The Latest from our Blog

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October 14, 2011

The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) is a three-year effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The group held a retreat to 'take stock of the field' of maternal health for three days in Tarrytown, NY. Unlike other end of project meetings, the meeting, called #MHBUZZ, asked five overarching questions about the field of maternal health and brought together 60 thinkers and activitists to tackle the questions. I was privileged to attend and hope that the incredible intensity of the discussion sparks ongoing discussion. One question brought forward and discussed by Wendy Graham is 'Do we really know what works?'.

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October 11, 2011

Anemia is associated with postpartum hemorrhage-- but why? For the non-clinical elements among us, we seek to break down this issue a little further. 45% of women worldwide are anemic, roughly half of them due to iron-deficiency anemia caused by inadequate iron in the diet. Pregnancy puts a high demand on iron stores, and women who have had multiple pregnancies and perhaps began in a slightly anemic state are further depleted with each pregnancy. Thus a woman facing labor in a moderately or severely anemic state may be at greater risk from excessive blood loss.

"Bang and Bang", Gadchioroli, "breath abacus",
September 29, 2011

A do-it-yourself abacus to diagnose infant pneumonia, a leading killer of children? Sound too good to be true? Must have just been invented on a cell phone, right?

No, the breath abacus is decades old and was invented in India.

defaul"postpartum hemorrhage", "evolutionary anthropology", "etiology of pot tag
September 02, 2011

Given the importance of postpartum hemorrhage as a cause of death for women worldwide, we are interested in just about any discipline that tackles the issue from a new perspective. Though we've asked a lot of questions about postpartum hemorrhage and its etiology (the medical/scientific reason it happens; [see a former blog post here] (, one question we had certainly never thought to ask was, "do other mammals and primates suffer from postpartum hemorrhage the way we humans do? It's kind of a startling question and two women, evolutionary anthropologists, recently took on. Elizabeth Abrams and Julienne Rutherford, recently had their work published in [The American Anthropologist] (

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