Health experts are blaming high malnutrition levels for an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that has killed more than 54 children in impoverished Cambodia since April.
María dos Prazeres de Souza has lost count of the number of births "without a single death" she has attended as a midwife, an occupation that there is renewed interest in strengthening in traditional communities in Brazil where state services are not available or are not entirely acceptable for cultural reasons.
While the number of women dying in childbirth globally declined by 34 percent between 1990 and 2008, that number doubled in Papua New Guinea over the same time period.
The Aditmari Maternity Centre (AMC) is unpretentious but hygienic, and its staff of paramedics welcomes pregnant women from the poor farming villages of this district, 375 km northwest of Dhaka.
It was personal experience that turned Gul Bano and her cleric husband, Ahmed Khan, into ambassadors against early marriage and its worst corollary – obstetric fistula which allows excretory matter to flow out through the birth canal.
Teenage pregnancies are on the rise in Guatemala, along with the drop-out rate in schools, family breakdown and many other related social ills.
Though United Nations experts agree that governments should focus on empowering girls and women as a key to managing a world of seven billion people, not enough is being done for women’s rights in developing countries, aid advocates say.
"There were three people. One person was holding me down; one person was holding my hand; and the other person was doing the job. They lay me down, and…" Fatu said of the female genital mutilation she underwent as an eight- year-old in Liberia.
Martha Borete Angela’s gaze sinks to the ground as she admits neither of her two children was delivered by a midwife or doctor. The 28-year-old South Sudanese woman shared this fact in front of her classmates: first-year students in a programme for midwives at the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, a city in the western part of the country.
Political instability, civil strife and humanitarian crises in Africa have over the past decades reversed countless maternal health development gains on the continent, health experts warn.
"I would like to use contraception, but my husband is against it," says Bintou Moussa*. The 32-year-old mother has just given birth to her sixth child at the Abobo General Hospital in Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan.
For over 90 years, a law in Argentina has allowed women who become pregnant as a result of rape to have an abortion. However, hospitals often refuse to carry out the procedure, instead referring the women to the justice system.
In Latin America, Argentina spends the most on healthcare. It has a vast infrastructure, highly qualified health professionals and the necessary material resources. But other countries in the region are achieving better and faster health outcomes with fewer resources.
The primitive Juang tribe in remote Nola village on Chandragiri hill experienced its first three institutional childbirths only a month ago.