MDG 5 - Maternal Health

Challenging the Church over reproductive rights. Credit: Kara Santos

PHILIPPINES: Catholics Risk Excommunication Over Reproductive Rights

Support for reproductive health legislation, popularly known as the RH Bill here, has snowballed on social websites and among peer networks, yet passage and funding of the bill remain uncertain. Catholic bishops have long used the threat of excommunication in the raging debates over use of modern contraceptive methods - such as pills, IUDs and condoms - in the Southeast-Asian nation of over 92 million, 85 percent of whom are Catholic.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny Credit:

Q&A: “Transparency Helps Ensure Donors’ Promises Are Met”

This past September, world leaders meeting at the United Nations vowed to spend $40 billion over the next five years to save the lives of more than 16 million women and children dying of deadly diseases or lack of medical care, particularly during and after pregnancy.

Kenyan women with their babies Credit: Eric Kanalstein/UN

KENYA: Mobile Phones to the Rescue for Pregnant Women

Pumwani Maternity Hospital, in the impoverished Nairobi neighbourhood of Eastlands, is the site of a trial project using mobile phones to help HIV-positive mothers avoid passing the virus on to their children.

COSTA RICA: Infertile Controversy over Right to Form a Family

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world where in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is illegal. And the Vatican wants it to stay that way: Pope Benedict XVI himself recently urged the government not to pass a law that would make it legal.

A patient being checked by a nurse at Satungal Health Post, Kathmandu, Nepal. Credit: Damakant Jayshi/IPS

NEPAL: For Maternal Health, Go Door to Door

For the last 17 years, Keshari Maharjan has been going door to door in the outskirts of the Nepali capital to tell people about the services available at health centres in their communities, as well as about how to prevent certain diseases.

Five years ago, Nigist Abebe had difficulities winning the trust of mothers in her door-to-door services Credit: Omer Redi Ahmed

ETHIOPIA: Saving Rural Mothers’ Lives

Nigist Abebe has grown in confidence over five years on the job. Today she is one of 34,000 rural health extension workers at the heart of Ethiopia's primary health care strategy.

SENEGAL: Funding Could Weaken Campaign Against Maternal Mortality

Senegal's efforts to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality are hampered by a lack of health centres and poor care in those that do exist. But the government faces a major financial hurdle in financing the Bajenu Gox initiative - a community health programme intended to address this.

SENEGAL: Maternal Care Not Up to the Mark

The Gaspard Kamara maternity centre in Dakar was not especially full on Nov. 25, but the medical staff seemed overwhelmed. Midwives, nurses and gynecologists rushed in all directions dealing with women in difficult labour.

Doctors say 90 percent of potential complications could be predicted and addressed if Mali's women came in for pre-natal checks. Credit:  Nicholas Reader/IRIN

Prenatal Care Key to Reducing Maternal Mortality

Despite successive awareness campaigns, many Malian women see no need to attend pre-natal check-ups. Health workers say this results in an elevated rate of maternal and infant mortality.

MALAWI: Traditional Birthing House Rises From the Rubble


Cecilia Tomoka's birthing centre stood unused for three years before the 2009 earthquake flattened it. Now she's rebuilding the house - and her practice - as Malawi's government lifts a ban on traditional birth attendants.

The growth of evangelical religion is reflected in ubiquitious religious imagery and texts. Credit:  Christi van der Westhuizen/IPS

AFRICA: Church Leaders An Obstacle To Preventing Maternal Deaths

The resurgence in religious fundamentalism and the inordinate influence of certain church leaders over public health policy present major obstacles to the prevention of needless deaths and injuries of women from unsafe abortion on the African continent.

BURKINA FASO: Cost Major Obstacle to Reducing Maternal Mortality

Elizabeth Kaboré says she has paid for each of her visits to the clinic, despite a government promise that prenatal check-ups in health centres would be free.

Haitian mothers in the waiting area of the Nuestra Senora de Altagracia hospital. Credit: Elizabeth Eames Roebling/IPS

Haitian Mothers Find Care in Dominican Republic, but Future Is Bleak

In the spacious lobby of the Nuestra Señora de Altagracia maternity hospital, more than a hundred people wait quietly in chairs, overlooked by a 20-foot-high coloured mosaic inset portraying the patron saint of the Dominican Republic.

Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Q&A: What the U.S. Undid for Women in Iraq

The U.S.-led invasion and then occupation of Iraq brought a sharp setback to the rights of women in that country, UNFPA head Thoraya Obaid tells IPS in an interview.

Maternity ward in Port Loko: government resources are stretched thin by its ambitious plans to offer free care to pregnant women and infants. Credit:  Mohamed Fofanah/IPS

SIERRA LEONE: Unfulfilled Promise of Free Maternal Health Care for Mothers

Marie Musa, 37, is devastated. After the mother of four gave premature birth, her baby boy died a few hours later – because the hospital did not have enough incubators to rescue the infant.

Members of Anta Women's Association heading to a meeting. Credit: Courtesy of Pierre Yves Gimet

PERU: Women Sterilised Against Their Will Seek Justice, Again

Poor, rural, Quechua-speaking women in the Peruvian province of Anta who were victims of a forced sterilisation programme between 1996 and 2000 have filed a new lawsuit in their continuing struggle for justice.

Malnourished Children Swell Ranks of World’s Hungry

With the number of hungry people growing to more than a billion last year, the world is "nowhere near" reaching the objectives outlined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the latest Global Hunger Index (GHI) released Monday.

ZIMBABWE: Free Maternal and Child Care Needed From Government

Mother-to-be Agnes Ncube budgets up to 100 dollars each month from her informal roadside business just so she can pay for the maternal services at her local government clinic.

Funding Falls Short for Global Fight Against AIDS

The 11.7 billion dollars pledged Tuesday to replenish the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the coming three years falls significantly short of the 20 billion dollars hoped for, threatening to undo the progress made in the fight against these diseases - the three largest infectious killers in the world.

Washington Debates PEPFAR Funding Ahead of Global Fund Meet

Global health advocates are strongly urging the Barack Obama administration to remain financially supportive of the fight against HIV/AIDS, amidst fears that economic prudence from the U.S. will reverse encouraging gains.

Retraining Rwanda’s Traditional Birth Attendants

Two years spent training traditional birth attendants in remote rural areas has allowed Rwanda to reduce the country's maternal mortality rate, says the country's health department.

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