Sunni Arab leaders seek U.S. help for Anbar police

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Morrell said the half-hour meeting was “very warm and productive,” coming nearly two months after Gates joined President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a one-day visit to Anbar province for talks with provincial leaders, including the slain Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha. Morrell said the Anbar leaders told Gates they hoped that the improved security they helped achieve in predominantly Sunni Anbar could be replicated elsewhere in Iraq. They also asked for U.S. help in expanding and equipping the provincial police force. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Sunni Arab leaders from Iraq’s Anbar province asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday for U.S. help in expanding their police forces. They included Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, older brother of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq who was assassinated near the provincial capital of Ramadi in September. The slain sheik had organized Sunni Arab clans into an alliance to drive al-Qaida from sanctuaries in Anbar province where the terror movement had flourished since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Also attending Wednesday’s meeting at the Pentagon were the chairman of the Anbar provincial council, the governor of Anbar and the mayor of the city of Ramadi, said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. last_img read more

Ground-breaking find by South African researcher

first_imgRay Maota Nokuthula Mchunu-Nxumalo has discovered that a certain fungus can be used to create a xylanase enzyme (pictured) which bleaches paper, thus eliminating the use of harmful chlorine in the food and paper industries. (Image: Naro Food Research Institute) Mchunu-Nxumalo is a doctoral student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). (Image: DUT) MEDIA CONTACTS • Professor Suren Singh  HOD: Biotechnology and Food Technology  +27 31 373 5321 RELATED ARTICLES • Sci-Bono CEO gets French knighthood • South African women lead the way in science • South African whizz-kid in line for Google award • South African students tops at science awardsA South African microbiologist has discovered that a certain fungus can be used to create a xylanase enzyme which bleaches paper, thus eliminating the use of harmful chlorine in the food and paper industries.Nokuthula Mchunu-Nxumalo, a doctoral student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), made the discovery during an 18-month study with academics at the University of Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Centre for Chemical Biology and the DUT.The work, which forms part of Mchunu-Nxumalo’s doctoral thesis, is a partnership between DUT’s biotechnology and food technology department and USM.Professor Suren Singh, head of biotechnology and food technology at the DUT, said: “Mchunu has spent close to a year at the Malay university and has made excellent progress in completing the sequencing of an industrially important thermophilic fungal genome, a world first.”Singh said the research finding was a milestone for the DUT.Through her work, Mchunu-Nxumalo has discovered more than 200 enzymes responsible for plant and waste degradation – which could also help in the production of renewable fuels.“South Africa has a lot of agricultural waste from growing maize, rice and sugarcane … the proteins can actually convert plant waste into biofuel,” she said.Heat-loving fungusMchunu-Nxumalo’s ground-breaking research in the sequencing of a thermophilic genome has been co-supervised by Profs Kugen Permaul and Maqsudul Alam from USM’s Centre for Chemical Biology.According to DUT’s Prof Singh, genomic sequencing refers to a combination of lab experiments and computer processing that elucidates the entire DNA sequence of a living organism.“Sequencing of the human genome is one of man’s greatest scientific accomplishments, taking approximately 12 years since 1989 to produce a draft version,” he said.“To this day, it is only approximately 90% complete and this is due, in part, to the large amount of DNA we possess and also since about 8% contains repetitive sequences that contain no genes.”The research by Mchunu-Nxumalo concentrated on a smaller genome from a thermophilic fungus, which prefers high temperatures of up to 60°C. This is vital for heat-intensive industrial processes.Professor Permaul said: “Mchunu’s research shows that there is a greater than 90% match between the genome and transcriptome (codes for real genes), demonstrating the high quality of the data produced by the high throughput genome sequencing.“The identified genes will be used to mass-produce enzymes that will be useful in industrial applications and processes.”A global academicMchunu-Nxumalo grew up in Port St John’s in the Eastern Cape, but now lives in Port Shepstone on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast.She lectures undergraduates at DUT’s department of biotechnology and food technology.Once she returns from Malaysia, Mchunu-Nxumalo will join Singh and Permaul in studying the DNA sequencing of indigenous plants.Permaul said: “Mchunu intends producing at least two scientific articles from the results of her project as well as file patents for genes that produce enzymes of industrial importance.”Mchunu-Nxumalo also took part in a bilateral research project between DUT and Sweden’s Lund University as part of her master’s study.With DUT’s department of biotechnology and food technology investing R20-million (US$2.8-million) in upgrading its state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, Singh believes they will be able to extend ground-breaking research beyond 2011.Representatives from USM and DUT met on 26 August 2011 at the DUT’s Hotel School Conference Centre and signed a memorandum of understanding to establish future research prospects.last_img read more

