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Those who read our blog know that we are very focused on anemia-- and for good reason (we think). Despite increasing efforts to diagnose and treat anemia worldwide, anemia affects 28% of the global population. And for the specific populations of greatest interest to the Maternova team, anemia is of tremendous relevance-- affecting as much as 42% of pregnant women and 47% of preschool aged children internationally.
But did you know that diagnosing anemia in pregnancy requires some additional information and different cutoff points? Did you know that there are trimester specific cutoff rates for anemia? Read on!
Anemia is accompanied by symptoms including weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and
an unusual rapid heart beat. Health consequences heavily afflict pregnant women, leading to poor pregnancy outcomes and contributing to 20% of maternal deaths. Preferably, anemia is diagnosed through a complete blood count (CBC) assessment. In developing countries, methods of administering this test are costly and unattainable. Efficient testing methods have been developed in order to diagnose anemia in developing countries and primarily rely on analysis of hemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin (Hb) is a protein that is contained in red blood cells. Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, which causes insufficient Hb resulting in an inadequate delivery of oxygen to cells in the body.
Haemoglobin levels are subject to...
In the video, the Haitian child was listless: his eyes were sunken and his shriveled body was limp. His mouth curled, turtle-like, to prepare to cry, but no tears came. A gloved hand, arm hairs poking out, reached for the skin around the child’s abdomen. The hand of the clinician pulled gathered skin to form a sinusoid mound. Then, instead of snapping into place as skin normally does, the mound slowly melted back like silly putty. The words “SKIN PINCH” scrolled across the bottom of the video.
The skin pinch is one of the main diagnostic criteria for testing severe dehydration. In those severe cases in which the body has lost more than 15% of essential fluids, the little fluid left in the body rushes to the skin to cause the counterintuitive effect of swelling. Taped during a cholera epidemic in Haiti, this CDC video was showing how to best manage dehydration. The child had become severely dehydrated from the watery diarrhea that is a common and deadly symptom of cholera infection. By the end of the video, thanks to provision of the best possible treatment, the child was healthy and alert.
This “best practice” is something Calcutta Kids is replicating in the slums of Fakir Bagan with the new Rehydration Unit. The Rehydration Unit allows us to tackle the terrible effects of diarrhea on the children under the age of three in our area. I reviewed over this CDC video to train our community health workers to diagnose and deliver key messages in the Rehydration...
This is a short story about Life for African Mothers connecting the dots-- for compassionate providers and women in the lowest resource countries.
When we first spoke to Angela Gorman of Life for African Mothers we were really intrigued by her model and inspired commitment to women globally. First, like Maternova, she was interested in connecting Product A to Point B. She realized that women were dying, thousands each day, for lack of a tiny pill that costs just 30 cents.That pill? misoprostol. With bureaucracy and counterfeiters making it nearly impossible to obtain locally, Angela devised a brilliant plan to carry in this lifesaving medicine in person.
But with all great plans that are hatched, there's always details to consider; like should she open a clinic in country, or carry in small quantities through her own donation, Neither of these options struck Angela as the right one.
Angela's model was to raise funds to send the misoprostol tablets directly to trusted health personnel. It was devilishly simple. Why trusted health personnel? She needed to find people who had only an interest in saving women's lives-- not in reselling the pills or using them for relatives or letting them simply sit on the office shelves.
We were very intrigued. And furthermore, Life for African mothers has a very interesting philosophy-- they do not share with women the fact that these medicines were donated from another country. They do not want the women...
Since I graduated with my Master of Public Health in 2012, I have been working at a community-based program in infectious disease epidemiology. It is not the global focused job I had originally hoped for, but I was newbie in the public health sectors (who were heavily walloped by budget cuts at the time) and was happy to get a job in public service that fell in line with my future goals. While I am still entirely content at my current position, I find myself frequently daydreaming about the day when I will return to Cambodia and continue to improve the health of those people I met during my public health field study in 2011. Needless to say, this experience transformed me into a more passionate person and is one of the fundamental reasons I find myself back at Maternova today.
Village to village we went for three months and inspected maternal and child health clinics for adequate and accessible management, services, resources, and hygiene. It did not take long for me to fall in line with the reality of the daily struggles of being a mother in rural Cambodia. Not only has access to these health clinics made an impact in maternal and infant mortality, they have also provided these Khmer mother’s an empowering place with medical supplies, medicine, and proper talent. The more we completed the Quality Improvement (QI) Assessments evaluating these measures, the more I realized just how far these clinics had to go, particularly in hygiene. We were told that this...
When we originally saw these lovely little pieces of inspiration, we immediately were struck by the simple design and message. When we realized we could have them in red, teal, and orange – we knew we had to be part of it!
Bravelets are part of the Maternova mission now. What we’re doing takes guts, and we think it’s about time the world knows it too. Join us by purchasing a ‘Maternova Brave Moms Worldwide’ bracelet and our quest to end maternal mortality will receive $10! What can $10 do? It’s a set of 25 Thermospots to detect hypothermia. It could be three mylar infant warming blankets, or even MUAC tapes to diagnose malnutrition. A little goes a long way in our world.
Brave women need to be celebrated. Embrace your inner rebel or superhero. We want you to be brave with us, and for the moms and babies that need your support.
Thank you for all you do for women & children worldwide.
Impressive. In short, that describes the results of the [MaiMwana trial in Malawi](
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796349/) which was reported in mid-2013. When written up in the usual format for a medical journal, sometimes spectacular results don't shine. You want to take a highlighter and just write "Amazing" to get across the point. A 52-76% decrease in maternal mortality in just three years?
Before the MaiMwana trial in rural Malawi, there had been no trials (population base trials) on the effect of community mobilization (community action cycle) of participatory women's groups on birth outcomes in Africa and according to the authors, just a single trial on exclusive breastfeeding (how can this be?). The community mobilization tested in this study was the formation of women's groups led by trained facilitators (mothers also from the community). To get a sense of the women's groups you can see a short film here.
The community mobilization method was actually developed in Bolivia with the WARMI project and then used in the Makwanpur study in Nepal. Each group progressed through a community mobilization action cycle based on the women's group model. The community mobilization cycle...
As the year 2013 comes to a close it's time to make some resolutions and share some of our lessons learned as a young social enterprise.
Lesson #1: Just because you're young and feisty doesn't mean you don't have the answers
Our hero of the year is Nada, the young girl in Yemen who fled a child marriage and then spoke fiercely in her own defense. Can you imagine the bravery and the conviction it takes to take a stand against your parents and your culture as a ten year old girl? She embodies everything we believe will shake this world up and level the playing field. If you want to check in on Nada you'll find her as clear and well-spoken here in October. There is a sad twist, and that is the fate of her two older sisters.
We use this metaphor for our young social enterprise-- small with a big idea. But it is people like Nada who inspire us and it is the promise of her future that propels us, a social enterprise with a big idea.
Lesson #2: Not everyone is out to help you
One assumes that as a social enterprise that mentors and others are flocking to 'help.' Well, yes and no. We have worked with the most gracious, kind and whip-smart individuals. They have buoyed our cause, connected us and cheered us on. However, for every two such souls, there has been another hurdle we've had to crash into and clamber over. We have had every kind of...