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Opinion Pieces Published In Advance Of 'Child Survival Call To Action' Event To Take Place In Washington

The following are summaries of several opinion pieces published in anticipation of the Child Survival Call to Action event to be held on June 14-15 in Washington, D.C. Convened by the governments of the United States, Ethiopia and India, and organized in close collaboration with UNICEF, the event will focus on ending preventable child death through the survival of newborns, children and mothers and will convene 700 prominent leaders from government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and civil society to kick off a long-term, focused effort to save children’s lives.

Tackling Diarrhea, Pneumonia Could Save 2M Children, According To UNICEF Report

“Two million of the world’s poorest children could be saved by introducing routine vaccination programs against diarrhea and pneumonia,” according to a new report (.pdf) from UNICEF, BBC News reports (6/8). “Pneumonia and diarrhea account for nearly one-third of the deaths among children under five globally,” the Guardian writes, adding, “Nearly 90 percent of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia” (Tran, 6/8). The report “identifies a tremendous opportunity to narrow the child survival gap both among and within countries by increasing commitment, attention and funding,” according to a press release from UNICEF (6/8).

Family Planning Summit Next Month 'Could Mark Turning Point For Maternal Health'

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin discusses a family planning summit to be held in London next month, writing the UNFPA “is supporting the initiative so that it can gain traction and support among other donors and UN member countries.” He writes, “More than 200 million women, largely in the least developed countries, want to use modern family planning methods but can’t access them,” and continues, “Enabling women to control the number and spacing of their children is essential to reducing maternal deaths.” The summit, co-hosted by the U.K. government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “will be launched to meet this unfilled need for modern family planning in developing countries by tackling the estimated $3.6 billion (£2.3 billion) annual shortfall in investment (.pdf),” he adds.

Forbes Interviews UNFPA Executive Director Regarding Global Progress In Reducing Maternal Mortality

In this post in the Forbes “Leadership” blog, contributor Rahim Kanani interviews U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin about a report titled “Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010” — released by UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank in May — “which shows that the annual number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth has dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000, a decline of 47 percent.” Among other topics, they discuss key findings of the report, highlight which regions of the world made the most progress, and note some of the “most promising interventions to reduce the number of women around the world dying in childbirth” (6/7).

Political Will, Health Concerns, Increased Funding Driving Family Planning In Africa, Report Says

The Nairobi-based African Institute for Development Policy on Tuesday presented a report called “Africa on the Move!” at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, VOA News reports, noting the report “says that in some African countries, political will, maternal and child health concerns as well as more and more funding are helping to develop effective family planning.” According to VOA, “Steve McDonald, the host of the event and Africa director at the Wilson Center, said partnerships between governments and religious organizations, which sometimes provide the bulk of health services in remote areas, are also crucial.”

Agence France-Presse Examines Abortion Debate In Morocco

Agence France-Presse examines the abortion debate in Morocco, where “voices calling for a repeal of the [country’s] ban on abortion are growing louder,” according to the news service. “The debate over abortion is just the latest front of an ongoing conflict between conservative supporters of traditional values and more liberal, reform-minded campaigners,” the news service writes. “‘We are going in all directions. It is difficult to move forward with a conservative government,’ [Fauzia Assouli, president of the Federation of the Democratic League of Women’s Rights] told AFP,” the news service notes. “But at the same time, she said, there was a growing sense of awareness, a sense of momentum among activists,” AFP writes. The news service adds, “A national congress will be held on June 12 in Rabat, under the auspices of the Moroccan Association for the Fight against Clandestine Abortion, headed by Professor Chafik Chraibi,” a renowned gynecologist in the country (Mamarbachi, 6/4).

Guardian Examines High Incidence Of Drowning Deaths Among Children In Bangladesh

“Bangladesh, a country crisscrossed with rivers and canals, has one of the highest drowning rates in the world,” the Guardian reports. “More than 17,000 Bangladeshi children drown every year — nearly 50 a day, according to the Bangladesh health and injury survey [.pdf], conducted in 2003,” the news service writes. “A report by UNICEF and the Alliance for Safe Children (Tasc) has found that the cause of death in roughly one in four children who die between one and 10 years of age is drowning,” making “drowning the leading killer of children in Bangladesh, overtaking diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia,” the Guardian adds.

'Saving Mothers' Initiative 'First Concrete Expression' Of How GHI Can Change The Way The U.S. Operates In Global Health Arena

In this post in the Global Post’s “Global Pulse” blog, Janet Fleischman, a senior associate at the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reports on the “Saving Mothers, Giving Life” initiative, launched by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. She describes the project as “an ambitious, dynamic effort by the U.S. government to increase efficiency, spur innovation, and ensure impact in a fundamental area of global health” and writes, “If successful, ‘Saving Mothers’ will be an important dimension of Clinton’s legacy as Secretary, lifting the lives of women, families, and communities around the world.”

Senate Passes Preventing Child Marriage Act

In this post in Management Sciences For Health’s (MSH) “Global Health Impact” blog, Chanell Hasty, policy and advocacy coordinator of MSH’s Office of Strategic Development and Communications, reports on the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (S. 414), writing, “Key tenets of the Senate bill include expanding investments at the community level to empower girls, promoting community understanding about the harmful impact of marriage, and requiring the U.S. government to develop a strategy to prevent child marriage.” Noting the bill passed on the Senate floor by way of voice vote on May 24, Hasty adds, “If passed by both chambers of Congress, the U.S. government will be committed to policy that protects girls from marriage on a global scale” (6/1).

USAID Administrator Shah Addresses Fight Against HIV In Children

In this post in the blog, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah discusses global efforts to end HIV infections in children. “Together with PEPFAR, our efforts have made a significant difference in promoting access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services, helping to cut new pediatric infections in half in the past decade,” Shah writes, adding “We’ve also helped support 9.8 million pregnant women with HIV testing and counseling and provided PMTCT services to more than 660,000 HIV-positive women. As a result, approximately 200,000 infants were born free of HIV” (6/1).