The Latest from our Blog

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October 31, 2011

The stories of in-kind donations of high-tech equipment laying dormant in developing countries are many. The computers donated to a Haitian school that had no electricity. The computers, full of heavy metals, were buried in the yard of the school, leaching into the water supply. Incubators with directions only in French donated to a non-French speaking country: fragile equipment that requires trained technicians for constant maintenance and repairs sitting unused just months after being delivered.

"Maternal Hypothermia", "KMC", "Kangaroo mother care", "infant hypothermia" Shiv
October 26, 2011

It is widely known that hypothermia is a leading cause of morbidity among newborns and that an effective low-cost solution is maternal warming of the infant through skin to skin contact. But what role does maternal body temperature play? A 2008 study examining community management techniques for neonatal care in Shivgarh, India showed unexpectedly that a significant number of mothers also suffer from hypothermia. Using the ThermoSpot temperature indicator, researchers discovered that in almost half (42%) of the cases of newborn hypothermia, mothers were even colder than their infants!

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October 17, 2011

Imagine you are afflicted with a respiratory illness, and your doctor prescribes several medications. But you return home whose to walls are riddled with mold, inadequate funds to move and a landlord unwilling to fix this dangerous problem. What good will medicines do when the root cause of your illness is your living conditions? What if instead the physician actually wrote out a prescription and a well-trained staff member helped you get a referral to get your living conditions remedied?

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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.

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