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We have recently stumbled across an innovative aid to pregnant refugees that we could not keep to ourselves: an app called HaBaby. While maternal health has been of constant importance in the sphere of women’s rights, the topics and risks within maternal health evolve with the evolving world. This evolution means different populations are at increased risk for poor maternal health outcomes. Today, the staggering number of displaced persons and refugees is a huge population lacking sufficient maternal and newborn health resources. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are currently 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 21.3 million of who are refugees.
Sexually Transmitted Infections are harmful in across populations, but can have especially devastating effects during pregnancy. Screening is essential during the first trimester for what we have identified as the "Big 5 STIs": chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis B. The unique effects of each of these diseases on pregnancy will be explained below. Chlamydia Pregnant women with chlamydia hold a higher risk for birth complications. These include miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth. The disease can also be transmitted vertically during birth. Treatment for chlamydia is approved in pregnant women, and treatment before delivery erases the risk of transmission.
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We often do not think about what we cannot see, but in some cases we do not think about what we can see, and more importantly WHY we can see – power. It is no secret that the world is unequal. Most people are aware of at least some of these inequalities; for instance, almost everyone knows that the global burden of disease falls harder in Sub-Saharan Africa than Western Europe. Some inequalities, however, are less obvious and less discussed. Access to power is trivial in most developed countries, yet remains a major barrier to development in many impoverished nations.
An essential component of working in the maternal and neonatal health field is staying up to date on the rapidly evolving research. We do this through a variety of outlets; social media is a vital tool, and press releases or news stories are always useful sources. Another way for us to stay informed is by attending talks by experts in the field. This is how we found out about recent research on the adverse birth outcomes of ARV use during pregnancy.
As healthcare professionals, thought leaders, and innovators converge on Copenhagen, Denmark for 'Women Deliver', the team at Maternova honor all the work done by champions for women globally. We want to reflect back on a year of accomplishment and success for those who work tirelessly to provide women a better world. This past year has seen many triumphs including a reduction in maternal mortality in many key countries. But, we can’t overlook the preponderance of evidence that suggests we can still do so much better. And it is in that spirit, and solemn remembrance that we offer this piece.
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