All posts tagged: Maternal Health

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Postpartum Depression and the Danger of ‘Bad Mom’ Stigma

“I felt so trapped, like I had a made a huge mistake in having my child.” It’s heart-wrenching to imagine any mother having to say these words about her own child merely days after giving birth. But while interviewing Serena*, a young, resilient, postpartum depression (PPD) survivor last year, I was taken by surprise by this phrase. Serena’s story about her struggles as a mother suffering from PPD were poignant. From difficulties getting out bed and taking care of herself, to a severe emotional disconnection from her own child and family, Serena suffered for weeks after giving birth to her first child. She felt unsupported and, after hearing accounts of mothers who were enjoying motherhood, she soon labeled herself a “bad mom” which caused her depression to deepen further. It was not until she found a support group with other women going through similar struggles that she regained her strength and spirits. In the peer group, she found solace in knowing she wasn’t alone and that she was not indeed, a bad mother. The women who …

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My Attempts at Facilitating Change in Rural India

In my final year of medical school, as I was reading a chapter on Maternal and Child Health, I came across a table of mortality rates elaborating the health status of mothers and children of my country. They were dismal and though I could see that progress had been made, to my 20 year old brain, it seemed insufficient and too slow to be accepted. After all, these were lives and not just numbers! The rural-urban difference made the figures look worse. I was restless. How could I bridge this gap? I reasoned – a woman was the base of the society’s pyramid and if I could do something to strengthen her I could attempt to address this gap. I was also convinced that since most of India’s population lived in rural areas, in order to make a significant impact, I should focus on rural areas. Though I had been reared in a city and had never seen what a village looked like, I was ready to learn along the way. Itching to materialise this dream, …

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The Vital Need for Data to Improve Maternal Health

Globally and daily, around 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth – equivalent to nearly 35 women an hour. This results in over 300 000 maternal deaths each year – deaths that could be prevented if adequate care was provided. Skilled care before, during and after birth has been identified as one of the key strategies to reducing maternal deaths, a care that 25% of women still do not have access to. Bernice lives with her father and her four younger siblings in a small rural village in the north of Burundi. Her family, along with eight out of ten Burundians, live below the poverty line, and they depend fully on their household food crop production for their survival. Due to several droughts lately, they are currently facing severe food shortage. Bernice is pregnant with her first child, and even though she’s more than half way through her pregnancy, she hasn’t yet seen a doctor. She is severely malnourished, putting both her and her baby at an elevated risk of complications. Two years …

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Four ways we’re making progress toward the Global Goals

This week marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Global Goals. As the global development community convenes in New York City for the United Nations’ General Assembly week, what better time to reflect on progress? In a country where, on average, one woman will die every hour from mostly preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth1, Tanzania is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. The good news: thanks to your support and the dedicated team on the ground, lives are being saved. We are making progress toward the Global Goals. 1. Empowering Medical Teams to Save Lives. Dar es Salaam is one of the largest, and fastest growing cities in Africa, with a population projected to exceed 7 million by 20252. Today, a healthcare system designed to support 750,000 people is supporting 4.4 million. Hospitals and clinics throughout the region are severely overcrowded, understaffed, and under resourced, with patients suffering as a result. Our sister organization, CCBRT, recognized that healthcare teams in the Dar es Salaam region were …

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Obstetric Fistula and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN General Assembly convenes in New York this week. On the agenda: discussion of the first Sustainable Development Goals Report, published in July 2016, which notes impressive gains made over the last few decades. But it is also a reminder that these gains aren’t shared by all. “Between 1990 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 44 percent.” —The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 In Bangladesh, where Fistula Foundation actively funds fistula treatment, the maternal mortality ratio decreased by 69 percent between 1990 and 2015. But in rural areas of Bangladesh, where there is limited or no access to health facilities, unattended home births are still common, putting women at risk for death or injuries during childbirth. With over 65 percent of the country’s population living in rural areas, that means many Bangladeshi women are still at risk. Women like Ayesha. Ayesha’s story Ayesha labored at home for seven days. She desperately needed medical care, but there was no way to reach help. Stormy weather made it impossible to leave the small …

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The 2030 Promise: Multi-sector Partnerships Vital to Advancing Human Health