Cavs owner gets ‘vile’ voicemails after LeBron’s ‘bum’ tweet

first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim FEU rolls to 3rd straight win, routs UP FILE – In this July 26, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert answer questions during an NBA basketball news conference at the team’s training facility in Independence, Ohio. Gilbert says he received “vile, disgusting” voicemails after LeBron James called President Donald Trump “a bum” on Twitter. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)CLEVELAND — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert received “vile, disgusting” voicemails after LeBron James called President Donald Trump a “bum” on Twitter.Gilbert said he was flooded with phone messages when the NBA’s most celebrated player criticized Trump for rescinding a White House invitation to Golden State’s Stephen Curry to honor the team’s NBA championship.ADVERTISEMENT Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Our interests are in the policies at the federal level, and not the politics surrounding the elections,” he said. “We have often supported both political parties in the same election so that we have the ability to impact positive change, regardless of who occupies the offices.“Our focus with any office-holder or politician is about the communication of the still substantial needs of our former rust-belt cities that are now finally beginning the road to recovery and growth that other parts of America have been experiencing for a long period of time.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel planscenter_img Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups MOST READ This week, James said he did not regret his comment about Trump.“Me and my friends call me that all the time,” James said during a news conference on media day. “I’m not his friend, though. He’s not my friend. No, when I woke up and saw what he said about Steph Curry. First of all, it’s so funny because it’s like you inviting me to your party, right? As a matter of fact, it’s not like you invited me.“It’s almost, like, ’Hey, I’m not going to be able to make it. I’m not coming and then you would be like, ‘LeBron, guess what? You’re not invited.’ I wasn’t coming anyways, so that was funny to me when I woke up and saw that. So, my first initial response was, you bum.”James also commended NFL players for protesting after Trump said owners should fire any players who kneel during the national anthem.Gilbert has ties to Trump, from his Quicken Loans mortgage lending company donating $750,000 to the president’s inauguration party. But Gilbert said in a statement this week that he supports both political parties.ADVERTISEMENT “I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist,” Gilbert said on Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”“There’s an element of racism that I didn’t even realize existed in this country this much.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGilbert said he had not told James about the voicemails. He called the comments unnerving.“And you could hear it in their voice — the racism,” Gilbert said. “It wasn’t even really about the issue, and that’s what really got me, because they went to who they really are, some of them.” No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

The 4 qualities of powerful visual storytelling

first_imgContent syndication outlet NewsCred has teamed up with Getty Images to create a new site, The Power of Visual Storytelling. The online guide (and accompanying whitepaper) boils down the essentials of effective imagery into four principles:Be authentic. With stock images and Photoshop, it’s easy to be fake. Allow your readers to connect with the human side of your work by highlighting candid photos that show the reality of your work. Your images don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to stir emotion.Excite the senses. Don’t avoid the gritty details that bring a story to life. Generic or too-glossy photos remove the personality from your subject. Choose or create images that make your audience feel like they can almost hear, smell, and touch the world you’re inviting them into.Evoke a familiar archetype. Tap into what resonates with your audience by creating a persona to connect with their experiences or aspirations. Remember: powerful characters are a must for any great story.Be relevant. To really connect with your supporters, your images and stories need to reflect the things that are immediate and real to them. This means that your outreach must be current and culturally sensitive to make an impact. The Power of Visual Storytelling offers more insight on each of these components, complete with stats and examples. As you’re creating your next campaign, try incorporating all four elements to command attention and draw your audience even closer to your cause. Want more storytelling ideas? Download our free guide: Storytelling for Nonprofits.last_img read more

