SA, Lesotho start phase two of mega water project

first_imgPhase two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will benefit 6 of South Africa’s nine provinces.President Jacob Zuma with King Letsie III inspect Polihali Dam Phase II. (Image: GovZA)Brand South Africa reporterSouth Africa and Lesotho have launched the R15.5-billion second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which will generate hydro-electric power for Lesotho while increasing the volume of water transferred to South Africa from the current 10-billion to about 15-billion cubic metres a year.The first phase of the project – comprising a series of dams, hydropower stations and tunnels between South Africa and mountainous, landlocked Lesotho – was funded by the World Bank and completed in 2004.Speaking at a sod-turning ceremony in the Mokhotlong district of Lesotho on Thursday, South African President Jacob Zuma said the project “represents a win-win mechanism, as it provides needed water to South Africa and creates an opportunity for the required infrastructure development and energy generation in Lesotho”.Among the benefits for Lesotho was the generation of revenue from water royalties and the sale of electricity. According to the Department of Water Affairs, in 2010, when more than 8.3-billion cubic metres of water was transferred to South Africa, Lesotho received R3-million in royalties and R638-million from the sale of electricity generated at the Muela hydropower station.The concrete arch Katse Dam in Lesotho. (Image: World Bank)Besides this, Zuma said, infrastructure development during the project’s first phase had included 102 kilometres of paved roads, 265 kilometres of gravel roads, 1 133 kilometres of rehabilitated roads, 299 kilometre of power lines, and 11 new bridges – including three bridges between Lesotho and South Africa in Maseru, Maputsoe and Caledonspoort.South Africa had also contributed R50-million to the construction of the Metolong Dam, which supplies water to Lesotho, along with a village and information centre at Metolong.At the same time, Zuma said, South Africa had gained high-quality water transfers, new job opportunities, and improved infrastructure in the Free State towns of Clarens, Fouriesburg, Ficksburg and Ladybrand in the form of new border crossings and improved amenities, community halls, clinics, houses and rail facilities.According to the Department of Water Affairs, six of South Africa’s nine provinces, as well as the country’s mining sector and major companies such as Sasol and Eskom, have all benefitted from the improved water security provided by the augmentation of the country’s largest river system, the Vaal.“As it stands, 40% of the water in the Vaal is from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project,” the department said in a statement last week.The first phase of the project comprises the Katse and Mohale dams, the Muela Hydropower station, and 124 kilometre of tunnels and associated infrastructure.The second phase will involve building the Polihali Dam in the Mokhotlong district, which is located in the northeastern part of Lesotho and, according to Wikipedia, includes both the highest terrain in the Maloti mountain range and the source of the Senqu River, Lesotho’s primary watershed.A new tunnel will also be built from from Polihali Dam to Katse Dam, along with new hydropower features and other advanced infrastructure.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Study Highlights Problems In Spreading Social Media Messages

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A new study gives even more credibility to the theory that engaged social media users who not only read messages, but also share them, are a brand’s best friend.Elmie Nekmat’s study of how social media messages change people’s thinking was published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Nekmat found that messages were less likely to change a person’s thinking on a subject if they did not, in turn, share the message or express a similar sentiment. Nekmat, of the University of Singapore, was trying to determine if a similar concept in communications theory also applied to online messages.“Findings show that… simultaneously receiving and expressing a message online as compared to being mere receivers of messages may impact thinking and learning of the message,” Nekmat wrote.The study also found that messages expressing a viewpoint tended to fall into two, broad categories, rational-based and emotional-based, and were usually composed to include either personal experience or general knowledge. How a person composed a message in those categories depended largely on whether they were writing messages for an audience that generally agreed with them on a subject.While the study used a relatively small sample to look at how people responded to messages about an anti-drunk-driving campaign, the research could mark an early foray into how marketers can increase influence among “fans” of their brand on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.Birds of a FeatherPeople tended to write messages that were more emotion-based when writing for a group perceived as similar to them. Also, those messages were more likely to be shared when the recipients were similar to the person who sent the original message.That could be the biggest hurdle for brands trying to find the sweet spot in social marketing. Your biggest boosters are the people who are most likely to spread your message in online social networks. But the people who are most likely to be receptive to those messages are similar to those people and may already be a supporter of your cause or a customer of your company.“The proliferation of online communities of interests in social media (e.g. Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Twitter followers) allowing individuals to create and disseminate more reliable information amongst people with relatively similar attitudes may further serve to reinforce existing attitudes,” the study read.More Power from Loose Connections – Except When They’re Being SarcasticAs far back as 1955, social scientists have known the power of so-called “loose connections” in spreading a message through social networks, and Nekmat’s study adds further evidence to a growing body of research that suggest the same or similar rules apply to digital social networks as well. In short, acquaintances hold a surprising amount of sway on how we think and where we find information and opportunities. In one classic study, people were more likely to find a job through a friend of a friend or an associate of an associate than through a closer connection.One area that Nekmat said should be the subject of further study is the use of sarcastic and cynical comments by these middle-person communications. Theoretically, you’re more likely to pick up on cynicism from someone you know well, but you may not pick up on the same sarcasm from someone who is only a loose connection when those comments are put online.  dave copeland A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#Digital Humanities#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

