Wednesday October 18, 2017

Why too many women die in childbirth in Developing Countries? How can we tackle Infant Mortality?

World Health Organization (WHO) says it's hard to believe that in 2015, almost 6 million children under age 5 and more than 300,000 mothers died from complications of childbirth.

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Monowara holds her 22-day-old grandson Arafat, as she walks through a mustard field on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan. 22, 2014. VOA

Too many women die in childbirth, and too many babies die during delivery.

Dr. Flavia Bustreo at the World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s hard to believe that in 2015, almost 6 million children under age 5 and more than 300,000 mothers died from complications of childbirth.

Bustreo heads a new program to reduce these deaths by half within the next five years, and to end preventable infant and maternal deaths by 2030 in nine high-risk countries — Bangladesh, India, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. This will be done through a new “Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.” It will have support from UNICEF and WHO, where Bustreo is the assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health.

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“The dynamics we are trying to create is to have the partners and players within each country to create their targets, so that they own those targets, and they are also responsible and accountable to their own population for delivery,” Bustreo told VOA in a Skype interview from Geneva.

World Health Organization’s Flavia Bustreo gestures during an interview in Geneva, Feb. 15, 2016. VOA

Countries are committed

The countries will provide training to health professionals so they can intervene in an emergency, whether it’s suctioning out amniotic fluid from a newborn’s airway so the baby can breathe, or stopping a women who has just given birth from hemorrhaging. Bustreo said a third of maternal deaths are linked to post-partum hemorrhaging, and most of the babies die on the day of their birth.

The countries in the network have high maternal and infant mortality rates, but Bustreo said they are fully committed to achieving these goals.

They need to build or modernize health care facilities so there’s a consistent supply of running water and electricity. A number of facilities lack these necessities. These vital resources mean babies can be incubated and kept warm and mothers who need cesarean sections can have this surgery.

A woman sleeps next to her newborn baby in a nursery in the Juba Teaching Hospital, April 3, 2013. Very few births in South Sudan are assisted by trained midwives.

A woman sleeps next to her newborn baby in a nursery in the Juba Teaching Hospital, April 3, 2013. Very few births in South Sudan are assisted by trained midwives.

Well-trained staff a priority

Health care facilities have to be upgraded or built with their own sources of electricity, and the people who staff these facilities need training so they can perform lifesaving procedures expertly. “If you have a woman who delivers in a health care facility, but that facility does not provide well-trained health care workers or does not provide good quality care, you don’t see mortality reduction,” Bustreo explained.

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In some regions, women traditionally give birth at home. The challenge is to get these women to give birth in clean, well-equipped health facilities. Bustreo said some of these women are afraid they will get infections or contract diseases.

The goal is ultimately to end preventable deaths of mothers and babies. But first, these countries are focusing on reducing maternal and infant death by half within the next five years.(VOA)

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WHO Releases New Guidelines to Fight Global Childhood Obesity

India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot

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OBESITY
Obesity exposes an individual to multiple health problems. VOA

New Delhi, October 12, 2017:  In 2016, an Official data in had revealed that over 41 million children below the age of 5 were affected by obesity. Without due attention and efficient treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, with an increased risk of developing a host of diseases and physical and psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death.

In view of an escalating number of people constantly coming under the ambush of obesity, and with childhood obesity becoming a cause of worry globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on October 4, emphasizing the growing importance of healthcare experts and professionals, underlining their positive role in helping kids and teenagers fight the global menace.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as ‘excess adipose tissue’. In other words, it is a body-weight disorder involving excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems.  In case a person’s body-weight is nearly 20 per cent higher than it should be, he is considered obese.

obesity
Excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems. Pixabay

There are different ways to calculate excess adipose tissue, the most common one being the Body Mass Index.

Index :

Overweight – BMI greater than or equal to 25

Obesity – BMI greater than or equal to 30

Global Data

According to data obtained by WHO, one half of all overweight children or obese children lived in Asia, and one-quarter of the total obese children lived in Africa.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot.

The global menace continues to rise rapidly in low and middle-income countries.

Also Read: Obesity leads to 13 types of Cancer, including that of Pancreas and Esophagus: Study

WHO Guidelines

The new report released by WHO on October 4 is titled ‘Assessing and Managing Children at Primary Healthcare Facilities to Prevent Overweight and Obesity in the Context of the Double Burden of Malnutrition’.

The report provides guidelines and updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guidelines attempt to confine the spread of childhood obesity from expanding further, and prescribe undertaking proper assessment of dietary habits along with weight and height measurements. It also recommends dieting and proper counseling by healthcare experts.