Setting Up Online Donations for Nonprofits

first_imgSetting up online donations for your nonprofit organization not only makes your job easier, but it also increases charitable donations by making it easier for donors to give. Consider the typical process of a traditional donation when someone was inspired by an ad or speech:Wait until they get back homeRemember that they wanted to make a donationFind a checkbookFind an envelopeFind your address & write it outFind a stampMail out the donationContrast that with the simplicity of online donations:Pull out a smartphoneEnter your organization’s name in a search engineFind the donation pageClick the donation buttonThat’s the difference between a minute versus what often took days, to a week, to complete. The immediate ability to click a “donate now” button allows donors to complete their transaction and eliminates the likelihood of them forgetting somewhere along the way. How may donations have been lost due to a willing donor not having a checkbook handy or not having a stamp? Probably many.For a very small organization, it may be enough to set up a PayPal payment page, but for an organization of any size, particularly one with ongoing or repeated nonprofit fundraising, it is very important to have a customizable donation website. A donation website should also be “responsive,” meaning it is designed to provide optimal viewing on various-sized screens, from phones to desktops.As in the example above, many people use their smartphones for Internet access. They need to be able to navigate through your page in a sensible way and don’t want to be scrolling around a large page trying to find where to click.Another reason to have a customizable site is that you can include your branding, which speaks powerfully to your committed donors. They need to feel that they are participating in your cause, not just dropping money.DonateNow is fundraising software that we use for donation websites. There is more information plus quite a few screen captures on our website, which give you a better idea of how a good online fundraising website should look. Whether you choose to use this software or not, browse through our pages that show how the program works and what it looks like to get a good idea of what to look for and what you can expect from fundraising software.Network for Good has a blog with more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, so contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.last_img read more

Wow: Recurring Giving Challenge Winners

first_imgStaff Pick Awards: Recurring Giving Challenge Winners: During the challenge we saw our nonprofit customers jump in feet first to new campaigns, ask for feedback about their work, and find success in expanding their base of recurring donors. All of that hard work has paid off big time, not only in new recurring donors providing steady support, but also their share of $20,000 in bonus rewards from the Network for Good Generosity Fund. Join us in celebrating our Recurring Giving Challenge winners. Don’t hesitate to do a happy dance and shout “wow” with us. Most New Monthly Donors in the Challenge Period: On the Bubble (a special award for an organization we saw on the verge of getting on the board throughout the challenge): Sankara Eye Foundation — $1,000 Under the Wire (most new recurring donors in the last week of the challenge): Alameda County Community Food Bank — $1,000 1st Place: VETPAW — $3,0002nd Place: Campus Pride — $2,0003rd Place: The Firecracker Foundation – $1,0004th Place: American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation — $5005th Place: Felines & Canines — $500 Best Use of a Dedicated Page: Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts of America — $1,000 Largest Percent Increase in Monthly Donors: Most Engaged with Network for Good: Windcall Institute — $1,000 Wow! That’s the general sentiment around here at Network for Good at the conclusion of the Recurring Giving Challenge. We officially ended the challenge last Thursday and while we’ve crunched the numbers and updated the leaderboards we’ve let out a never-ending chorus of wows and today we’re so excited to share the results with you. Most Creative Campaign: Fort Bend Family Promise’s Coffee Club — $1,000 Rookie of the Year Award: Friends of Refugees — $1,000 1st Place: Wildlife SOS — $3,0002nd Place: VETPAW — $2,0003rd Place: Equal Justice Initiative – $1,0004th Place: True Impact Ministries — $5005th Place: Homes for Our Troops — $500 Keep your eye on the blog for updates from these organizations. We’ll be asking them to share their secrets for success and passing their insights along to you.last_img read more