NIH’s 10% set-aside for AIDS begins to slip in 2016

first_imgAfter more than 20 years of holding HIV/AIDS research funding at a fixed 10% of its overall budget, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will let that level slip this year. Newly public data on grant funding success rates reflect one impetus for abandoning the set-aside: At many institutes, AIDS grants have been much easier to get than non-AIDS funding, suggesting that officials were struggling to find ways to spend the money.In the early 1990s, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was still exploding, Congress and NIH agreed to keep the portion of NIH’s budget devoted to HIV/AIDS steady at roughly 10% year after year. But some institutes have since struggled to find ways to spend their AIDS allocation, sometimes stretching the definition of AIDS research or loosening quality standards. And recently, some members of Congress have questioned whether the special treatment for this disease still makes sense at a time when AIDS deaths in the United States have fallen.Last year, NIH Director Francis Collins announced that the agency would shift its AIDS funding to focus more directly on vaccines and treatments. And in December 2015, with Congress’s agreement, the agency formally stepped away from the 10% formula.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The results can be seen in NIH’s budget request for fiscal year 2017. The agency is holding AIDS funding flat this year at the 2015 level of $3 billion and expects to keep it there in 2017 (p. 3 here). As a result, because NIH’s budget rose nearly 7% last year, and NIH is requesting another bump next year, the portion going to AIDS will fall from 10% in 2015 to 9.3% this year and could drop to 9% in 2017.Also this year, the agency is shifting $154 million from expiring AIDS grants towards the new priorities, says Collins—a major disruption for a set of researchers who must now apply for non-AIDS money to continue their work. NIH expects to move another $60 million to $70 million per year in coming years.Success rate data that ScienceInsider obtained in response to a public records request help explain why the AIDS set-aside has been unpopular at NIH. (Click here to see a graph.) At six institutes that received the lion’s share of AIDS funding, the portion of reviewed grant proposals that were funded was generally 4 to 5 percentage points higher for AIDS grants than for all grants. (The National Institute of Mental Health was an exception.) For example, at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which spent $300 million on AIDS in 2014—totaling 30% of its overall budget—about 23% of AIDS proposals won funding, compared with only 18% of grants overall.NIH notes that a higher success rate for AIDS doesn’t always mean the quality bar was lower; certain institutes may have spent AIDS funds for a specific topic that attracted only a few proposals that were of very high quality. Still, at some institutes, program officers have had to get creative about how to spend AIDS funding. *Update, 24 February, 9:13 a.m.: The article has been revised to clarify that at several institutes, the difference in success rates for AIDS grants compared to all grants is 4 to 5 percentage points.last_img read more

