GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog features an interview with Frederick Sai, a Ghanaian physician who is a member of Aspen’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and a former president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and director of population at the World Bank. Sai addresses his interest in reproductive health, motivating leaders to talk about family planning, and how his experience as a medical doctor changed his views on family planning, according to the article (Donnelly, 9/26).
New York Times 'Small Fixes' Section Examines Multiple Low-Cost Interventions For Global Health Problems
The New York Times on Monday published a special section, titled “Small Fixes,” containing several articles examining how low-cost innovations could help save thousands of lives. The articles examine issues as diverse as using circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV infection among men to a water-filtering straw that can provide one person with clean drinking water for up to one year. Other articles examine paper diagnostic tests for liver damage, using vinegar to diagnose precancerous cervical lesions, nectar poisons to kill disease-carrying mosquitos, a wetsuit-like compression suit that can save a woman experiencing hemorrhaging after giving birth, and scratch-off labels on medicines that allow a user to text message a code and discover whether the drugs are counterfeit, among others (Various authors, 9/26).
NPR’s Tell Me More on Friday interviewed Sierra Leone First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma about her work aimed at improving maternal health in her country. Koroma was in New York attending the African First Ladies Fellowship Program “that brings together Western European and American first ladies with their African counterparts for an exchange of ideas and best practices,” according to the program. Since implementing free health care, “Sierra Leone has seen a 214-percent increase in the number of children under five getting care in health facilities and a 61-percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases in health clinics,” Tell Me More reports, statistics that Koroma said are due to “the participation of all of us” (Martin, 9/23).
As part of its special report “Healing the World,” GlobalPost examines country ownership within the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The news service writes that Rwandan Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho told GlobalPost that a GHI focus on gender-based violence in Rwanda was a “curious” decision, which “[s]he said … wasn’t a priority and no one had asked her if that fit in with the national plan.” According to GlobalPost, “U.S. health officials in Kigali said they were only following Rwanda’s lead in their choice of programs.” “‘To choose gender equality reflected the fact that they’ve done phenomenally well in making it a priority,’ said Nancy Godfrey, GHI field deputy for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Rwanda. ‘Our focal area comes directly from the national gender policy … Rwanda’s national gender policy. So we didn’t make it up,'” GlobalPost writes.
In addition to “essential money,” “the right policies, government commitment and citizen accountability” are needed to decrease child mortality and improve other global health indicators, “[b]ut the sine qua non for effective health care delivery is health workers. Whether it’s prevention, treatment or care, it’s all about health workers,” Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”
On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the U.S. made an additional financial commitment of up to $55 million, “bringing the total United States commitment to up to $105 million in the first five years,” according to a State Department press release (9/22). A…
“Gender discrimination lies behind much of the malnutrition found in under-five children in Nepal, say locals and experts,” IRIN reports. “Women live hard lives from day one, born with no fanfare, contrasting starkly to the six-day celebration to mark the birth of a boy. Despite the physical demands of a woman’s daily life, boys and husbands eat first and are offered the most nutritious food, often leaving girls and women with leftovers,” the news service writes.
The World Bank’s annual World Development Report, which was released on Sunday and this year “focuses on gender equality around the world, offers some stark facts about how women and girls fare in developing countries despite decades of progress,” the Wall Street Journal reports (Reddy, 9/18). “The most glaring disparity is the rate at which girls and women die relative to men in developing countries, according to” the report, Reuters/AlertNet reports (Curtis, 9/19).
“A health policy shift that saw the introduction in May of free caesarean section operations in 35 hospitals across the Republic of Congo — to curb the growing rate of maternal and infant mortality — seems to have prompted a proliferation of such operations, according to health officials,” IRIN reports. “‘We are virtually living in the hospital because there are so many consultations,’ said Jean-Claude Kala, head of gynecology at Makelekele Hospital, south of Brazzaville,” the news service writes.
In an opinion piece in Population Service International’s “Impact” magazine, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) writes, “Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has empowered extremists with zeal for both broad, haphazard budget cuts and a commitment to rolling back women’s health rights,” adding, “Further reducing or eliminating funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs would mean more unintended pregnancies, more maternal deaths and more children who lose their mothers during childbirth,” as well as “more abortions as fewer women have the ability to control when they become pregnant and how many children they have.” She concludes, “With the global population expected to surpass seven billion, we can only expect that the unmet need for family planning services, which currently exists for an estimated 215 million women globally, will only increase. And unfortunately, so will the health disparities and instability that can result from allowing those needs to go unmet if Congress and the administration do not make this program a priority” (9/15).