Building Health Systems that Work for Mothers, Newborns and Midwives

By Catharine Taylor

Catharine Taylor, a former practicing midwife, is the Vice President of the Health Programs Group at Management Sciences for Health (MSH). This post originally appeared on MSH’s Global Health Impact Blog

A midwife leads a pregnancy club in eastern Uganda. (Photo: Kate Ramsey/MSH)

For many people living in poor and underserved regions – whether rural communities or growing cities – midwives are the health system. Continue reading “Building Health Systems that Work for Mothers, Newborns and Midwives”

Perspectives on Monitoring Progress Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: Highlights from CUGH 2017

By: Meg O’Connor, Project Manager, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog.

Photo: MHTF

Earlier this month, global health experts (and students aspiring to be experts) from around the world gathered for a series of presentations, panels and posters at the 2017 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference in Washington, D.C. The panel titled “Perspectives on Monitoring Progress Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: What Measures Matter?” provided an opportunity to discuss the monitoring framework developed to accompany the Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM) report released in 2015. The panel was moderated by Mary Ellen Stanton, Senior Maternal Health Advisor at USAID, and included Rima Jolivet, Maternal Health Technical Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, Elahi Chowdhury of icddr,b (Bangaldesh) and Chibugo Okoli of the Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP, Nigeria). Representing maternal health monitoring at the global, national and facility-levels respectively, the panelists provided insights from their unique perspectives and highlighted the importance of the EPMM monitoring framework. Continue reading “Perspectives on Monitoring Progress Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: Highlights from CUGH 2017”

Beyond reproductive and maternal health: Non-communicable diseases and women’s health

On March 15, 2017, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Women Deliver, Novo Nordisk, and the NCD Alliance, of which MSH is a steering committee member, hosted a panel discussion during the Commission on the Status of Women to call for the integration of the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) into the reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health continuum of care. The following post summarizes the key messages from the side event and offers recommendations for further action.

Photo by Kristina Sperkova (via Twitter)

Women are essential to a vibrant, healthy economy. Women are producers, caretakers, and consumers–and when they are oppressed and devalued, the economy stalls. Women’s full participation in the workforce is contingent on their ability to realize their fundamental human rights, including the right to health. Continue reading “Beyond reproductive and maternal health: Non-communicable diseases and women’s health”

LAC 2016: Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health among adolescents

Ariadna Capasso is senior technical advisor at the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health. 

Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health–especially for adolescents and youth–remains a priority focus among policymakers, healthcare practitioners, and advocates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In September 2016, twenty-two governments and a broad range of partners–including international and regional technical, professional, funding and research organizations, INGOs and the private sector–came together for the LAC 2016 Conference in Cartagena, Colombia. Continue reading “LAC 2016: Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health among adolescents”

Quality, equity, and dignity for all women and babies

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Senior Director of the FCI Program of MSH, co-authored  the comment,  “Quality, equity, and dignity for women and babies” for the latest Lancet series on maternal health, which was launched during UN General Assembly week, September 18. The series reviews the last decade of evidence on maternal health worldwide and champions urgent action to guarantee that every woman and every newborn can access high-quality care.

Amy Boldosser-Boesch comments on integrated maternal and newborn health efforts at the Lancet Maternal Health Series in New York.
Amy Boldosser-Boesch comments on integrated maternal and newborn health efforts at The Lancet Maternal Health Series launch in New York. (Photo by J. Cook Photography)

Continue reading “Quality, equity, and dignity for all women and babies”

Keeping it real: Accountability for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health during the SDG era

“It’s important we ask women what’s actually happening on the ground. After all these strategies and initiatives, women are still giving birth on the floor. And they have to get their own water!” said Caroline Maposhere, a Zimbabwean nurse-midwife and civil society advocate, from the floor of the 5th Annual Breakfast for Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, September 18.

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Caroline Maposhere shares her experience working as a midwife in Zimbabwe. (Photo by J. Cook Photography)

Continue reading “Keeping it real: Accountability for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health during the SDG era”

Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch, FCI Program of MSH; Olive Cocoman, WHO; Mary Kinney, Save the Children; Betsy McCallon, White Ribbon Alliance; Kadi Toure, PMNCH

Originally appearing on the Healthy Newborn Network blog, this article provides an update to a previous post on maternal and newborn health integration.

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The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and AdolescentsHealth (Global Strategy) calls for ending all preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Greater quality of care is needed to preserve and protect the health of both mothers and babies, especially for those living in areas that are hardest to reach and where crisis prevails. At the Women Deliver conference in May, maternal and newborn health experts and advocates united to launch a powerful, integrated advocacy campaign focused on quality, equity and dignity of care for all mothers and babies. Continue reading “Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all”

Advocacy is the bridge. Storytelling is the guide.

Alanna Savage is communications senior specialist for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health. 

Last year, youth in Mali--with support from FCI--performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Lalonde)
Last year, youth in Mali–with support from FCI–performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Lalonde)

“In 509 days, my country will go to the ballot box, and I will be running for office in Kenya,” announced Stephanie Musho, a law student and staffer at a global health non-profit. Ms. Musho made this bold statement while speaking on a panel of young African women leaders during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March.

“But first, I have to tell you a story about what it means to be a woman candidate,” she sighed. “I’ve worked hard for my campaign. I’ve met with constituents and partners to get their support and raise money. I approached two potential contributors, who were men, and they said ‘With a body like that, you shouldn’t have any problem raising money.’ I knew what they were insinuating, and I can’t believe this is still happening. But I’m not going to let that stop me.” Continue reading “Advocacy is the bridge. Storytelling is the guide.”

Maternal and newborn health in the hands of midwives

Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Interim President and CEO at Family Care International. This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of a series for the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference, October 2015 in Mexico City.

The year 2015 has been one of dramatic movement for global maternal and newborn health—from the end of the Millennium Development Goals to the beginning of a universal and even more ambitious global agenda. The Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference is a key moment to examine how the Sustainable Development Goals will help ensure and improve quality of care, integration and equity. I’m pleased to see on the conference program a focus on midwives, a key partner in turning the conference themes and focus into a reality for women and their families everywhere.

At this crossroads moment in global development, it’s a travesty that the countries burdened with 92% of the world’s maternal and newborn deaths have only 42% of the world’s midwives, nurses and doctors. Even though we have the medicines and the technology to make sure no woman or newborn dies from preventable causes, a person’s place of residence often still determines whether–and how–she will live or die. This is simply unacceptable. Fortunately, skilled midwives can prevent up to two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths, and in doing so can turn around health care in their communities, according to UNFPA’s State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.

Burkinabé midwives gather to discuss advocacy for supportive midwifery policies using data from the State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.
Burkinabé midwives gather to discuss advocacy for supportive midwifery policies using data from the State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.

Continue reading “Maternal and newborn health in the hands of midwives”

VIDEO- Countdown to 2015: A decade of tracking progress for maternal, newborn, and child survival

This new video looks at the past and to the future of Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations to stimulate and support country progress towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Countdown launched its last report of the MDG era—a final accounting of progress and remaining gaps in the 75 countries that have more than 95% of all maternal, newborn and child deaths—at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.

FCI is proud to be the co-lead communications and advocacy partner in Countdown to 2015.