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.
CleanBirth.org 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.
Atul Gawande is widely known for his bestselling book called The Checklist Manifesto where he documents the essential role of checklists in ensuring consistency and adherence to evidence based protocols. The Safe Motherhood Community, then, is lucky that his team has turned their attention to safer births in the BetterBirth clinicial trial and collaboration on the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist.
While we like to focus on highly practical solutions that improve maternal survival, we are also interested in solutions still in research and development. Artificial or synthetic blood is one such invention that could change everything. There are several reasons why a woman might need a blood transfusion-chief among them severe anemia or blood loss due to postpartum hemorrhage. Right now, a blood transfusion requires a blood banking system, something that is difficult for many lower-level health facilities. What's more, an enormous number of the transfusions in lower-resource settings are not tested for HIV and Hepatitis. Women are brought in on stretchers, in buses and in cars to facilities where it is often impossible to save them because blood is not available. Story after story is told of husbands and family members rushing around looking for a blood donor. How different could it be if stores of synthetic blood were available?
This short clip uses black and white shadowy claymation type figures and yet does a better job than most PSAs we've seen in summing up the effect of maternal mortality on families and on the globe. It was done by Art Center for Design for UNFPA.
Part of our goal as a hub is to collect, categorize and highlight innovation for maternal and neonatal health. We will feature high-tech for a low price or low-tech for a very lower price. We will cover extremely creative or just highly practical ideas. And we categorize innovations in the pipeline or still in research and development versus those that are on the market. Soon Maternova will be interactive, allowing comments from the field on priority