Why cause marketing is booming – and 3 ways to keep it effective

first_imgCause marketing grew again in 2012. Why are more and more companies embracing good causes? Because it works to drive sales – and do good in the process.According to Edelman and emarketer, customers are consistently more inclined to buy products from companies aligned with causes. That said, there is still plenty of research showing consumers are increasingly shrewd about discerning just how caring a company truly is. And they punish those that are not.If you are doing any cause-related marketing – or working with companies who are – remember these three golden rules.1. SuitabilityDoes the partnership pass the sniff test for suitability? For example, even if the company donated all of its profits, Hummer would never be a good partner for Greenpeace. Sounds obvious, right? But I’ve seen some partners that seemed poorly suited. You want a fit that makes sense to the consumer. You also want a fit that makes sense to the corporation and the cause, who should look for a deeper win-win. An ideal partnership is one where the cause and company’s objectives reinforce each other.2. AuthenticityA close cousin of suitability, authenticity is about the company walking the talk of the cause. Does the company advance the principles of the cause in its own work and products? Or is it a way of countering problems? The latter won’t work. That’s writewashing, greenwashing, or pinkwashing, depending on the cause.3. TransparencyIt’s not enough to say, we’re partners and a portion of proceeds benefits xyz charity. Both the company and the charity need to say what amount of money is going where to do what. Very, very clearly – on everything. Put it on price tags, marketing materials, everywhere. Err on the side of openness. The backlash is bitter – especially on social media – if you are not.If you’re a company, by all means partner with a cause. It will be good for your brand – and your sales. But only if you do it right. And if you’re a nonprofit, make sure your partners are genuine. When they are, you get a healthy bottom line – and a better world in the process.last_img read more

Forget Tom Brady and Dancing Sharks, Estella was Our MVP

first_imgThis past Sunday, more than 114 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, the Katy Perry halftime show, and of course, a new lineup of commercials. Although there were tons of famous faces on the screen on Sunday, Network for Good’s MVP was a very special lady, Estella, who was featured in an ad with her Brilliant Bus. In case you missed the spot, here it is: We feel so lucky that this organization is part of the Network for Good family. Congratulations Estella! Your life’s work is truly inspiring to us all and we can’t wait to see where this Brilliant Bus will go next!center_img Estella Pyfrom, founder of Estella’s Brilliant Bus, works to bring technology and services to the communities where they are needed most. Estella has made it her mission to improve the quality of life for countless Southern Florida families. Her Brilliant Bus is just one of the many ways she has impacted communities in Florida.last_img read more

Join the Wilson Center This Wednesday for “Underage: Addressing Reproductive Health and HIV in Married Adolescents”

first_imgPosted on July 28, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A new wave of attention and research is now focused on one of the world’s most vulnerable populations: adolescents. In the developing world, there are 70 million girls under the age of 18 who are married. Most of these girls are incredibly vulnerable —likely taken out of school, pregnant or already parents — they are at increased risk for gender-based violence and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Despite knowing these risks, there is much to be discovered about what adolescents face and how we can better provide for their health and other needs.On Wednesday, July 30, experts will gather in Washington, DC at The Wilson Center to discuss current research and programming with married adolescent girls in the developing world. Representatives from USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS, International Center for Research on Women, CARE, and Pathfinder International will discuss their work from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, West Africa, and other low-resource settings.Join the meeting in person, via live webcast, or twitter on July 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. To RSVP to the meeting, view the webcast, access more resources on reproductive health and HIV in married adolescents and view the speaker list, visit the event page.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

