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We are so excited to announce our partnership with Flight for Every Mother. Dr. Sophia Webster is a 21st century Amelia Earheart with a mission for mothers. She is a flying obstetrician/gynecologist making a 24 country flight piloting her own Cessna to deliver knowledge and supplies to obstetricians and midwives. And she leaves in August!
We love her approach because it is one part advocacy and two parts practicality. Maternova Research will be sending life-saving obstetric supplies including the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment. We’ll also be working with Dr. Webster on how best to communicate the steps involved in creating the lowest cost balloon tamponade on the planet—the condom balloon tamponade.
What is particularly exciting about this journey is that it allows all of us to receive feedback, in rapid succession from a range of obstetricians and midwives working in the most difficult settings to save lives. Dr. Webster will be raising awareness but she will also be teaching. The clinicians will have a chance to provide direct feedback on protocols and technologies. What set of interventions is most appropriate for massive bleeding and shock in their settings? What does the government recommend? What is the protocol for eclampsia? We look forward to amplifying these voices as the Flight for Every Mother happens.
We are raising funds for life-saving technologies to be carried by Dr....
Every once and a while we need to get back to basics. Yes, we need to focus on the day of birth because of the high incidence of maternal and newborn mortality that occurs on this critical day.
But what insidious factors are at play and underlie problems on the day of birth? What causes that day of birth to occur TOO EARLY IN THE PREGNANCY? What if a certain sexually transmitted disease was easy to detect and easy to treat?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year more than 2 million pregnant women are diagnosed with active syphilis (Treponema pallidum), 65% of which result in adverse pregnancy outcomes: fetal death in early to late gestation (fetal death and stillbirth) or neonatal death soon after birth.
Surviving children diagnosed with congenital syphilis (mother to child transmission) are often born with low birth weight and develop serious problems, such as blindness, deafness, and cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that early intervention by testing and appropriate treatment with penicillin, can eradicate syphilis with a success rate of 98%.
Despite the threat of contracting syphilis in some countries being high, up to one third of the women attending antenatal care (ANC) clinics are not tested for syphilis during pregnancy check-ups. Research shows women who have access to antenatal care in the first two trimesters of their pregnancy and who receive the proper care and follow up, are more likely to have a...
We believe there is a tipping point for each community--a point where the access to full backup in the case of obstetric emergencies is perfectly balanced with the preservation of important community psychological and spiritual supports.
In the week after the national Women Deliver conference, it's a good time to pause and reflect briefly on where we are. As a global movement, maternal health has made great strides. More women have access to professional skilled attendants, yet we know that quality of care and respectful care is an unrelenting challenge.
The traditional infant carrying parka, the amauti, is shown here. An excerpt from the article appears here with permission from the author (Sarah Ligon)
"When U of A professor Beverley O’Brien began working in the North as a nurse practitioner in the early 1980s, she rarely attended births. Although the communities in what is now known as Nunavut where she lived were small — Pagnirtung (current pop. 1,550), Igloolik (1,450) and Hall Beach (650) — they had some of the highest birthrates in all of Canada. But at the time, the policy of shipping all expectant mothers down south was at its height. “I was told by my supervisor that it would only be my...
What an exciting week for global women's health. The third Women Deliver conference is taking place in Malaysia. We are in booth 244!
So much energy has gone into putting together the agenda for this event and creating the background reports, marking progress and charting the future.
We'd like to focus just briefly on the Countdown to 2015 report just published. The authors highlight many challenges but this paragraph rings true:
But, ultimately, this report is about hope. The country profiles contain many success stories
which show that commitment, investment, and coordinated action can result in concrete
achievements that will save countless lives.
Let's focus on a truly stunning statistic:
"Thirty Countdown countries achieved reductions of 50% or more in the maternal mortality
ratio between 1990 and 2010, and three countries (Equatorial Guinea, Nepal, and Vietnam) achieved reductions of at least 75%."
We believe that in the short-term the key to moving quickly is getting the right supplies to the midwives and frontline health workers. The global community must work to train more obstetricians, to post skilled birth attendants in rural areas and to radically improve the quality of care. But supplies at the periphery can also be game-changing. Handheld ultra light low cost ultrasounds can be used by midwives in rural areas-- and we will...
By this point, you may be familiar with Plumpy'Nut®, the miraculous peanut paste in a foil pouch that is being used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition in communities around the world. To recap: the genius of this innovation is that children can be treated at home rather than as inpatients.
But what you may not know is that a variation of Plumpy'Nut®'s sister product, Nutributter® is being tested for improving the odds for pregnant women and their infants. Nutributter® is also a micronutrient-fortified semi-solid paste. It's also known as a lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS). And the new formulation is called LNS P&L-- we can be sure that they'll come up with a catchier name when the studies are done. LNS P&L is being studied in government hospitals in Ghana (Atua and Akuse, and the St Martins de Porres Catholic Hospital at Agormanya (Manya Krobo District of Ghana), and the Somanya Polyclinic at Somanya (Yilo Krobo District of Ghana).
We found out about this trial from our friends at Edesia , the factory down the road which pumps out metric tons of Nutributter®, Plumpy'Nut® and Plumpy'Sup® every month.
Here is a snippet from the study design listed on clinicaltrials site:
> LNS-20gM) will, in addition to the multiple micronutrients provided in the MMN, supply
> energy (118 kcal/d), fat (...
The first day of life is also the most risky, both for the infant--and often for the mother. This year's report on the State of the World's Mothers came out last week. The focus of this report is on the first day of life. Save the Children, authors of the report, developed the first-ever "Birth Day Risk Index" to assess newborn odds of survival on that very first day that they are born.
What is really striking in this report and in this new index is the extreme vulnerability of newborns during their first month, first week and first day and hours of life. The report breaks it down in a stark series of statistics. 60% of newborns die in the first month of life. Of these, 2 million die during the first week of life. And of these, 1 million die in the first day of life.
What also stands out is how poorly the United States fares as compared to other industrialized nations. In fact it it is dead last amongst its peers. In fact the report finds that the U.S. has 50 percent more first day of life newborn deaths than all of the other industrialized nations combined.
Part of the reason that newborn deaths now stand out is because such great progress has been made in reducing child mortality.
So what is to be done? The number one recommendation, with which we concur wholeheartedly is "Address the underlying causes of newborn mortality, especially gender inequality." Educated, well-...
The period between birth and the first week of life is one of the most treacherous for a newborn and its mother, and in low-resource settings the high risk of infection compounds the dangers to both. One of the more common threats to newborns, particularly in these settings, are umbilical infections, which render a newborn’s umbilical cord both a line to life and an anchor for deadly infection.
Recent studies in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have unveiled a solution that is simple, inexpensive, and highly effective: applying chlorhexidine solution to newborn navels during the first week of life staves off umbilical infection. According to a study out of Johns Hopkins University, more than 40% of the 8.8 million children under 5 who die each year are neonates--and in resource-poor regions, more than half of them die of serious infections.
Infants’ risk of infection and death during the first weeks of life is reduced by 24% if chlorhexidine is used to clean the umbilical cord for 7 of the first 10 days after a child is born, the study reports. More importantly, this method is a “simple, safe, effective and inexpensive intervention,” as JHU’s Abdullah Baqui explains. What's more, “large-scale implementation of this intervention with universal coverage has the potential to...