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In Ethiopia’s battle on maternal and newborn health, women increasingly comprise the front lines, the infantry, and the battlefield itself. Over the past decade, an all-female “army” of Health Extension Workers has been deployed, in pairs and by the thousands, deep into the rural villages of Africa’s second most populous nation.
We met "CleanBirth" on twitter and then got to know her better on a Twitter party hosted last week by @worldmomsblog. This unfolding story is a concrete example of how social media can forge new connections and learning--very rapidly. It's also an example of how one person makes a difference for hundreds of mothers. []( works in Laos on the extremely high rates of maternal mortality there. There are so many barriers to women getting to the clinic (tradition, family constraints, money, distance) but if the nurses can convey the benefits to moms and baby we may make some headway.
We know it's tough to keep track of all the different maternal and children's health foundations, coalitions, and initiatives, with tons out there and more cropping up every day. Each large scale partnership or initiative fills a niche, seeking to reduce maternal mortality through slightly different means. Maternova has put together a cheat-sheet on these newer campaigns and initiatives.
Today there will be roughly 200,000 babies born into the world. To put that into perspective, that’s just shy of the entire population of Richmond, Virginia which boasts 205,000 or so residents. Progress towards meeting UN Millennium goals 4 & 5 are gaining more and more momentum, largely due in part towards the push to increase the presence of Front Line Health Workers in the most under-served countries.
In times of crisis, and times of exodus, it is the sides of the roads that reveal the true costs of refugee flight. The margins along the routes that lead from conflict to safety bear witness to the harrowing passage of fleeing masses, and the physical traces of those who could not complete the journey. They harbor ditches and last-ditch efforts, littered with abandoned articles, hope--and in the worst cases--even family members.
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