MDG 5 - Maternal Health

POPs in recycled and new products. Credit: Isolda Agazzi/IPS

Pollutants Banned, But With Exceptions

The fifth conference of the 173 parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Apr. 25-29, could bring to 22 the total number of internationally agreed forbidden pollutants. Alternatives to DDT - one of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) used in the fight against malaria - are gaining popularity, but its complete ban is not on the agenda.

A health worker with her baby. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS.

PAKISTAN: Health Workers Without Maternity Leave

Shazia Kiran is seven months pregnant with her third child and worried she might be unable to juggle her work and the responsibilities of caring for a newborn. But what worries her more is that she has no maternity benefits, and she has not received her salary as a Lady Health Worker (LHW) for the last three months.

OP-ED: Maternal Meltdown From Chernobyl to Fukushima

On this day 25 years ago, a massive explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine released clouds of radioactive particles into the atmosphere across Russia and Europe. The catastrophe had lasting effects on people's health, particularly on women and their unborn children. On this sober anniversary, we look back at Chernobyl and the lessons learned to ensure the health of Japanese women as the Fukushima disaster unfolds.

Scientists Claim Hard-Fought Ground Against Malaria

By the time the reader gets to the end of this paragraph, an African child, likely under five years old, will have died from malaria.

Catholics attend mass outside the Quiapo Church in Manila. 80% of the Philippines is Catholic, and the Church sanctions only natural family planning. Credit: Kara Santos/IPS

PHILIPPINES: Religious Groups Weigh In on Reproductive Health Debate

In a country where an estimated 4,500 women die every year due to complications during childbirth, the enactment of a reproductive health (RH) policy is said to be a measure that could save lives.

Vast Majority of Stillbirths Found in Developing Countries

According to a special series in the medical journal The Lancet presented in New York Wednesday at the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, over 2.6 million stillbirths occur worldwide annually, affecting mostly African and Asian women who lack proper access to health care and facilities.

U.N. Decries Stagnant Funding For Population Goals

As the international community readies to cope with a rising world population of some seven billion people by the middle of this year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns that financial assistance for population-related activities has made no visible gains since 2008.

This young woman from Makeni dropped out of school when she had her first child at 16. Credit:  Anna Jeffreys/IRIN

Sierra Leone Facing Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

On Apr. 5, the United Nations Children's Fund will launch a report on teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone. Teenage pregnancies account for 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country, and the report comes as public health authorities recalibrate strategy to address a problem that endangers both mothers and children.

In Cambodia, Women Fear Death at Childbirth

Death haunts women in this Cambodian village at a moment of happiness - when they give birth.

MALAWI: Putting Knowledge Into Practice in Childbirth

Post-partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. A decade of applying research to midwifery practice in one Malawi district demonstrates that PPH is quite easy to prevent.

Zaituni Ombuki, a nurse at the Kakamega Hospital Maternal and Child Healthcare Clinic. Credit:  Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Integrating HIV Care with Broader Maternal and Child Health

From the outside, little has changed at the Maternal and Child Healthcare Clinic: pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers wait patiently on wooden benches. A chorus of infant call-and-response betrays the less long-suffering approach of their children to the wait.

Lady health worker administering oral polio vaccine. Credit: Fahim Siddiqi

PAKISTAN: Unsung Heroines Bring Healthcare to Villages

At eight in the morning 30-year-old Sultana Solangi steps out of her house ready for her day’s work. Wearing a black gown that shows only her eyes, she is shod in comfortable slippers and lugs a large black bag.

MALAWI: Uncertainty Over Role for Traditional Birth Attendants

When the ban on traditional birth attendants was lifted last year, pregnant women quickly appeared at Dorothy Chirwa's door in Malombe village in Mangochi, a district on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. Chirwa was among the thousands of TBAs banned from providing women with care in 2007.

Burial ground for unwanted babies. Credit: Fahim Siddiqi/IPS

PAKISTAN: Deaths of ‘Unwanted’ Babies On The Rise

The graves at a cemetery in Moach Goth have no epitaphs, no verses from the Koran, not even the names of the deceased. The only inscription on the small wooden signs that serve as headstones is a number and the date of burial. The latest one is Number 72,315.

Reinou Groen Credit: Courtesy of Surgeons OverSeas

Q&A: Needing Surgery Shouldn’t Be a Death Sentence

Surgery saves the lives of millions of people around the world, but only a tiny percentage of them live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where a shortage of skills, supplies and infrastructure can turn easily treatable accidents and illnesses into lifelong disabilities and even death.

KENYA: Budget Too Small to Cover Health Needs

Professor Anyang Nyong'o might have guessed that a trip to the United States for treatment for prostate cancer would provoke a furore: he is the Minister for Medical Services.


Q&A: Rural Women Need Concrete Actions

Burundi will put U.N. Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security into practice with a National Action Plan (NAP) that is ready to be signed within the coming months.

Vicious Cycle of Maternal Mortality

Addressing the National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Chicago, Illinois in 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated unequivocally that, "Of all the forms of inequality in the world, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

Pakistan Sinking Into Water Crisis

Pakistan is still reeling from flooding that caused one of the world's costliest natural disasters in 2010, with millions of people lacking shelter, infrastructure in ruins and donations falling short of appeals. But worse may come.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Q&A: Meeting a World of Seven Billion with Optimism

Before the end of 2011 there will be more humans on earth than in all of the planet's 4.5-billion-year history. As the world steels itself to support its seven billion-strong population, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the new executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), greets the impending challenges with gusto.

EAST EUROPE: Midwives Struggle to Deliver Home Births

Women’s rights in Eastern Europe have been put into the spotlight as a Hungarian midwife faces five years in prison for assisting with home births.

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