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Washington Post Examines Conditions Within Mogadishu Hospital

The Washington Post looks at the conditions within Banadir Hospital in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. “The scenes … reflect the immense challenge facing this Horn of Africa nation, already besieged by multiple woes, from civil war to radical Islamist militants to a weak transitional government incapable of governing effectively, despite massive support from the United States and its allies,” the newspaper writes (Raghavan, 9/7).

African Countries See Slow Progress In Reducing Maternal Mortality To Achieve MDG 5

Inter Press Service examines what some experts are calling a lack of commitment from health care workers, which they say is “among the reasons why Africa may not succeed in achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 on improving maternal health by 2015 by reducing maternal mortality by three quarters.” According to IPS, “Studies conducted by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) in East, West and Southern Africa found that most countries are struggling to provide universal access to reproductive health.”

Family Planning, Contraceptives A National Priority For Saving Women's Lives, U.N. Meeting Participants Say

First ladies, health and finance ministers, and parliamentarians from 12 developing countries participating in the U.N. Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security, which was launched in 2007, declared at a U.N. meeting held on Wednesday that “voluntary family planning, secured by a steady supply of contraceptives, is a national priority for saving women’s lives,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “More than 215 million women in developing countries want to avoid or space pregnancies but are not using modern methods of contraception, according to the UNFPA,” the news service writes.

Women Struggling To Find Truly Free Health Care In Sierra Leone's System, Amnesty International Report Says

“Sierra Leone’s free health care plan for pregnant women and young children is dysfunctional and hobbled by corruption and a lack of accountability,” according to a report (.pdf) released Tuesday by Amnesty International, Agence France-Presse reports. The nation’s free health care program for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five years old was launched in April 2010 with support from UNICEF, the World Bank, the WHO and the U.K. Department for International Development, AFP notes (9/6).

Study Shows Household Ownership Of ITNs Associated With Lower Child Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa

“Children who live in households that own at least one insecticide-treated bed net (ITNs) are less likely to be infected with malaria and less likely to die from the disease, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington,” published today in PLoS Medicine, according to an IHME press release (9/6).

Save The Children Index Measures Reach Of Health Care Workers, Ranks Best And Worst Countries For Child Health

A new index (.pdf) released Tuesday by Save the Children measures the nationwide reach of health workers and ranks the best and worst countries for a child to fall sick in, with Chad and Somalia at the bottom and Switzerland and Finland at the top, according to a Save the Children press release (9/6). According to the analysis, “[c]hildren living in the 20 countries at the bottom of the index … are five times more likely to die than those further up the index, Save the Children said,” AlertNet reports (Batha, 9/6). The study also highlights countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, according to Reuters (Kelland, 9/6).

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Urges Men To Take Larger Role In HIV Prevention

“Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday opened a national HIV and AIDS conference with a call for the nation’s men to take a larger role in the response to the deadly pandemic, not only for their own health but that of women and children,” VOA News reports (Gumbo, 9/5). Speaking at the conference, Mugabe said, “The role of men in society is unquestionable. It is for this reason that men should take their place in the HIV response, both for their own health as well as in support of women and children … and it is not just treatment, but also a fact of discipline,” Zimbabwe’s Herald writes (9/6).

WHO African Region Member States Have Challenges To Meet MDGs, WHO/AFRO Director Says

Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.

Genetic Factor Found In Link Between H1N1 Flu Vaccine And Children's Narcolepsy, Finland Institute Says

“Finland’s national health institute said on Thursday its latest research on previously found links between children’s narcolepsy and GlaxoSmithKline’s [GSK] Pandemrix vaccine against [H1N1] swine flu also involved a genetic risk factor,” Reuters reports. In Finland, where 98 narcolepsy cases have been reported following the flu vaccinations, researchers found vaccinated children ages four to 19 “had a 12.7 times higher risk of experiencing narcolepsy than those who were not,” the news agency notes (9/1).

The 'Pressing Need' To Save The Lives Of Women And Newborns In India

In this post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, the second in a multi-week series, Joy Lawn, director of Evidence and Policy for the Saving Newborn Lives program of Save the Children, and Kate Kerber, the Africa regional specialist with Saving Newborn Lives at Save the…