Tuesday January 23, 2018

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
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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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A lesson in the woods may boost kids’ learning

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student's attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

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Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
  • To help students concentrate and learn more, teachers have found a new way of teaching them.
  • This technique of teaching outdoors will boost children’s mental capabilities to learn and remember.

Are your students unable to concentrate on their lessons in the classroom? Take them for outdoor learning sessions.

According to a study, a lesson in the lap of nature can significantly increase children’s attention level and boost their learning.

While adults exposed to parks, trees or wildlife have been known to experience benefits such as increased physical activity, stress reduction, rejuvenated attention and increased motivation, in children, even a view of greenery through a classroom window can have positive effects on their attention span, the researchers said.

The study showed that post an outdoor lesson, students were significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork and were not overexcited or inattentive.

Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons
Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student’s attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

“Our teachers were able to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long at a time after the outdoor lesson and we saw the nature effect with our sceptical teacher as well,” said Ming Kuo, a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tested their hypothesis in third graders (9-10 years old) in a school.

A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA
A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA

Over a 10-week period, an experienced teacher held one lesson a week outdoors and a similar lesson in her regular classroom and another, more sceptical teacher did the same. Their outdoor “classroom” was a grassy spot just outside the school, in view of a wooded area.

A previous research suggested that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise can also significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory. IANS