Can Women Deliver a New Development Agenda in 2015?

first_imgPosted on June 4, 2013March 6, 2017By: Schuyler Null, Editor, New Security BeatClick 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)This post is part of a series of posts about the recent Women Deliver 2013 conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The disempowerment of women and girls is the single biggest driver of inequality today, said Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Program, during a plenary on the final day here at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, where more than 4,500 people from 149 countries and 2,200 organizations gathered to discuss women’s health, equity, and international development.But there has been significant progress in the last 20 years: “Millions of lives have been improved, and millions of lives have been saved” due to the sexual and reproductive health and rights framework established by the first International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, said Crown Princess Mary of Denmark speaking during the morning plenary.Kavita Ramdas, the Ford Foundation’s representative in New Delhi, called the global struggle for gender equality the largest and most consequential in history. Women and girls should ensure that in striving for equality, they approach the world differently – shape it to your vision, she urged the attendees.The Drive to 2015So where should advocates for women focus their energies going forward? Clark hammered home the importance of speaking up to shape the new global development agenda that will replace the Millennium Developments Goals (MDGs) in 2015. The process has three tracks: a high-level UN working group appointed by the Secretary-General, which just launched a new report; an open UN working group that meets regularly in New York; and of course input from the member states, which will ultimately approve or reject any proposal.“Thus, advocacy for sexual and reproductive health rights, gender equality, and girls’ and women’s empowerment will need to be maintained at a high level for close to two more years,” Clark said. “I hope that the energy emanating from this conference will help make that possible.”Fortunately, said Clark paraphrasing Hillary Clinton, “investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.” As Karen Grépin and Jeni Klugman made clear in their report launched at Women Deliver, investing in girls and women can pay huge economic dividends for families and societies.“We need to convince decision-makers, especially in this time of financial constraints, that it’s something that they should and can do,” said panelist Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland and co-chair of the UN’s high-level task force on the follow-up to the 1994 ICPD. “You don’t need to choose whether you do right or do smart, you can do both.”Re-Thinking the Framework: A More Holistic, Innovative Agenda“When the evidence is so clear, why is this agenda so far from being completed?” asked Princess Mary, pointing out that globally, the targets of MDG 5 – improve maternal health – are unlikely to be met. The answer lies in part, that “we’ve been using largely the same arguments and rhetoric since Cairo,” she said, “which begs the question of scalability…how can we effectively reach larger targets?”“There has also been a strong call for a more transformational, universal, and holistic agenda which does not place challenges in silos but, rather, recognizes the links between them,” said Clark. For example, under the worst case climate change scenarios, human development will slow and perhaps even reverse in some parts of the world, she said, and the poor and marginalized – of which girls and women represent a disproportionate number – are the most vulnerable to these effects.Similarly, “adolescents and youth are largely missing from the current MDGs,” said Princess Mary, but “we cannot afford to leave this resource untapped.” The freedom to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights allows young people to plan their lives, she said, as expressed in the Bali youth declaration.Many of us feel like we came late to the MDGs and didn’t have a voice in their creation, said Theo Sowa, chief executive officer of the African Women’s Development Fund.“But the real danger will be if we drop the MDGs entirely and start over with a whole new framework,” she continued. “Let’s remember what works, and let’s build on that.”“Let’s be bold,” Sowa urged, pointing out that when you talk to someone making $1 a day, they don’t want to make $2 a day – they want much more. “Let’s be imaginative, let’s be innovative, and let’s work together.”Panelist Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, emphasized the need to work with those outside the normal audience for gender issues. In order to change people, he said, you have to understand where they’re coming from and connect with them.“I think the vision needs to be ‘this can be done,’” Clark said. “You can help – you can be part of something that brings transformational change.”“We live in important times,” said Halonen, and it’s incumbent on us to, as Ghandi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Ten Resources for Learning More About Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a Driver for Women’s Health

