Health Systems are Failing the World’s Women

Despite progress, health system shortfalls and gender discrimination are severely impacting women’s health worldwide, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report Women and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Agenda.

Afghanistan Trains New Midwives

This weekend, the Christian Science Monitor published an article called, “Amid war Afghanistan trains thousands of new midwives.” The article says:

Pashtoon Azfar, head of the Afghan Midwives Association, says the number of trained midwives has grown nearly six-fold since rebuilding effort in Afghanistan began. “In 2002, we had 467 midwives, but no one knew how qualified they were; for years, they had received no access to training,” says Ms. Azfar, also a midwifery specialist with the international nonprofit health organization Jhpiego, whose maternal health programs are funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Today, there are more than 2,400 midwives around the country who have been trained in a standardized and accredited two-year program, she says.

How Clean Water Can Save Mothers’ Lives

Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of the world’s population over the past century, mostly for agricultural purposes, according to the 2009 United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report. This has left 884 million people at risk for–or already facing–a water shortage. And though we rarely think of the connection between maternal health and water, it’s one of the most important elements for women’s health. When women don’t have clean latrines and hand-washing stations, they often have poor hygiene practices that can lead to the spread of waterborne illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis and typhoid fever.

Dangers of Malaria During Pregnancy

Yesterday, the world’s largest malaria conference, The 5th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference, opened with a call for substantial and sustained support for research to guide evidence-based policies and the development of new malaria tools, which together could save countless lives. Watch this interview video with Dr. Rose Leke, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon, where she discusses the dangers of malaria during pregnancy — and how to prevent it.

High Level Meeting on Maternal Mortality - Youth Experience

Below is the speech delivered by Imane Khachani, MD, Msc, from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights for the High-Level Meeting at the International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

World Delegates Affirm Family Planning at High-Level Meeting

Addis Ababa — Ending the needless death and suffering of women during pregnancy is one of the greatest moral, human rights and development challenges of our time, agreed more than 150 delegates that met at the High-Level Meeting on Maternal Health. Facing that challenge requires concrete action to protect and fulfill everyone’s right to sexual and reproductive health, they declared.

Fight For Your Right to Maternal Health

This blog-post was originally published at Conversations for a Better World, a shared blog on population gender and health.

Women around the world have had to struggle for decades, for centuries, to achieve equal rights and to achieve the human rights every man and woman deserves. And while the struggle has resulted in many positive steps forward, there are still areas where women are considered less than their male counterparts.

NGO Forum: Jill Sheffield on Integrating SRHR and the MDGs

By Jill Sheffield, President

Blazing Trails... Looking back at all the watershed milestones that emerged from the 1994 ICPD, what thrills me the most is the course that was set to acknowledge the right for all people of the world, especially women, to have access to quality sexual and reproductive health. 

Population Data—Youth Population in Developing Countries Grows

Last week, the Population Reference Bureau launched the annual World Population Data Sheet, highlighting country, regional, and global population, health, and environment data and patterns.

Was the G8 Summit a Success?

Last year, at the G8 in Japan, the leaders of the world paid attention to maternal health. They recognized that saving women’s lives was a great investment in the social and economic well-being of the world.

Progress on Health-Related MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals were set with the target deadline of 2015. We probably don't have to tell you -- we are not even close. In fact, MDG 5 (reduce maternal mortality) is the most off-track of all the MDGs, as stated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Discuss Maternal Health in Online Chat

In Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's Women's eNews' piece, "Mothers Should Not Die Giving Life," he puts a face on the stats -- his sister, Asmau.

Ann Starrs: “Half a Million Reasons”

Ann Starrs, president of Family Care International, wrote an article, “Half a Million Reasons,” in the current issue of Public Service Review: International Development. In it, Starrs provides an update on progress toward MDG 5, on the challenges that still lie in the way of its fulfillment, and on recent causes for hope.

Sign Your Name to Support MDGs

Hip-hop star Will.I.Am launched a new video campaign called "In My Name." He got celebs and participants to sign their name in support of acheiving the MDGs. Even better -- he's asking us to get involved. 

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