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Understanding the Girl Effect

A recent opinion piece in The Guardian questions the contributions that girls and young women can make to economies when they delay childbirth.  The author fails to understand the complexity of the “Girl Effect.”

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Progress on Health at G8 Doesn’t Make the Grade

A report card on progress made on health at the G8 Summit gave poor marks to the world’s most powerful leaders and maternal health may be faring the worst of all.

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Maternal and Child Health Makes Strides at G8

Maternal health advocates made more progress than expected at the G8 Summit, gaining critical support from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, host country Japan, and UK’s First Lady Sarah Brown.

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Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health: G8 Heats Up

The wives of the prime ministers of the UK and Japan have shown strong support for maternal and child health at the G8 Summit.

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The G8 Takes on Maternal Health — Or Does It?

Will the nations gathered at the G8 summit realize that investing in women’s health is the best way to fight poverty?

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Maternal Health: Moving Forward or Backward?

The latest numbers show the United States is becoming more, not less, dangerous for women who give birth here. Why is the maternal mortality rate increasing and what can we do about it? Women Deliver aims to find an answer.

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Saving Afghan Women: The Unseen Victims

Women in Afghanistan who decide to become mothers are the invisible victims of war. The maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is the worst in the world, tied with Sierra Leone,but stories about health conditions there fail to mention this.

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Why Women Deliver? Why Now?

Women Deliver marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the global Safe Motherhood Initiative. Its research led to impressive gains in many places, but there is still much more to be done to reduce maternal and newborn deaths.

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Global Commitment to Safe Motherhood

Mother's Day is bittersweet for those of us who work in maternal health; pregnancy is still terribly dangerous for women around the world.

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Midwives to the Rescue: Reducing Maternal Mortality

Jill Sheffield is the Founder and President of Family Care International (FCI).

I just returned from Malaysia, where I attended the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) triennial congress. I traveled with some of my colleagues from Family Care International (FCI) to present results from the final evaluation of FCI's Skilled Care Initiative, a three-country project to increase the proportion of women who deliver with a "skilled attendant" – a trained and properly supported health care provider – in rural Africa. I'll be writing more about this initiative in my next posting.

In Kuala Lumpur, thousands of obstetricians and gynecologists gathered to share data from new studies, learn about new surgical techniques, and vote on their leadership. Among so many dedicated doctors who have made a lifelong commitment to promoting the latest and greatest in women's health, one could be lulled into thinking that women's health must be in good shape.

Sadly, over the past 20 years, maternal mortality rates have barely budged in much of the world. In some African countries, as many as one in 10 women will die of a pregnancy-related cause. Nicholas Kristoff's two columns in the New York Times (published in September) about the death of Prudence Lemokouno described the factors that contribute to maternal mortality. Ms. Lemokouno had a pregnancy complication which could have easily been dealt with had she received prompt obstetrical care, and when she and her family sought care, they encountered a range of barriers – financial, geographic, and cultural – that resulted in unacceptable delays, poor service, and ultimately, her death.

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