For decades, there has been consistent chatter, research, and hope for a potential malaria vaccine. Now, all three are finally coming to fruition to roll out the world’s first clinical malaria vaccine trials. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have been chosen for the WHO-coordinated pilot implementation program that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine … Continue reading Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials
The word is getting out that maternal and newborn mortality are an ever-increasing problem in the United States. As I have written before, the United States has the highest ratio of maternal mortality of any developed country in the world and yet we spend the most on health care globally.
While many (including scientists and health professionals) don’t know concretely why maternal mortality is continuing to rise in the US, the fact remains that the problem is not getting better. In fact, it is incrementally getting worse. In fact, according to recent findings from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation the United States has a maternal mortality rate of 18.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the U.S., up from 12.4 deaths per 100,000 births in 1990.
Companies such as Merck that launched Merck for Mothers and Texts4Baby, for example, are working on innovative ways to reach and inform mothers about how they can be as healthy as possible during and after childbirth. Additionally, grassroots organizations and birthing centers like Florida’s CommonSense Childbirth and Arizona’s The Birthing Project are working in communities to help mothers and their newborns stay alive.
I feel overwhelming gratitude for the many mothers in my life – the mother that raised me, the mother that raised my fabulous husband, the mother of my three children created thru egg donation and the Korean and Chinese mothers that gave birth to my daughters and then made the difficult decision to place them for adoption. I have always imagined what their life would have been if, instead of completing reams of paperwork and writing checks for large sums of money, we had worked to provide for their original families so that they would have been able to be raised in their country of origin. That venture is much more difficult and involves a more long-term world view than a short-term individualistic approach. But that is exactly what the founders of Second Mile Haiti are trying to achieve. We were fortunate to spend a few hours touring their expanding facility on our last day in Haiti.
The founders of Second Mile Haiti are Jenn Schenk and Amy Syres, two young women who had a vision to create a sustainable option for families who were previously relinquishing their malnourished children to care centers, where the children were either placed for international adoption or reunified back into their impoverished families after their malnutrition was corrected. It didn’t seem right that the only available way to help these families was to take their kids from them. We really had to ask ourselves if there wasn’t some sort of alternative” says Amy, regarding the experiences that led the co-founders to start Second Mile Haiti.
Dar es Saalam, Tanzania – Throughout my travels in Tanzania for the past ten days every time I saw a mother and her baby I smiled inside. And I was even more happy to see mothers breastfeeding their babies as breastfeeding has been proven to be a key intervention to keep more children under the age of five alive in developing countries. Tanzania, unfortunately, is … Continue reading [Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ
Last week Melinda Gates, the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote on Impatient Optimists that the most important statistic in the world is the rate of child survival. It is one of the only health statistics that improves year after year. 300,000 more children are alive this year than last and you can be assured that based on 50 years of research, even more … Continue reading Why Child Survival Rates Continue to Improve
Last week the Global Newborn Health Conference took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the first conference to gather leading experts and NGOs together working to reduce newborn mortality, one solid, unified voice emerged committed to saving more newborn lives not in lip service, but rather in actionable ideas and steps to reach Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 by 2015. Reaching MDG4 globally is a daunting task to be … Continue reading 4 Ways You Can Help Save Newborn Lives
If you missed our piece about Day 1 of India’s Child Survival Summit on the Gates Foundation blog, Impatient Optimists, you can read it at The Most Important Conversation This Week: India on the Survival of its Children. You might recall our coverage of the Child Survival Summit that was held in Washington, DC last year. Convened by the Ministries of Health of Ethiopia and … Continue reading Day 2 Social Media Highlights from India’s Child Survival Summit #C2AIndia
This week child survival is under critical review in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the African Leadership for Child Survival – A Promise Renewed summit. This meeting, held at the African Union headquarters and convened by the Ethiopian government along with UNICEF and USAID brought together African Ministers of Health to enter into discussions about markedly improving child survival rates. The summit ends Friday. Between 1990-2011 … Continue reading Under Five Child Survival Under Microscope at Summit
Today in the developing world over 11,000 children – especially those under the age of five – will die. These deaths are largely caused by preventable disease and neonatal conditions that can also be prevented. In all, that number totals 4.4 million children a year. That number, while explosively high, is significantly down 70 percent from 20 years ago. Now, the global health community is … Continue reading Child Survival: Now on the Global Agenda
If you keep up with MDG (Millennium Development Goals) news it would seem unfathomable that a report would emerge from Sub-Saharan African that infant and child mortality has fallen within recent years. The Millennium Development Goal 4 says that child mortality should be reduced by 2/3 in the developing world by 2015, which comes to 4.4% per year per country. In a previous post I … Continue reading Child Mortality Rates Fall in Sub-Saharan Africa