The Latest from our Blog

Bangladesh | cholera, cholera prevention |cloth filter | Colwell |
December 13, 2012

By: Lizi Jones

Forget thrift stores and etsy--Bangladeshi women have come up with a novel way of repurposing old clothing, with life-saving consequences. Using old saris folded several times to filter water, women in areas without access to safe drinking water have cut rates of cholera by drastic amounts.

Cholera results from infection by a waterborne bacteria that breeds in unsanitary surface water. Clean water is scarce In impoverished areas like Bangladesh, as fuel to boil away contaminants is expensive and hard to find, and frequent floods further inundate the land and dirty what little clean water exists. Cholera runs rampant in these waters, fetching a mortality rate as high as 50 percent in poor countries without adequate medical resources.

speaking books | talking books | health literacy | ICE maternal health
December 11, 2012

The world is simply too large a classroom for its limited number of teachers. This strains education systems around the world and equally health systems around the world: how do we improve access to the knowledge everyone should have to the farthest reaches of the planet? Do we first teach everyone to read?

An organization called Speaking Books has a conversation-starting solution. They’ve remodeled what many recall as a favorite children’s toy into an “edutainment” tool capable of teaching many people at the touch of a button. Introduced in 2005 at the Global Health Conference in Washington, DC, the organization has since expanded to offer educational speaking books aimed at improving literacy, health education, and social development, in myriad languages.

maker | hacker | DIY | biomedical engineers
November 30, 2012

Maternova has long been a fan of the ingenious inventors who dream up innovative ways to repurpose everyday items for a purpose. When the purpose has a humanitarian benefit, that’s even more impressive. Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson sums it up nicely when he says this new movement has “democratized the means of production,” making it possible for anyone to be a builder or “maker.”

We’ve been tracking some great projects, and now we want to know yours! Help reach thousands of people every month with smarter ways to save lives. If it’s infant warming via Styrofoam, or stopping a postpartum hemorrhage using a condom and tubing, we just know there’s brilliant ideas no one has seen yet.

November 29, 2012

Language, Community and Twitter: How to Connect the Maternal Health Community via Hashtags (Hey, if the President is Doing It.....)

What’s in a word? A hashtag? Using different hashtags will target different audiences: to engage the most people in the maternal health community, what should we use? What’s your preferred hashtag? Why?

Ethnolinguistics is the fascinating study of how language informs community, and how community informs language. Different countries, regions, cities, neighborhoods, religious communities, affinity groups and friend groups all have unique words and expressions that form a basis of community through their language. Twitter is its own community, with millions of micro communities forming every day around trending hashtags- on November 19, 2012, the trending topics included specific events like #BlackFriday, and more general topics like #photography. Even President Obama is defining a new movement and community with his recent request for citizens to tweet about the end of tax cuts using the tag #MY2K!

father aldo \ mozambique | obstetric fistula
November 28, 2012

By: Vincenzina Santoro
Ed: Lizi Jones

Obstetric fistula is a malady that is virtually unknown in the developed world, but which destroys the human existence of many women in very poor countries around the world. It is a condition that afflicts mainly very young women who become pregnant and have had poor pre-and post-partum care – or none at all – when facing a difficult delivery. Most victims are young girls who are raped or forced into unwanted marriages even as pre-teenagers whose premature bodies are not fully capable of childbearing.

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