Addressing the Maternal Mental Health Diagnosis Gap Through Screening Tools in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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By: Teertha Arora, Candidate for Masters in Public Health (Global Health), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

There is a dearth of mental health screening tools validated for use in low-resource settings among pregnant women, specifically in Africa. To address this research gap, a study recently published in PLOS ONE by Heyningen et al. examined the reliability and feasibility of five screening tools to diagnose Major Depressive Episode and/or anxiety in a South African primary care antenatal clinic…read more

Midwives, Government Officials and International Agencies Meet in Mexico City to Discuss Inclusion of Birth Centers Into the National Health System

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By: Cristina Alonso, Network for Midwifery Centers in Mexico and Luna Maya Birth Center

In January 2018, the Network for Midwifery Centers held an International Best Practices Meeting in Mexico City bringing together stakeholders from the World Health Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund, the Committee for Safe Motherhood, Federal Ministry of Health, eight State Ministries of Health, academics, midwives, mothers and other grassroots organizations to come to agreement on the role of midwifery centers in improving maternal health in Mexico…read more

Landmark Ruling in Kenya: A Victory for Respectful Maternity Care

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By: Rhiannon George-Carey, Visiting Fellow, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

This year, International Day for Maternal Health and Rights fell three weeks after a Kenyan woman was awarded 25,000 USD in compensation by a court in Bungoma, Kenya for the disrespect and abuse she suffered during childbirth in 2013. This is a landmark case for women, in Kenya and globally, and is an affirmation of their human right to respectful and dignified maternity care…read more

Importance of Weight Management in Women of Childbearing Age

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By: Mónica Mazariegos, ScD, Nutritional Epidemiologist, Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) Center for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (CIIPEC)

Developing effective strategies to prevent excessive weight gain in women of childbearing age before, during and after pregnancy is critical to preventing obesity-related maternal and newborn health complications…read more

Improving Health Facility Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for Enhanced Delivery of Quality Maternal and Newborn Health Services in Kenya

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By: Abdi Hassan, WASH Specialist, UNICEF Kenya; Lutomia Mangala, Health Specialist, UNICEF Kenya

World Water Day is an opportunity to reflect on the availability—or lack—of clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in places providing maternal health care around the world. A 2015 World Health Organization rapid assessment of WASH coverage in health care facilities in 54 low- and middle-income countries found that 38% of these facilities lacked access to an improved water source, or one that is likely to be protected from outside contamination. Learn how Kenya has improved WASH conditions in select health facilities in high-burden districts…read more

To Address Noncommunicable Diseases and Maternal Health in Low-Resource Settings, Integrate Data at the Primary Care Level

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By: Elizabeth Marcuse, Community Health Specialist Volunteer, United States Peace Corps, Guyana, South America

High quality maternal health care requires a health workforce and health systems that adequately respond to local needs and can meet emerging challenges, such as those at the intersection of maternal health and noncommunicable diseases. Guyana’s health system structure has serious potential to evaluate and respond to these complex health issues, but decisions concerning resources and strategies require evidence-based support…read more

Targeting Gestational Diabetes During Antenatal Care: Experience from Ethiopia

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By: Mebrahtu Abraha Gebremikael, Elke Konings and Christie Roberts, Management Sciences for Health (MSH)

Evidence suggests that gestational diabetes is highly treatable and, since it is associated with other conditions, there may be opportunities for integrated treatment approaches. Researchers recently carried out a study assessing the prevalence of gestational diabetes in Ethiopia and the feasibility of integrating low-cost services for gestational diabetes into antenatal care…read more