Johnson & Johnson strives to make a significant impact on people’s lives. After the new Sustainable Development Goals were adopted, JNJ has focused its efforts on galvanizing partners, mobilizing employees and engaging communities with the goal of impacting millions of more lives within the next 15 years. Johnson & Johnson has showed steadfast commitment to advancing human health at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly and hosted a side event titled: “A Roadmap to Advance Human Health: Catalyzing Multi-sector Partnerships in an interconnected SDG Agenda”, aimed at showcasing Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing how the commitments would be measured. This commitment, titled “2030 Promise”, outlines JNJ’s vision for 2030 and the five areas JNJ will focus their efforts on. These are: Environmental Health Global Disease Challenges Essential Surgery Women’s and Children’s Health Health Workforce Johnson & Johnson’s aspiration is to help create a world where every woman and child survives and has an opportunity for a healthy future, and to do this, JNJ’s goal is to ensure that 60 million …

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White Ribbon Alliance: Passionate Citizens Changing Communities

Girls’ Globe bloggers have had the opportunity to meet with and speak to Midwives and Citizen Journalists from Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe, who are working with White Ribbon Alliance to strengthen the rights and health of women and children, and to change communities so that they thrive. Caroline Maposhere, Zimbabwe Caroline Maposhere is a Registered Nurse, nurse midwife and a public health nurse with Bachelor of Theology and Master of Science in Counseling studies. She has extensive experience working in reproductive health including counseling young people, parents and religious leaders on sexual diversity and training health care providers on how to be sensitive to the needs of LGBTI people. Caroline has vast training experience including being US Peace Corps Pre service Technical Trainer in more than 10 countries. She is well-known as “Aunty” on radio, TV and church programs for sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe and is a member of the Board of Trustees for White Ribbon Alliance Zimbabwe. Elman Nsinda, Uganda A journalist and advocate for women’s and children’s health and rights, Elman Nsinda has been involved in safe motherhood advocacy campaigns across the Uganda …

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Midwife By Choice, Not By Chance

This post was written by George Nkhoma. My name is George Nkhomo and I work as a nurse and midwife in the rural district of Chitipa in Malawi.  I grew up as a house boy, not knowing my real family. Then, after searching for my roots I learned that my mother died while giving birth to me. At that point I knew I wanted to do something to help other mothers and ultimately decided to become a midwife. I have been committed to make a difference for other mothers and babies ever since. Malawian Midwives are among the most passionate and hardworking midwives in the world. In my District, most health centres operate with one midwife per facility. Most of these are dual qualified, which means they single handedly deliver all nursing and midwifery services to the whole catchment population. This means that providing services day and night, all month round, all year round is entirely his or her call. I am yet to know of another profession – in Malawi or beyond – that …

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Maternal Mortality and Me: I Beat the Odds, But Many Women Don’t

This post was written by Denise Dunning, Founder and Executive Director of Rise Up – pictured here with Rise Up staff.  “Your blood pressure is running high, but we’ll watch it to make sure you don’t develop preeclampsia. You should be fine,” my doctor told me when I was 30 weeks pregnant with my third child. As I sat on the examining table, my palms started to sweat. This pregnancy had been a rough ride already – first trimester genetic testing showed that my baby had elevated risk of Down syndrome and I developed gestational diabetes during my second trimester. I lay awake worrying most nights, and still started most mornings with my head in the toilet. But all that, I had a feeling, would seem easy compared to the road ahead. My first two children were born without medical intervention, and now the prospect of an induction and related complications now loomed large in my mind. Working in the field of women’s health, I already knew all too well that the most dangerous thing …

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Breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals

Breastfeeding is an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can be mirrored in not only the most obvious ones – like Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being – but in many (if not all) of the other goals. Its impact and benefit for the baby, mother and thus society as a whole might not be the main target of the goal, but indirectly many linkages can be recognized. Breast milk is, and always has been free. The costs for formula on the other hand, can have huge impact on a household’s budget. Our babies don’t need anything else – not even water – for the first six months of their lives, if they are exclusively breastfed (of course, there are always exceptions to the rule). With adequate information and support, nearly all mothers can breastfeed their children, no matter their financial situation. What an amazing, effective and inexpensive intervention in the battle to end poverty! Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being are essential goals towards global sustainability and equality, and they …