Tag Archives: maternal mortality

The Women of Rural Zambia Walk Miles to Give Birth

Hariane hadn’t heard the expression “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” To this modest young mother living in rural Zambia, her life, and that of her newborn daughter, was very much about the destination.

“When I was due for delivery, I came to the clinic but there were no nurses or staff there,” Hariane says. We’re sitting in a one-bed labor ward in Zambia’s Southern Province, just out of the earshot of a dozen mothers and newborns waiting for immunizations. “As I walked back to the village, the baby’s head was already coming out. I didn’t know what to do.”

So Hariane gave birth to her daughter, Violet, under a tree next to a narrow dirt road about an hour’s walk from her village. In other words, her childbirth happened on the journey because her destination was out of reach.

Full article on VICE/Tonic

The Peaks Unclimbed: Former President Joyce Banda on the Unmet Goals for Girls and Women

Well, we made it. We’ve reached 2015. The countdown to the most monumental milestone in the history of international development has reached its final stretch as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals quickly approaches. There has been no greater force of good in the fight against poverty and disease than the MDGs, having improved the lives of billions of people (yes, with a “b”) in one fell swoop of eight goals, thousands of committed partners and communities and billions of dollars in support.

But if the MDGs are Mount Everest, we’re currently sitting on a plateau somewhere halfway up: Progress is as undeniable as it is unprecedented, yet most of the goals remain unfulfilled. We are the climbers alternating glances at the outstanding summits and the path ascended. And as tempting as it may be marvel at how far we’ve climbed, Forbes’ Most Powerful Woman in Africa in 2014 believes that we will be judged by the peaks we couldn’t reach, and the millions of girls and women hanging in the balance.

“We’ve reached 2015 and it’s clear that great progress is being made,” former President of Malawi Joyce Banda recently told me (in a rare and eminently generous conversation). “But when we take stock of the MDGs, we will find that we’ve come up short for our girls and women.”

Full article on Huffington Post 

When Human Rights Protests Cost Lives: How can the world fight Uganda’s anti-gay laws without hurting the health of its citizens? The private sector may be the answer

Just over a month ago, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni famously signed a harsh anti-gay bill into law, effectively outlawing same-sex activity in his country and prompting three Western nations to freeze their foreign aid to Uganda, with several more expected to follow suit.

Joining the majority of African countries – and (too) many others around the world – Uganda’s decision to ban homosexuality presents a critical dilemma for the international community: How can we reconcile the country’s unacceptable human rights violations with its dire need for development assistance? Can we make a diplomatic statement without comprising the health and economic condition of Uganda’s most vulnerable people? As one might expect, this nuanced challenge does not have a black and white solution; rather it falls into what I would call a newly minted “g(r)ay area of global development.”

Coming amid a flurry of recent stories linking LGBT rights and global development – from Russia’s anti-gay law that drew attentionduring the Sochi Olympics to World Vision USA’s decision to continue its discrimination against people in same-sex marriages – this latest anti-gay position reflects a trend among developing countries, especially those in Africa. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 38 African nations criminalize homosexuality, four of which have death penalty punishments built into their laws. Reprehensible in principle as they are inhumane in severity, these laws bring with them far-reaching implications about the continent’s overall development, perhaps most notably in their public health outcomes.

Full article on Next Billion