7 Digital Practices to Win Donors’ Hearts

first_imgTechnology has changed the nonprofit landscape—and your job—in more ways than one. A digital strategy is essential to the success of your fundraising campaigns.Use your donor management system to analyze your donor data and segment your donors into groups to target your campaigns for better fundraising results. Then, incorporate these 7 easy-to-execute digital practices into your appeals to increase donor engagement.Online GivingOnline giving is the most popular modern form of giving. It’s quick, easy, accessible, immediate, and cost effective. Branded, designed donation pages raise up to six times as much money on average.1 Share your donation page with supporters near and far, to reach your local community, and beyond.Email AppealsEmail results in 1/3 of online fundraising revenue.1 Sending email blasts (“eblasts”) are a quick, attractive way to communicate with your donors. Use your designed templates to send newsletters, thank you letters, event invitations, and appeals. Leverage your donor data to send each message to a targeted audience. Always include a call to action in emails to inspire greater involvement from your donors.Direct MailTechnology has made it easier and faster to connect with donors, but don’t put an end to your direct mail campaigns just yet. Direct mail motivated 36% more donors to give online in 2016 compared to the previous year.1 Plan a coordinated solicitation campaign featuring direct mail and email blasts to increase your impact and stay front and center in your donors’ minds.Mobile Giving25% of donors complete their donations on mobile devices.1 Make sure your donation pages are all mobile-friendly. Incorporate text-to-give campaigns so donors can give right from their smartphone. Want to know more about mobile giving? Download “The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Giving,” and go everywhere your donors go.Social Media25% of donors say social media inspires them to give.2 Promote your donation page on your social channels. Let followers know they can support you with a fundraiser of their own. Network for Good partners with Facebook on their fundraiser feature, which allows users to raise money for their favorite cause. To master the top social media sites and how to use them to your advantage, check out our “Social Media for Nonprofits” eGuide.Peer-to-PeerPeer-to-Peer programs increase awareness and donor involvement by amplifying your message through peer-driven campaigns. Provide your peer fundraisers with easy-to-share communications tools, such as branded fundraising pages, suggested social media posts, email templates, and information about your organization and how donations will be used.Recurring GiftsMonthly, or recurring, donors often give more over time, donate at higher levels, remain committed donors longer, give additional gifts throughout the year, and actively participate or volunteer. Customize your online giving page to reflect your recurring giving program. For more on recurring gifts, download our eGuide, “A Quick-Start Guide to Monthly Giving.”Become a tech-savvy fundraiser with our How to Integrate Technology into Your Fundraising to Boost Results Checklist.Sources: 1Nonprofit Source, 2Global NGO Technology Reportlast_img read more

