This Sunday, March 22, is the United Nations’ World Water Day. 354 million people continue to not have access to clean, drinking water every day. This is a critical problem because dirty water causes a whole host of water-borne diseases that kill the smallest children, especially those under the age of five.
“Without access to clean water, the world’s poorest people will stay poor,” says the UN’s report on women and water. Women and children spend 140 million hours a day collecting water when those hours could be spent going to school, working, for leisure, or to take care of their families. Instead, women and girls in particular, walk for miles in some instances to get water for their entire family. In Africa and Asia, girls and children walk an average of 3.7 miles a day just to fetch water.
Merida, Philippines – I met Jocelyn Pingos, 27, in Merida, Leyte on a bright, sunny tropical day in the Philippines. A mother of four, Jocelyn sat outside her local health center and waited patiently to have her youngest, Lenith, 10 months, looked at because of a nagging cough. Her second youngest, Jelenia, 3, was also with her. Jocelyn’s other children who are 9 and 6 were attending school.
When Jocelyn delivered Lenith earlier this year, she and her husband decided that she should have a tubal ligation two months after her delivery.
“I have no plans to have any more children,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn delivered her two youngest, Jelenia and Lenith, at the local hospital. Her two oldest were delivered at home. “For the first two, the midwife came to my home,” Jocelyn remembered. “The midwife wasn’t available for the last two.”
Over the years I have had the distinct privilege of meeting health workers around the world from Ethiopia and Kenya to Tanzania and South Africa to India and Brazil. Health workers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are the unequivocal backbone of health systems that can oftentimes be severely taxed due to the overwhelming number of people who rely on them for care to the disarray of health systems’ frameworks coupled with a dismal lack of financial allocations to national health care.
Frontline health workers I have met throughout the years. Left to right: Angawadi workers in Delhi, a family planning health worker in Johannesburg, a member of the Health Development Army in Hawassa, Ethiopia, hospital administrators in Lusaka, Zambia, and nurses in Morogoro, Tanzania.
As our work continues to expand globally especially as the MDG deadline nears in 2015 we want to ensure that international voices are the cornerstone of our coverage of maternal, newborn, and child health worldwide. We are beginning with three correspondents: Winfred Ogdom, a nutritionist from Uganda, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a motherhood blogger and journalist from Nairobi, Kenya, and Midwives from Haiti, a NGO that is fighting maternal … Continue reading Introducing Our Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Correspondents
While her husband holds their youngest child, Twesigye Christente waits to receive a long-acting contraceptive at the Kinaaba Health Center II. Photo: UNFPA/Omar Gharzeddine This week Uganda held its first national family planning conference in Kampala. This is particularly significant because family planning has not always been pressing on the agenda of Uganda’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni. In fact, under Museveni’s 30 year leadership, Uganda’s population more than … Continue reading Uganda Holds First National Family Planning Conference
August 18, 2014 marks 500 days to reach the Millennium Development Goals, the set of goals signed into action in September 2000 to reduce extreme poverty in a variety of topic areas from eradicating poverty to ensuring environmental sustainability. MDG 4, or reduce child mortality, laid out a concrete goal to reduce child mortality by two-thirds starting with data collected from 1990. MDG 4 has yet … Continue reading Save the Date: Our Twitter Chat About #ChildHealth #MDG4 on August 18
Throughout the entire Mother’s Day month we will dedicate several posts to newborn and maternal health. We will feature programs and projects that are showing considerable progress in newborn health, are efficient and cost-cutting, and are even shaking up the newborn health and survival landscape with innovations in low-and middle-income countries. Even though it’s not May yet, we are happy to share with you what Rice … Continue reading Have You Heard How Rice University is Saving Newborns?
Every year the ONE campaign awards a leading African NGO $100,000 to continue its work towards poverty alleviation and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As an advocacy organization, ONE works strategically to change policies that affect the African continent. Gathering leading African voices is a top priority for ONE and rewarding African NGOs that help improve their regional communities is a way for them … Continue reading ONE Announces Six Finalists for the ONE Africa Award
Much of yesterday’s Women Deliver 2013 conversation centered around education for girls. Without at least a primary education girls in poor and middle income countries cannot properly contribute to their country’s economy nor to their household. Girls who are fortunate to prolong marriage are able to attend school longer than if they are married away by their family. Being married off instead of staying in school … Continue reading The Importance of Education for Girls
(Above) Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO , Global Fund for Women Storify by Social Good Moms Mon, May 27 2013 19:42:41 Key Tweets from Investing in Women’s Reproductive Health Session On the first day of the Women Deliver 2013 conference, here are key tweets we read during the plenary session: Investing in Women’s Reproductive Health Equals Investing in Economic and Social Progress for Everyone WatSanCollabCouncil@WatSanCollabCou … Continue reading Key Tweets from Investing in Women’s Reproductive Health Session #WD2013
The World Health Organization released its annual World Health Statistics report. In the report the WHO looked at all of its global regions to see how countries fared in various global data stats including maternal and child mortality, life expectancy, and health coverage as examples. “Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” says Dr Margaret Chan, … Continue reading The Narrowing Health Gap Between Rich and Poor Countries
Last Friday we participated in the UN Foundation’s digital rally toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We helped mark the 1000-day countdown to the MDGs and now that they are squarely in sight, there is much to do to ensure the goals are achieved. In reality, some won’t be met by the 2015 deadline and that is why global leaders have already met to develop … Continue reading A Compelling Case for a Justice Development Goal
This Friday, April 5, 2013, leading NGOs and Momentum 1000 partners will rally to spread awareness about the 1000-days countdown to the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2015. MDGs are the international development goals that were set by the United Nations and its partners in 2000 to improve the lives and health of people living in the world’s poorest countries. On Friday … Continue reading Join Us for the “Picturing Maternal Health” Twitter Chat
A premature baby is shown in the postnatal ward at Cama Hospital, a major hospital for women and children, in Mumbai, India. UN Photo/Mark Garten April 15 will kick off the first Global Conference on Newborn Health. Leading up to the mid-April conference sponsors (@mchipnet, @gatesfoundation @unicef, @savethechildren and @usaid) along with supporters (@jhpiego, @jsihealth, @laerdalmedical) will share newborn health and survival facts via Twitter. Additionally, … Continue reading Continuing the Newborn Health and Survival Conversation #Newborn2013
From April 15 – 18, 2013 the first global conference on newborn health, the Global Newborn Health Conference, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. On the agenda, maternal and newborn health experts, researchers, and NGOs will collaborate on innovative ways to scale high-impact interventions that will save more newborn lives globally ahead of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The conference … Continue reading Join the Global Conversation About Newborn Health #Newborn2013