IHP news 513: SR/Mat/neonatal & child health

By on March 15, 2019

Plos Med – Age distribution, trends, and forecasts of under-5 mortality in 31 sub-Saharan African countries: A modeling study


In a modelling study, Iván Mejía-Guevara & colleagues investigate prospects for reductions in neonatal and under-5 mortality across sub-Saharan Africa, and assess the implications for Sustainable Development Goal targets.”

Some of the findings: “…Our mortality model revealed substantive declines of death rates at every age in most countries but with notable differences in the age patterns over time. U5MRs declined from 3.3% (annual rate of reduction [ARR] 0.1%) in Lesotho to 76.4% (ARR 5.2%) in Malawi, and the pace of decline was faster on average (ARR 3.2%) than that observed for infant (IMRs) (ARR 2.7%) and neonatal (NMRs) (ARR 2.0%) mortality rates. We predict that 5 countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda) are on track to achieve the under-5 sustainable development target by 2030 (25 deaths per 1,000 live births), but only Rwanda and Tanzania would meet both the neonatal (12 deaths per 1,000 live births) and under-5 targets simultaneously…”

LSHTM – Secrets of early life revealed from less than half a teaspoon of blood


A global team of scientists have mapped the developmental pathway of a newborn’s life for the first time. The research, published in Nature Communications, could transform our understanding of health and disease in babies. Co-led by the MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the new study included lifting the lid on what genes are turned on, what proteins are being made and what metabolites are changing in the first seven days of human life. Newborn babies are the most vulnerable population when it comes to infectious disease. Establishing key pathways in early development could help measure the impact of factors such as diet, disease and maternal health, as well as key interventions like vaccines. …”

Medical Anthropology – INGO Behavior Change Projects: Culturalism and Teenage Pregnancies in Malawi

H Pot; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01459740.2019.1570187

Adolescent girls are at the center of many health development interventions. Based on ethnographic research in rural Malawi, I analyze the design, implementation, and reception of an international non-government organization’s project aiming to reduce teenage pregnancies by keeping girls in school. Drawing on Fassin’s theorization of culturalism as ideology, I analyze how a tendency to overemphasize culture is inherent to the project’s behavior change approach, but is reinforced locally by class-shaped notions of development, and plays out through reinforcing ethnic stereotypes. I argue that culturalism builds upon previous health development initiatives that dichotomized modernity and tradition, and is strengthened by short-term donor funding.”

BMJ Editorial – Protecting women and children in conflict settings

Z Bhutta et al; https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l1095

Children and their families urgently need better evidence, better care, and better outcomes.”  Check out what BMJ plans to do, in the coming months, in this respect.

A recent Save the Children report highlighted that some 357 million children, one in every six children in the world, currently live in a conflict zone. Almost half of them live in severe conflict settings. Wagner et al  estimate that a child born within 50 km of an armed conflict event in Africa has a 7.7% excess risk of dying in infancy. This equates to 5.2 more deaths per 1000 births than during periods without conflict in the same region. Predictably, this effect increases with severity of conflict….”

Devex – DFID chief seeks US partnership on women’s rights


From late last week (around International Women’s Day): “The U.K. Department for International Development will announce a new initiative in the coming weeks focused on partnerships and broadening who the agency works with, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt said Friday. … … The United Kingdom development chief added that the initiative will not be solely focused on funding new partnerships, but about being a catalyst, adding that DFID is specifically looking to do more work with faith-based organizations.

“Mordaunt was in Washington, D.C., this week for several meetings and speaking engagements around women’s empowerment, gender equality, and the importance of U.S. leadership on these issues. “When we work together, we can get things done. Without our support in these areas, it is clear we will not achieve the global goals,” Mordaunt said in a speech Friday at the United States Institute of Peace. “The women’s movement globally needs America and it needs the United Kingdom….”

CGD (blog) – Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 with These 8 Gender Policy Wins

T Jaluka; https://www.cgdev.org/blog/celebrate-international-womens-day-2019-these-8-gender-policy-wins

Also from late last week. Worth a read – with 8 examples of global progress. “Since last International Women’s Day, remarkable women, girls, and allies have created policy changes to improve gender equality globally. To mark the day, here are eight achievements to celebrate:…”

Apolitical – Bringing men into the heart of the gender equality revolution: the gender equality revolution is also a revolution for men

M Kaufman; https://apolitical.co/solution_article/men-gender-equality-revolution/

This piece was written by Michael Kaufman, who has worked in 50 countries over the past four decades to engage men to support women’s rights, end GBV and positively transform our ideals of manhood. He is a member of France’s G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign. “

“In my new book, The Time Has Come. Why Men Must Join the Gender Equality Revolution, I draw on feminist analyses, women’s organising and women’s voices to make the moral, economic, political and social case for men to embrace efforts to achieve gender justice in our workplaces, homes, schools and nations….”

“…the dominant ways we’ve defined manhood are impossible for any man to live up to — and thus we set boys and men up for failure. …”  Kaufman gives some advice on what needs to be done.

HP&P – Initiation and continuity of maternal healthcare: examining the role of vouchers and user-fee removal on maternal health service use in Kenya

M L Dennis et al ; https://academic.oup.com/heapol/advance-article/doi/10.1093/heapol/czz004/5370322

This study explores the relationship between two health financing initiatives on women’s progression through the maternal health continuum in Kenya: a subsidized reproductive health voucher programme (2006–16) and the introduction of free maternity services in all government facilities (2013)….”

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