Recommendations by WHO

  • WHO has recommended that primary healthcare facilities should be made available to all children below the age of 5 years and infants. These should include measurement of both weight and height of the children to determine their weight-for height and nutritional status as previously defined by WHO child growth standards.
  • For children and infants identified as overweight, healthcare experts should provide counseling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity, which includes creating awareness about healthy practices like exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continuing the practice until 2 years or more.
  • WHO also prescribes that an appropriate management plan should be devised to counter the menace in obese children. This can be developed by a trained health worker at primary healthcare facilities, or local hospitals.

Healthy Eating Tips to Fight Obesity

Here are a few healthy eating tips that will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also prove be be beneficial for your metabolism, physical strength and general well-being,

  • Refrain from unnecessary indulgences or random snacking and encourage healthy snacking choices like popcorns, yogurt, fruits, etc.
  • Reduce your sugar intake to less than 10 per cent of the total calories for an individual with normal weight.

obesity
Obese and binge eating junk food? Red Flag! Pixabay

  • Consume a gracious serving of seasonal vegetables and fruits everyday that are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make healthy food selections- include whole grain products, avoid excessive use of oil and salt and refrain from processed or packaged food.
  • A balanced diet must be complimented with regular exercise to counter unnecessary weight gain

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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Infant Mortality Rate declined in 2016, shows Health Ministry data

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country's IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas

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Infant Mortality Rate in India
Infant Mortality Rate declines in India. Pixabay
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in India has declined from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016
  • The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR
  • According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival

New Delhi, October 2, 2017: The Infant Mortality Rate, IMR in India has declined by three points, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family welfare’s data released on Friday.

This is indeed a progress looking at the two points decline last year. The 2019 target of IMR 28 per 1000 births, however, is still a long way to go.

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas. India has also recorded a remarkable drop in birth cohort, which has come down to below 25 million for the first time, according to the system.

I90000 fewer infant deaths were registered by India in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total estimated drop in the number of infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016, mentions the Hans India report.

According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival. There has been reduction in the gender difference between female and male IMR.

“We are meeting our targets faster than the global targets, which means our efforts are showing results,” Union health minister JP Nadda had said during a post Cabinet briefing recently, according to the Hindustan Times report.

Also readSafe Rest Practices for Infants made Readily Available to New Parents through Emails and Texts!

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” stated a health ministry statement.

“The countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives, including strengthening of service delivery and drugs and diagnostics have worked well,” it further said.

All the states except Uttarakhand, among the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Assam have reported decline in IMR in comparison to 2015.

The report suggests this decline as of 4 points in Bihar, 3 in Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and decline of two points in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Your Children Might Be At Risk! According to UNICEF, 32 Nations Lack Policies to Support Families With Children

The report says that only 15 countries, including Cuba, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden, have all the three essential national policies that support families with young children

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New York, September 23, 2017 : Thirty-two countries, having the world’s 85 million children under the age of five, do not have any essential policy that supports families with young children, a UNICEF report said.

According to the global body, 40 per cent of the 85 million children, live in just two countries – Bangladesh and the US. The report said that data from various countries including India was missing.

The report says that only 15 countries, including Cuba, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden, have all the three essential national policies that support families with young children.

“We need to do more to give parents and care givers of young children the support they need during this most critical period of brain development,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, adding that if nations don’t invest now in the most vulnerable children and families, they will continue to perpetuate intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and inequality.

“Life by life, missed opportunity by missed opportunity, we are increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots and undermining our long-term strength and stability,” said Lake.

ALSO READ World in the Grip of ‘Hidden Crimes’ : Over 40 Million People, Including Women and Children Trapped in Modern Slavery, Reveals New Report

According to the report, Early Moments Matter for Every Child, two years of free pre-primary education, paid breastfeeding breaks during the first six months of a child’s life followed by six months of paid maternity leave as well as four weeks of paid paternity leave help lay a critical foundation for optimal early childhood development.

“These policies help parents better protect their children and provide them with better nutrition, play and early learning experiences in the crucial first years of life when the brain grows at a rate never to be repeated,” said the report.

Among the countries, which do not have any of the child or parent related policies are Algeria, Barbados, Bhutan, Brunei, Gambia and Kenya.

The report also highlights that millions of children under five years are spending their formative years in unsafe, unstimulating environments.

“Around 75 million children under-five live in areas affected by conflict, increasing their risk of toxic stress, which can inhibit brain cell connections in early childhood,” the report said.

“Globally, poor nutrition, unhealthy environments and disease have left 155 million children under five stunted, which robs their bodies and brains from developing to their full potential.”

It also mentioned that a quarter of all children between the ages of two and four years in 64 countries do not take part in activities essential for brain development such as playing, reading and singing.

“Around 300 million children globally live in areas where the air is toxic, which emerging research shows can damage children’s developing brains,” it said and added that the failure to protect and provide the most disadvantaged children with early development opportunities undermines potential growth of whole societies and economies. (IANS)