Year in Review: Top 10 Highlights in Global Maternal Health From 2017

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 21, 2017January 2, 2018By: Staff, Maternal Health Task ForceClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)2017 was an exciting year for the global maternal health community. In reflecting back on this past year, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) compiled a list of 10 important milestones and developments in the global maternal health field.#10: Continued focus on ‘too little, too late and too much, too soon’The concept of “too little, too late and too much, too soon”—highlighted in The Lancet 2016 Maternal Health Series—continued to resonate in 2017. In May, International Day to End Obstetric Fistula garnered a conversation on social media, and the MHTF published a mini-series exploring the challenges, experiences and innovations related to obstetric fistula, a condition caused by inadequate care during obstructed or prolonged labor.Read [Part 1] Obstetric Fistula: A Global Maternal Health Challenge>>Read [Part 2] Obstetric Fistula: Women’s Voices>> Read [Part 3] Obstetric Fistula: Innovative Interventions and the Way Forward>>In contrast, several events addressed over-medicalization in maternity care, such as “Too Much Too Soon: Addressing Over-Intervention in Maternity Care,” part of the Advancing Dialogue in Maternal Health Series hosted by the Wilson Center, UNFPA and MHTF in April.Watch the webcast and download the presentation slides>>Read event highlights>>In July, a technical meeting co-convened by the Fistula Care Plus Project and the Maternal Health Task Force delved specifically into cesarean section safety and quality in low-resource settings.Download the meeting report and presentations>> Learn more about the global epidemic of cesarean sections>>#9: Increased attention to maternal health in humanitarian settingsHumanitarian crises present unique challenges to maternal and newborn health including inadequate access to sexual, reproductive and maternal health services, trauma, malnutrition, disease and gender-based violence.In May, the MHTF co-hosted a panel discussion as part of the Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series to draw attention to maternal health in urban humanitarian settings around the world.Humanitarian Response in Urban Settings: Meeting the Maternal and Newborn Health Needs of Displaced Persons>>The MHTF also published a mini-series titled, “Profiles of Maternal and Newborn Health in Humanitarian Settings” highlighting what we can learn from several recent events.[Part 1] Ebola Virus Outbreak>>[Part 2] 2015 Nepal Earthquake>>[Part 3] Conflict in Syria>>#8: Measuring and advancing respectful maternity careIn July, the MHTF and Ariadne Labs co-hosted a special webinar, “Integrating Respectful Maternity Care Into Quality Improvement Initiatives,” featuring Rima Jolivet, Rose Molina, David Sando, Katherine Semrau and Saraswathi Vedam.Watch the video>>Download the presentation slides>>In October, Rima Jolivet, David Sando and several colleagues published a paper, “Methods used in prevalence studies of disrespect and abuse during facility based childbirth: Lessons learned,” offering several recommendations for future research on this topic.Read a summary of the paper on the MHTF blog>>Finally, the December 2017 issue of the MHTF Quarterly featured a short history of the respectful maternity care movement and key resources to learn more.Read the MHTF Quarterly>>#7: Supporting the global maternal health workforceAn effective maternal health workforce requires not only a sufficient number of health workers but also equitable geographic distribution, diversity in skill, adequate education and training and strong, supportive health systems. All of these components are critical to ensuring that health workers can provide high quality maternal health care.Access key resources related to the global maternal health workforce>> Read perspectives on this topic in the MHTF’s blog series>>In March, the MHTF attended the Institutionalizing Community Health Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. More than 375 people representing over 45 countries gathered to strategize on ways to advance sustainable development through community health and primary health care. Learn more on the MHTF blog:5 key takeaways from ICHC>>Community-Based Maternal Health Care: Meeting Women Where They Are>>The Legacy of the Alma-Ata Declaration: Integrating Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services Into Primary Care>>#6: Converging action towards ending preventable maternal mortalityFollowing the 2015 publication of “Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM),” a direction-setting report outlining targets and strategies for reducing global maternal deaths under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there have been many efforts to clarify the global and national maternal mortality targets and to ensure that countries have the tools they need to track progress towards EPMM.Learn more about maternal mortality under the SDGs>>Read about the MHTF’s role in EPMM>>In April, the MHTF’s Maternal Health Technical Director Rima Jolivet and colleagues spoke at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference in Washington, D.C. about measuring progress towards EPMM. In July, Doris Chou of the World Health Organization and Rachel Snow of UNFPA continued the conversation on global maternal health measurement during a dialogue at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.This year, Every Woman Every Child released its first progress report on achieving the goals set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030), which included a focus on EPMM and improving maternal health equity.#5: High quality maternal health care for allIn 2017, there was increased emphasis on ensuring that women worldwide have equitable access to high quality maternal health care. On the global level, the Countdown to 2030 Equity Technical Working Group published equity profiles illustrating coverage levels of effective interventions across the continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition disaggregated by subnational region, wealth quintiles and urban/rural areas of residence from 81 countries.Download the country equity profiles>>In the United States, the media highlighted racial inequities in maternal health. Black women are still roughly three times more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes compared to white women in the United States, which is one of the drivers of its relatively high maternal mortality ratio.Learn about the Black Mamas Matter Alliance>>#4: New clinical guidelines and resourcesSeveral new guidelines were released in 2017 that aimed to improve maternal health outcomes and quality of care.Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Guide for Midwives and Doctors>>Implementing Malaria in Pregnancy Programs in the Context of World Health Organization Recommendations on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience>>Recommendations for Misoprostol Use From the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)>>To increase access to critical maternal health research, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine​​​​​​​ and other contributors released a new free online course exploring key insights from The Lancet 2016 Maternal Health Series.The Lancet Maternal Health Series: Global Research and Evidence#3: Marking the 30th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood InitiativeIn December, experts in reproductive and maternal health gathered at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. for two panel discussions celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative and reflecting on progress and future directions in the field. Panelists included Barbara Kwast, Ann Starrs, Betsy McCallon, Address Malata, Dorothy Lazaro, Mary-Ann Etiebet and Mary Ellen Stanton. Petra ten Hoope-Bender and Rima Jolivet moderated the dialogue and raised important questions.Watch the webcast and download the presentations>>Read event highlights>>#2: Greater focus on noncommunicable diseasesAs the world continues to undergo the “obstetric transition” from mostly direct causes of maternal mortality to more indirect causes, addressing the effects of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) on maternal health is becoming increasingly urgent.On 2 November, the MHTF hosted a panel discussion at the Harvard T.H. Chan Leadership Studio to launch the fifth MHTF-PLOS Collection, “Noncommunicable Diseases and Maternal Health Around the Globe.”Read a summary>>Watch the video>>Browse papers from the MHTF-PLOS Collection>>Additionally, the September issue of the MHTF Quarterly newsletter highlighted resources related to NCDs and maternal health, and MHTF Director Ana Langer took part in Women Deliver’s three-part webinar series about diabetes in pregnancy. Watch the videos from this series:[Part 1] Examining the Evidence>>[Part 2] Strategies in Practice>>[Part 3] Fueling Action: Policy and Advocacy to Address the Rising Toll of Diabetes in Pregnancy>>#1: New drug for preventing postpartum hemorrhageIn May, The Lancet published groundbreaking findings from the WOMAN trial on the effectiveness of tranexamic acid in preventing postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), one of the leading causes of global maternal deaths. Six months later, the World Health Organization updated its guidelines to include the use of tranexamic acid for prevention of PPH. Learn more from the WOMAN trial’s project director on the MHTF blog:Collaboration and Creative Communication: How the WOMAN Trial Findings Translated Into Maternal Health Policy Change>>The MHTF is looking forward to seeing more scientific breakthroughs and innovations from the global maternal health community in 2018 as we work together to end preventable maternal deaths and advance maternal health worldwide.—What were your 2017 highlights from the global maternal health community? What do you hope to see in 2018? Tell us what you think!Share this:last_img read more

