued a necessary ‘birth notification’ – a slip of  paper with birth details handwritten by a midwife – to later gain a new legal birth certificate. 

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Biden Agrees to $4 Billion in Funding for Global Equitable Access to COvid Vaccines

Tomorrow at President Biden’s first G-7 meeting as commander-in-chief, an announcement will be made by the White Hourse outlining $4 billion in funding that will provide Covid vaccines to 92 low-and-middle income countries. Thus far, Covid vaccines have been made readily available to rich nations while poorer nations have previously been relegated to months-long delays. Now, with this infusion of money through a multilateral agreement, that wait will be substantially decreased.

Biden will use the G-7 to rally support and additional funding from fellow leaders. $2 billion of the funding will be released right away to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance with the remaining $2 billion depersed over the course of two years with the caveat that other rich countries make good on their pledges. The United States reentry in the global health community especially the World Health Organization is a stanch repudiation of Trump’s withdrawal from the world health’s governing body.

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5 Virtual Valentine’s Day Gifts to Help Mothers Worldwide

This year while we are all still mostly locked down due to Covid-19, there are ways in which we can donate to the issues we care about most. For SocialGoodMoms.com, our primary issue is mothers — always has been and always will be — and there are a vast majority of ways to help moms across the globe through donations this time of year.

Here are five organizations to donate to this Valentine’s Day to spread not only love, but maternal health and wellness.

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Black Pregnant Mother

2021 Black Maternal Health Legislation Updated With Covid-19, Climate Change Bills #Momnibus

In 2020, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) along with then California senator Kamala Harris introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a series of nine bills that took racial disparities out of the maternal health outcomes, funded communty-based maternal health organizations, improved data collection, and invested in digital health tools among other pertinent issues. While the legislation didn’t gain much traction, legislators believe it … Continue reading 2021 Black Maternal Health Legislation Updated With Covid-19, Climate Change Bills #Momnibus