Gordon Alexander, director of the office of research at UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, writes in this post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” that a series published in Friday’s Lancet on early child development (ECD) shows “that the payoff from concerted, integrated action around ECD would be enormous.” Additional focus on and investment in ECD, particularly in the areas of nutrition, maternal and family health, and poverty alleviation, would help children reach their full potential in adulthood, which means “investing in ECD now will quite literally yield billions of dollars in later years,” he says.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
NPR’s Tell Me More on Friday interviewed Sierra Leone First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma about her work aimed at improving maternal health in her country. Koroma was in New York attending the African First Ladies Fellowship Program “that brings together Western European and American first ladies with their African counterparts for an exchange of ideas and best practices,” according to the program. Since implementing free health care, “Sierra Leone has seen a 214-percent increase in the number of children under five getting care in health facilities and a 61-percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases in health clinics,” Tell Me More reports, statistics that Koroma said are due to “the participation of all of us” (Martin, 9/23).
A panel hosted by the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council on Monday called for “a boost of aid for women in developing countries such as Somalia to help them control their fertility,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Somalia has the eighth highest birth rate in the world, and the average family has seven children,” the news agency notes, adding that “one percent of married women in Somalia have access to modern contraception, … according to data compiled by the Population Reference Bureau.”
USAID and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a manufacturer of health and hygiene products, on Tuesday announced “they will work together to improve maternal and child health in the Andean region, starting in Colombia and Ecuador,” according to a USAID press release. Combining the U.S. government’s Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives…
IRIN examines maternal and child health in “conflict-afflicted eastern Myanmar, [where] until recently obstetric care was often crude, unsterile and dangerous for both mother and child, health experts say.” To address high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the region, “in 2005 several CBOs, the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University, and the Global Health Access Program launched the Mobile Obstetric Medics (MOM) project — dramatically boosting access to care,” IRIN writes.
USAID on Thursday made several announcements as part of its Public-Private Partnership Week: The agency and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) “announced that they will work together to strengthen social, economic and environmental development in coffee growing communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean,” according to a press release (10/20). …
“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’s top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. Following a five-day visit to North Korea, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help,” as they do not have access to protein- and nutrient-rich foods, according to the AP.
In his BBC News column, medical correspondent Fergus Walsh examines maternal health, fertility, myths surrounding contraception, and gender equality in Zambia, which “has one of the world’s fastest growing populations.” With the nation’s population expected to triple to 39 million people by 2050 and reach 100 million by 2100, “[t]he potential problem for Zambia is that the population increase is so rapid that the government may struggle to keep pace. Those under 16 need education, healthcare and homes but they are not yet contributing to the economy. Zambia can barely feed 13 million people so how will it cope in the future?” Walsh writes (10/24).
In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Amanda Makulec, a monitoring and evaluation associate with John Snow Inc., discusses “the Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health, which was born over a year ago to support progress towards MDGs four and five in 10 priority countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia,…
The Ministry of Health of South Sudan and UNFPA, working through the Capacity Placement of International United Nations Volunteer Midwives Project, has deployed 18 midwives throughout South Sudan since December 2010, when the program began, the Sudan Tribune reports. South Sudan, where 2,054 per 100,000 women die during labor, according to figures from the health ministry, has fewer than 100 midwives for a population of more than eight million people, Minister of Health Michael Milli Hussein said, the newspaper notes. Midwives and others involved in the project are meeting in Juba this week to discuss progress and goals, the Tribune writes (10/25).