In India, Culturally Relevant Community Events Aim to Improve Health-Seeking Behavior During Pregnancy

first_imgConnect community health volunteers to beneficiariesA cadre of community health volunteers attends these baby showers. Volunteers are connected to pregnant women and then help women register their pregnancies, take them for antenatal visits, intervene in the case of emergencies and organize transportation during labor. They are trained in basic and emergency obstetric care and to spot danger signs during pregnancy and labor.—Learn more about antenatal care>>Share this: Introduce the local public health facility as a touch-point during pregnancy and laborHolding these events at the health post—rather than in a community space—has helped lead more women to use public health facilities and services. The events are attended by public health workers and employees, bringing together public health staff and the community. Health post staff arrange for antenatal check-up kits at the event. For many women, it is their first visit to a health facility and an opportunity to learn about the services they offer. When women see motivated and engaged public health personnel, they are often keen to register their pregnancies, come for antenatal check-ups and give birth in a public health facility. This can also give them the confidence to become empowered users of public services. According to the endline survey, on average about 95% of women received four or more antenatal check-ups. Disseminate practical nutrition educationOrganizing stalls at the venues with sample meal plans and food items showcases an optimum pregnancy diet. The stalls have samples of lentil sprouts, boiled eggs, roasted whole-flour snacks and soups to emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy intake of protein and iron rich foods, while pregnant. Selecting affordable and low-cost food items demonstrates that it is possible to eat a healthy diet on a low budget. This can motivate pregnant women to go back home and start eating and cooking mindfully. Posted on March 6, 2018March 6, 2018By: Hamsini Ravi, Communications Manager, Society for Nutrition, Education and Health ActionClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Health-seeking behaviors among pregnant women in low-resource settings in India are abysmally low. The latest National Family Health Survey (2016) revealed that only 35% of women in Maharashtra, a high-income and highly urbanized state in India, accessed full antenatal care, (ANC) including at least four antenatal visits, at least one tetanus toxoid injection and iron folic acid tablets or syrup taken for 100 or more days. Having worked with communities living in informal settlements in the megapolis of Mumbai and its suburbs for nearly two decades, the Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action, (SNEHA) a non-profit organization that works on women and children’s health across the life cycle, aims to strengthen bonds with women and children from marginalized and vulnerable slum communities to influence decision-making in health matters. SNEHA’s Maternal and Newborn Health Program works with communities as well as public health systems to bring about tangible change in indicators, attitudes and health services.At the community level, one of SNEHA’s many outreach strategies is to conduct events such as baby-showers, or godhbharai. These culturally relevant community events have immense potential in improving the health-seeking behavior of pregnant women while expanding their knowledge of and willingness to use available public health services.These baby showers are typically conducted at local health posts close to where intended beneficiaries live, giving pregnant women an opportunity to feel welcome at health facilities. Creating a feeling of festivity and celebration is central to the godhbharai, in which women receive garlands and are offered fruits as a take-home souvenir. These events are conducted in collaboration with public systems, with public workers and personnel in attendance. These personnel contribute by giving health and nutrition talks and assuring the gathered women of the system’s commitment to their health and the babies’ wellbeing.Here are five lessons learned from conducting these events:Provide a useful platform for sharing critical health informationThese baby showers combine celebration of the pregnancy as a life event, while disseminating valuable health information on the importance of seeking ANC, pregnancy registration, birth preparedness as well as newborn care and breastfeeding. They also enable public health staff to talk about relevant programs, such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana, a conditional cash transfer scheme that encourages institutional deliveries. Field workers share stories of second-time mothers who register themselves with a public facility for delivery after hearing about the benefits. The 2016 endline survey of Beyond Boundaries found that average institutional delivery rates among the intervening beneficiaries was around 89.5%. Distributing birth preparedness and complication readiness cards that list information in an easy-to-digest manner helps empower women with information and take charge of pregnancy and birth.center_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Facilitate supportGiven that many beneficiary communities are migrants and often have families and social networks hundreds of kilometers away, bringing pregnant women together in an event creates a community of support to share joys and resolve anxiety. Informal social networks have positive effects on knowledge of health practices, during pregnancy, birth and child development. The geographical layouts of slum communities encourage interaction and friendships, thereby having a positive effect on health.last_img read more

