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December 01, 2014

At Maternova, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have partners located around the world. Its these fearless entrepreneurs and philanthropists who make what we do so worthwhile, and in some cases possible. One of our favorite groups is Channel Initiative. Founded by Dominique Vidale-Plaza, they are shaking things up in the DRC and empowering women and children with sustainable healthcare. Not only is this incredibly brave, its desperately needed. Many medical clinics are days apart for foot travelers.

We wanted to see if our friends at Channel Initiative had an update for us on how they are progressing. This will be a two part series with todays entry covering both the needs of this vulnerable population along with some of the lessons Dominique and team have learned along the way. Enjoy!

Part 2 -- Lessons Learned and Moving forward

Lessons don’t ever stop in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in most countries like it. They’re every day and sometimes every hour. Continuing to work with Panzi Hospital and Channel Initiative has brought many, many other opportunities for lessons and for coming to a place of deeper understanding on the complex needs of women and girls in the rural and under-served areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is obvious that there is a glaring need for health services in communities like these, that can ensure care to women and girls when they need it the most, when they are giving birth, when they have...

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November 10, 2014

Maternova is a women-owned, women-run, for-profit social enterprise founded by Allyson Cote and Meg Wirth, currently based in Providence, RI. The company uses its online marketplace, established in 2011, to sell innovative technologies directly to those who can use them to save the lives of mothers and infants in developing countries around the world.
Below, Allyson Cote discusses her company’s aspirations and business model, and the emerging competitive landscape in global health care products.

Kyle Poplin: Briefly describe what Maternova does and the global health problems it's solving.

Allyson Cote: Maternova Inc. is the scrappy upstart rockstar of the global public health world. We exist for one core reason: to ensure the medical innovations that will save women’s and newborn lives actually get into the hands of the caregivers. Annually, over 350,000 women and 2 million newborns die from complications at childbirth. My partner Meg and I think not only is that unacceptable, but it’s preventable. There is an enormous gap in the distribution chain surrounding low-cost, disruptive technologies. Entrepreneurs and inventors who create brilliant, sustainable solutions often see their work die on the vine. The path to commercialization for any new product can be complicated and lengthy. We offer a clear path for novel technologies to gain market share and recognition via the Maternova brand.

KP: Maternova has been described as "an Amazon-type...

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November 10, 2014

Maternova is a women-owned, women-run, for-profit social enterprise founded by Allyson Cote and Meg Wirth, currently based in Providence, RI. The company uses its online marketplace, established in 2011, to sell innovative technologies directly to those who can use them to save the lives of mothers and infants in developing countries around the world.
Below, Allyson Cote discusses her company’s aspirations and business model, and the emerging competitive landscape in global health care products.

Kyle Poplin: Briefly describe what Maternova does and the global health problems it's solving.

Allyson Cote: Maternova Inc. is the scrappy upstart rockstar of the global public health world. We exist for one core reason: to ensure the medical innovations that will save women’s and newborn lives actually get into the hands of the caregivers. Annually, over 350,000 women and 2 million newborns die from complications at childbirth. My partner Meg and I think not only is that unacceptable, but it’s preventable. There is an enormous gap in the distribution chain surrounding low-cost, disruptive technologies. Entrepreneurs and inventors who create brilliant, sustainable solutions often see their work die on the vine. The path to commercialization for any new product can be complicated and lengthy. We offer a clear path for novel technologies to gain market share and recognition via the Maternova brand.

KP: Matnernova has been described as "an Amazon-type...

Dumont CBT method Mali Benin
September 21, 2014

The power of social media powers much of what we do at Maternova. Our Twitter presence with our three handles, @maternova, @Mtnva_Research and @maternovaCBT, has allowed us to connect with midwives, global health experts, social activists and dedicated bloggers from around the world. The same network linked us to work in Benin, Mali and Vietnam on our favorite DIY method.

