UNAIDS on Tuesday launched a new campaign “aimed at ending new HIV infections among children by 2015 and ensuring mothers living with HIV remain healthy,” Xinhua reports (5/8). “The campaign, ‘Believe it. Do it.,’ is part of a global plan of action that was adopted last year at the U.N. High Level Meeting on AIDS, when world leaders committed to end new HIV infections among children by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre writes (5/8). “Each year, about 390,000 children become newly infected with HIV and as many as 42,000 women living with HIV die from complications relating to HIV and pregnancy,” according to a UNAIDS press release (5/8).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Leading up to Mother’s Day on May 13, the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” section, in partnership with Mothers Day Every Day, an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance and CARE, is publishing opinion pieces from a diverse group of people. The following are summaries of two of those opinion pieces.
“Despite many gains in the fight against AIDS, children still lag far behind adults in access to important medical services, including HIV prevention, care, and treatment,” Jen Pollakusky, communications analyst at USAID’s Bureau of Global Health Office of HIV/AIDS, writes in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” noting that Monday marked the 10th anniversary of World AIDS Orphan Day. “By partnering with national governments, communities, and other organizations, USAID is committed to improving the lives of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS — a critical step in the path to achieving an AIDS-free generation,” she writes, adding “we need to step-up our early intervention efforts for children under five years old” and “work with families to help them become more economically stable so they can access essential services and better provide for their children” (5/7).
“New statistics show that the rate of child death across sub-Saharan Africa is not just in decline — but that decline has massively accelerated, just in the last few years,” Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in the center’s “Global Development: Views from the Center” blog, citing a paper released last week by Gabriel Demombynes and Karina Trommlerova in the Kenya office of the World Bank. Clemens provides “figures for some of the recent changes in rates of child death across the continent” and concludes, “This will be startling news for anyone who still thinks sub-Saharan Africa is mired in unending poverty and death” (5/4).
In his column, “The Common Good,” Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani interviews “former model, author and advocate for maternal and child health Christy Turlington Burns” regarding “the founding of her organization Every Mother Counts (EMC), lessons she’s learned around advocating for global change, her new campaign, titled ‘No Mother’s Day,’ advice to the class of 2012, and much more.” In the interview, Turlington Burns discusses the motivation behind EMC and her “advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally”; highlights her 2010 documentary “No Woman, No Cry”; and encourages others to visit the campaign’s website to find ways to get involved.
Save the Children’s 13th annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, released Tuesday, “shows Niger as the worst place to be a mother in the world — replacing Afghanistan for the first time in two years,” and ranks Norway as the best place to be a mother, according to a Save the Children press release. “The ranking, which compares 165 countries around the globe, looks at factors such as mothers’ health, education and economic status, as well as critical child indicators such as health and nutrition,” the press release notes (5/8). “In addition to its annual ranking, the charity’s report emphasized the issue of children’s nutrition,” Global News Desk writes, adding that the report “noted that one in four of the world’s children are chronically malnourished or stunted — with little access to proper nutrients” (Diao, 5/8).
“[I]n an exclusive interview with Newsweek,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed how “she has decided to make family planning her signature issue and primary public health a priority.” Gates said, “My goal is to get this back on the global agenda,” the news service writes. “Gates believes that by focusing on the lives of women and children, and by making it clear that the agenda is neither coercive population control nor abortion, the controversy over international family planning programs can be defused,” according to Newsweek.
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog notes that PEPFAR recently released its 8th annual report (.pdf) to Congress. “The five-page document outlines the program’s progress as of the end of fiscal year 2011 in various areas,” including the provision of antiretroviral treatment, care, and support; HIV testing and counseling for pregnant women; and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services, the blog notes. The report includes sections on “leading with science,” “smart investments,” “country ownership,” and “shared responsibility,” according to the blog (Mazzotta, 5/4).
KFF Issues New Brief On Statutory Requirements & Policies Governing U.S. Global Family Planning And Reproductive Health Efforts
The Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday released a new issue brief that “provides a summary of the major policies and statutory requirements governing U.S. participation in international family planning and reproductive health efforts,” according to the website. “These laws and policies collectively direct how funds are spent, which organizations receive funds and generally shape U.S. family planning and reproductive health activities around the world,” the website adds (5/3).
In a joint statement (.pdf), UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin and Agneta Bridges, secretary-general of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), recognize the International Day of the Midwife on May 5. “The right to health is a basic human right that every woman should enjoy. Yet, every day, almost 1,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth â€¦ One of the main causes for these tragedies is lack of access to maternity services, including the care of midwives or others with midwifery skills at childbirth,” they write, continuing, “Urgent action is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on child and maternal health before the target year of 2015, and investing in human resources for health, especially midwifery, is one the soundest investments a country can make to accelerate progress” (5/4).