Monetary economics in emerging markets needs a rethink, says RBI Governor

first_imgWashington: Observing that the global financial crisis has exposed several limitations of conventional and unconventional monetary policy tools, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday said monetary economics in emerging markets needs a rethink. This includes challenging the conventional wisdom of modern central banks to hike or reduce their interest rates by 25 basis points or multiples thereof, Das said in a special address delivered on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Highly appreciated by the audience for his call for out-of-the-box thinking to address monetary policy challenges of the 21st century, Das said the unconventional monetary policies of advanced economies have resulted in “risks and spillovers” for the emerging markets. In his speech titled ‘Global Risks and Policy Challenges facing Emerging Market Economies’, Das observed that the global financial crisis has exposed several limitations of conventional and unconventional monetary policy tools. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost In despair, some have turned to the heterodox evolution of ideas that are being practiced as modern monetary theory, he noted. In the end, monetary policy must touch the real economy, spur investments, and maintain monetary and financial stability, he asserted. The time has come to think out of the box, including by challenging the conventional wisdom, he told the packed auditorium. Typically, modern central banks with interest rates as their main instrument move in baby steps — 25 basis points or multiples thereof — and announce a stance of tightening, neutrality or accommodation to guide the markets and the public on the likely future course of policy, he said. “One thought that comes to my mind is that if the unit of 25 basis points is not sacrosanct and just a convention, monetary policy can be well served by calibrating the size of the policy rate to the dynamics of the situation and the size of the change itself can convey the stance of policy,” the RBI Governor said. For instance, if easing of monetary policy is required but the central bank prefers to be cautious in its accommodation, a 10 basis points reduction in the policy rate would perhaps communicate the intent of authorities more clearly than two separate moves — one on the policy rate, wasting 15 basis points of valuable rate action to rounding off, and the other on the stance, which in a sense binds future policy action to a pre-committed direction, he said. Likewise, in a situation in which the central bank prefers to be accommodative but not overly so, it could announce a cut in the policy rate by 35 basis points if it has judged that the standard 25 basis points is too little, but its multiple, that is 50 basis points, is too much. “This approach can also be useful when the central bank is on a tightening mode and potentially help avoid policy turnaround from forward guidance via stance too far into the future, which in a highly volatile global scenario, may not even be a year,” Das said. Stating that management of global spillovers poses a formidable challenge to emerging market economies, Das told the audience that a truly global financial safety net remains elusive as in this age of mobile capital flows, consequences of their arrivals, sudden stops and reversals are to be borne nationally. As a result, emerging market economies (EMEs) are typically at the receiving end when global spillovers flare up, he said, adding that they have no recourse but to build their own forex reserve buffers. Paradoxically, the accumulation of reserves has become stigmatised, including with labels such as “currency manipulation”, he rued. “As I see it, we may be unintentionally setting the stage for several EME currencies to break out and challenge the hegemony of the dominant reserve currencies. “There is a need for greater understanding on both sides. In the meantime, so far as the Reserve Bank of India is concerned, we will continue to play by the extant rules of the game,” Das said in his special address. Das also said central banks have to interact closely with financial markets for transmission of monetary policy impulses. “In this context, ensuring a sound and efficient payment and settlement system is a pre-requisite,” he noted.last_img read more