Recently our team has dedicated itself (among a number of other things) to spreading information about the condom balloon tamponade (CBT) method developed by Dr. Akhter and her team. A low-cost method for low-resource settings, the intrauterine condom balloon tamponade uses a condom, a catheter, a suture and IV fluids (and sometimes just sterile water) to create a balloon which can help prevent and stop post-partum hemorrhage, a condition where the mother bleeds excessively after birth, and is a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

In our search for research that supports the effectiveness of this method, we were able to find an ongoing study called [Evaluation of intrauterine balloon tamponade efficacy with Condom catheter in the severe PostPartum Hemorrhage management in Benin and Mali] (http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN01202389/) through one of our Twitter connections. We should mention that having @maternovaCBT run by a French and Flemish speaker...

PACE MD | obstetric first aid | women's health
August 11, 2014

We have been following PACE-MD with great interest for years now. They focus on Obstetrical First Responders as the first link in the chain of survival in Mexico. We have long believed that the analogy to an EMT might be a better way to get beyond the long-standing disputes over what traditional birth attendants versus midwives versus others, including community health workers, can handle as far as maternal health emergencies. PACE-MD focuses on handling obstetric emergencies starting at the first contact with a health worker.

Through this successful model of community oriented, manikin based simulation, mnemonics (¨ABCs¨), and competency based certified SKILLS courses, PACE has trained and certified almost 20,000 health providers in various emergency conditions. Let us repeat: 20,000 health workers. This includes over 8,000 health providers in emergency obstetrics (through the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics program-- ALSO) in underserved urban and rural communities throughout Mexico. What we like about this model is that it builds on the health providers who are already working on the frontlines, honing skills and building capacity to respond to obstetric and neonatal emergencies. PACE MD’s workshops in Mexico include Vacuum Assisted Delivery, “FAST OB” Ultrasound and Neonatal Resuscitation, and other basic and advanced surgical workshops. ALSO training finishes with a “Mega Delivery” Stress Test, something that every midwife, obstetrician and...

Northern Nigeria and the story of Traffina
August 11, 2014

One of our recent customers was the Traffina Foundation. Like some other groups we so admire, this non-profit was entirely conceived of, developed and run by a female obstetrician from Nigeria. And the funds that finance the non-profit are largely raised from donations by Nigerians. Traffina has created an enhanced birth kit-- the kind we wish we could have waved a wand and created ourselves. The birth kit includes the usual clean razor, cord clamps and plastic sheet but also misoprostol (to prevent postpartum hemorrhage) and chlorhexidine (a new gel for better cord care). Through careful sourcing, research and production the team has already distributed over 6000 birth kits. Demand in Northern Nigeria is immense.

As it turns out this enhanced clean birth kit, coupled with the competence of the staff, is yielding impressive results for women in Northern Nigeria. At one Traffina-run clinic, the number of births per MONTH was a paltry three. Why? The women preferred to give birth at home and saw nothing that would draw them to the clinic. Once the enhanced birth kit was introduced, change did not come immediately. The pink bundle of goodies seemed too good to be true and it took some time before the staff could convince the community women that if they came to the clinic the contents of the kit would be theirs, for free.

As word spread, and the bundles of key medical supplies were provided just as promised, trust grew in the clinic. The most...

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July 18, 2014

What explains the enormous more than 50 fold difference in maternal mortality rates across this river? Both areas of Tajikistan and Afghanistan are "in geographically contiguous poor, post-conflict, highly conservative, mountainous countries." How can the obstetric risks for women be so different? To continue our review of this fascinating study, we take a closer look at the differences between the Tajik and Afghan sides of the river as reported in the study by Kylea Liese.

The Tajik side has a large Soviet era hospital, some basic equipment and some medical personnel. And the Tajik women have a maternal mortality rate 50 times lower than the Afghan women, who have little to no medical care. So it stands to reason that the presence of the emergency obstetric care and medical facility explains the difference, right? Not so fast says our anthropologist/nurse/midwife Kylea Liese. Instead, her observations reveal that the Tajik hospital is large, but poorly equipped. Even the physicians who may be working there do not actually have training in emergency obstetric care. The author says "Expecting a physician to provide emergency obstetric care was like starting to bake a cake with all the right bowls and pans but none of the right ingredients."

Liese makes a bold argument saying:

" I will argue that advanced obstetric care to treat complications is an insufficient strategy to reduce high levels of maternal mortality because it does not address...