Breastfeeding from birth to six months or a year can reduce deaths among children under five by 13 percent, a statistic that UNICEF is highlighting during World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through August 7, the International Business Times reports (DeNinno, 8/2).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog features an interview with Ellen Starbird, deputy director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID, and Judy Manning, health development officer in USAID’s Research, Technology and Utilization Division, who discuss “family planning and reproductive health issues, including new innovations and promising technologies still in the research stage.” Starbird says that funding for family planning programs is critical for “making possible for women in the developing world the kinds of choices that women all over the developed world have” (Donnelly, 8/1).
U.N. agencies “are shying away from the politically volatile topic [of abortion], despite mounting evidence that restricted abortion access contributes to maternal deaths and constitutes a violation of a woman’s human rights,” Women’s eNews reports.
PBS NewsHour on Monday profiled five projects to improve maternal and child health that are competing for a share of $14 million in research grants through the Saving Lives at Birth challenge.
The WHO “is pleased to join the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and many other partners in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 1 to 7 August 2011,” according to a statement from WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo. “This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of communication and the fact that…
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (.pdf), recently introduced in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), “would bar the use of U.S. foreign aid to restrict people’s liberty â€¦ [and] says that organizations accepting U.S. assistance cannot be forced to quash perfectly legal activities in return,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Latanya Mapp Frett writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece. She says the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent vote to reinstate and expand the so-called “global gag rule” would “foste[r] unintended pregnancy, increasing the need for abortion and endangering women’s health.”
The Wall Street Journal and the newspaper’s “India Real Time” blog published stories on Saturday examining India’s health care system. “Indian government officials say the country’s public health infrastructure is sorely deficient, but they argue it is improving because of several initiatives underway,” the blog reports. “They acknowledge the government has spent too little â€“ around 1 percent of gross domestic product â€“ on public health. But they say India will likely double that proportion to at least 2 percent in the five-year plan beginning in 2012,” the blog notes (Anand/Sahni/Sharma, 7/30).
“Half of the 340,000 deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes each year occur in Africa, almost all in anonymity,” the New York Times writes in an article profiling several cases of women who have died during childbirth in Ugandan hospitals.
Speaking at the Saving Lives at Birth Development Exchange at the State Department on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “prais[ed] innovators from around the globe for their work to protect the health and lives of mothers and children at birth, particularly in rural areas of the developing world,” IPP Digital reports (Babb, 7/28).
NPR’s KQED on Wednesday examined how France’s 60-year-old network of preventive health clinics for children and parents, which provides care free-of-charge, is being threatened by the nation’s flailing economy. “[W]hile it’s unlikely that France will abandon its maternal and child health programs, it remains an open question whether social changes and economic reality might intrude into such a sacred French ideal,” the article states (Varney, 7/27).