“Dominican hospitals and clinics are being overwhelmed by Haitian women â€¦ who make up roughly half of the patients giving birth in Dominican hospitals, officials here say,” the Washington Post reports. “They come because they don’t have access to health care in Haiti, especially since last year’s earthquake. They come because they can get free health care in the Dominican Republic each year, and so that they can have their babies in hospitals instead of on the floors of their homes,” the newspaper writes.
“If the moral test for a society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then the release of a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) marks a sad day for South Africa,” a Lancet editorial states.
“Ten Somali children under the age of five are dying every day of hunger-related causes in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, according to the U.N. refugee agency,” the Guardian reports (Rice, 8/16). UNHCR “said high child mortality levels had been compounded by a suspected measles outbreak at the 25,000-capacity Kobe camp,” but children are now receiving vaccinations, according to BBC News (8/16).
Referring to a Maternal Health Task Force infographic depicting maternal mortality worldwide, Jen Quraishi, editorial coordinator for Mother Jones, writes in a post on Mother Jones’ “Blue Marble” blog that “there are lots of ways to juggle [maternal mortality] numbers, and ultimately I find the death rate per capita more useful than the total number of deaths â€¦ Charts like these obscure the point that the relative wealth and size of a country do have an effect on its maternal mortality, but they’re not everything.” She goes on to state, “At the end of the day, I find it disheartening that a rich country like the U.S., which prides itself on its treatment of women, has the same maternal mortality rate as a country that doesn’t let women drive (Saudi Arabia) and a worse rate than countries with a fraction of its GDP per capita” (8/15).
Cassandra Clifford, founder and executive director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, calls for safer birth practices in Timor-Leste in this Aid Netherlands blog post. Clifford says that unsafe traditional birth practices, “the countryâ€™s history and lack of infrastructure, especially regarding healthcare,” and “a lack of education and understanding on maternal health, safe birth practices, and family planning” are contributing to a high maternal mortality rate and health complications among newborns. She says birth spacing, the “training of midwives, [and] training [in] hygiene methods for at-home deliveries is a must to bridge the gaps to safer birth practices” (8/15).
The maternal mortality rate in Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan, is estimated to be more than 2,000 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, “the highest in the world,” MediaGlobal reports. “‘In South Sudan, a woman has a bigger chance of dying during childbirth than to go to high school,’ Jane Coyne, program manager from Medicins Sans Frontieres, told MediaGlobal,” the news service writes.
“Transactional sex, sexual intercourse driven by material exchanges,” occurs worldwide, but “[i]n poor regions with high HIV prevalence rates like sub-Saharan Africa â€¦ transactional sex poses an even higher threat to one’s wellbeing and health because the chance of HIV infection is greater,” Daniella Choi, staff member at the Center…
Almost one-third of infants in the U.S. are delivered by caesarean section (c-section), a trend that is now growing globally, PRI’s The World/PBS NewsHour reports. “The c-section rate in Thailand has reached 34 percent, in Vietnam, it is 36 percent, and in China, nearly half of all births are by c-section,” the article states.
Inter Press Service examines how Nepal is combating the poor health effects of open-fire cooking stoves by replacing them with improved cooking stoves (ICS). According to a 2008 study commissioned by the Nepalese Environment Ministry’s Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), indoor air pollution (IAP) was found to be “the fourth most important health risk factor after malnutrition, unsafe sex and unsafe drinking water and sanitation,” the article reports.
The success of the Afghan Safe Birth Project, funded by HHS, and the Community Midwife Education program, supported by USAID, in helping reduce maternal mortality in Afghanistan “is in jeopardy â€“ not because of security threats, but because of a fiscal one,” authors Isobel Coleman and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, both fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations, write in a Bloomberg opinion piece.