first_imgPosted on February 19, 2014November 7, 2016By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health InitiativeClick 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)On Thursday, Dr. Ana Langer (Maternal Health Task Force) and Dr. Jonathon Quick (Management Sciences for Health) will participate in a policy dialogue, Improving Maternal Health through Universal Health Coverage, moderated by Jacqueline Mahon (UNFPA) and organized by our colleagues at the Woodrow Wilson Center.  The dialogue, part of the Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series (a partnership between UNFPA, the MHTF, and the Wilson Center), will be held in Washington DC at the Wilson Center and is open to the public.  This dialogue will also be live-streamed. You can also join the conversation on Twitter at #MHdialogue!Event details can be found here.In this post, we share ten resources for learning more about universal health coverage (UHC) as a driver for women’s health.Join Dr. Jonathon Quick and Dr. Ana Langer tomorrow (February 20th, 2014) for a policy dialogue, Improving Maternal Health through Universal Health Coverage, organized by the Wilson Center as part of the Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series—a partnership between UNFPA, the MHTF, and the Wilson Center.Read Improving Women’s Health through Universal Health Coverage, a recent publication in PLOS Medicine and part of the MHTF-PLOS Collection of Maternal Health Research.Watch this video: Why universal health coverage is a women’s issue, a presentation by Dr. Jonathon Quick at the Women Deliver conference in 2013.Visit UHC Forward, an online platform that tracks progress toward UHC in countries around the world and serves as a hub for UHC knowledge exchangeCheck out the Manifesto for Maternal Health, developed and published in The Lancet following the Global Maternal Health Conference last year.Read Universal access: Making health systems work for women in BMC Public Health.Read A comprehensive approach to women’s health: Lessons from the Mexican health reform in BMC Women’s Health.Take a look at Universal health coverage: A commitment to close the gap, a publication of the Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children, UNICEF, and WHO.Take a look at How changes in coverage affect equity in maternal and child health interventions in 35 Countdown to 2015 countries: an analysis of national surveys in The Lancet.Read Gender equity and universal health coverage in India in The Lancet.Do you know of additional resources? Let us know! We would be delighted to share them. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Share this:last_img read more

3 Ways to Honor Local Heroes on National Philanthropy Day

first_imgphilanthropy (noun): the love of humankindHappy National Philanthropy Day! Every year on November 15, this international event, coordinated by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), shares the love and impact each of us can create in our communities. It’s also a fantastic reason to take a moment to honor those who do so much for your nonprofit’s mission—before holiday prep and year-end fundraising get into full-swing.When most people hear the word “philanthropist,” they might not envision themselves in that group, thinking their contribution is too small to merit the distinction. But true-blue philanthropists can be found at all giving levels, every age, and any ability. If you care enough to give—whether it’s dollars, talent, or time—you’re a philanthropist.Philanthropists are all around us, and it’s actually pretty easy to become one. Sometimes we just need a little inspiration or guidance.That’s the spirit behind National Philanthropy Day: to celebrate those who make a tangible difference and to engage others in the process. The day shows us what’s been achieved so far, while reassuring us that even though there’s much yet to do, we can all find a place in that work.If National Philanthropy Day (NPD) is new to you, here’s a little background, along with a few last-minute ways your organization can take part.How It All BeganDouglas Freeman, a lawyer from Orange Country, California, first envisioned National Philanthropy Day in 1981 while giving a speech thanking major donors of the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. “I looked out over that audience and I realized we owe these people a debt of gratitude,” Freeman said in an interview with the Orange County Register. He sketched out the idea and got to work organizing and lobbying for a national proclamation.In 1986, Freeman’s hard work paid off when President Ronald Reagan officially proclaimed November 15 National Philanthropy Day, sparking annual celebrations across North America. The AFP reports that the day has since been officially recognized by numerous state, provincial, and local governments. Canada permanently recognized National Philanthropy Day in 2012. In fact, more than 25,000 Canadians participate every year, setting a high bar for honoring and engaging in effective philanthropy.Join the PartyMany nonprofits host formal ceremonies on National Philanthropy Day to honor exceptional donors, volunteers, corporations, and others engaged in giving back. Some also organize a day of service, inviting community members to come together for hands-on giving, like building wheelchair ramps for needy seniors or serving meals at a food bank.Of course, that level of celebration takes time and planning, but it’s never too late for your nonprofit to celebrate National Philanthropy Day. Here are three easy ways to raise a virtual glass to the extraordinary philanthropists in your circle.Social MediaThroughout the day, make a series of posts highlighting dedicated volunteers, donors, or board members. In each post, share a story about that person’s impact or dedication, along with a photo or video. Maybe this is a top fundraiser, or it could be someone who shows up week after week for work parties or phone banks.EmailUse your donor database to identify recurring donors. Make a quick video with your organization’s staff thanking them for their ongoing support and send it in personalized emails to that segment of your list. (You could then post the video on your social channels for wider sharing.)IRLWe all have those truly amazing supporters of our nonprofits. Dig into your donor management system again to identify, say, your top three donors or your oldest donors over time. Maybe there’s a person or business that went above and beyond this year to support your mission. Send those folks a fun surprise, like a colorful fall bouquet or a pizza party delivered to their office, along with a thank you card signed by your entire team.Mark next year’s calendar for National Philanthropy Day, November 15, and make the event part of your annual planning. Check out the official NPD page for more information and visit NPDLove to read about some of this year’s inspiring honorees.last_img read more

Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Health in Low-Resource Settings: Lessons From the Saving Mothers, Giving Life Program

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 19, 2017January 20, 2017By: Claudia Morrissey Conlon, U.S. Government Lead, Saving Mothers, Giving Life; Senior Maternal and Newborn Health Advisor, USAIDClick 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)For maternal and child health advocates, witnessing the declines in maternal and newborn mortality over the past 25 years—especially the accelerated reductions during the last decade—has been encouraging. However, the reality that these largely preventable deaths continue to occur primarily in low-resource settings should heighten our resolve to end this egregious global public health inequity.As we work to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and achieve equity in care, the global health community realizes the need to increase efforts to ensure access to quality maternity services. Expanding access means improving care wherever women seek it, whether from a physician in an urban government hospital or from an independent midwife operating her own clinic in a rural village. It also necessitates addressing the structural and process-related aspects of quality, including the woman’s experience of care.We can draw some valuable lessons on quality care from our experience over the past three years with Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL). This public-private partnership has produced impressive improvements in maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa by addressing all three of the delays to receiving quality care: seeking appropriate care; accessing care in a timely manner; and receiving high quality, woman-centered care.The 2016 Annual Report, based on 2015 data, highlights results from SMGL’s comprehensive systems approach:In Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio in health facilities decreased by 55% in the original six SMGL learning districts.In Uganda, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 44% in both facilities and communities in the four original learning districts.Both countries are currently on track to meet SMGL’s ambitious goal of halving the maternal mortality ratio in the target districts by 2017.These successes are the result of strategic investments that have not only increased the facility delivery rate in both countries, but have also improved the care a woman receives while giving birth at that facility. One critical step is to routinely measure quality. SMGL measures the cesarean section rate trends, the number of women tested for HIV and newborns receiving HIV prevention medication, the status of the case fatality rate, among other indicators.The results indicate that the quality of care that facilities are providing now is much better than before the start of the SMGL partnership. Both the local and national governments in Uganda and Zambia are proud of what has been accomplished so far and, as SMGL transitions to full country ownership, they have committed to sustaining this improved level of quality, scaling up the SMGL model to new districts.While the early years of SMGL produced dramatic improvements in maternal health outcomes, comparable changes in newborn health have remained elusive. The teams on the ground are intensifying quality improvement efforts to strengthen healthcare providers’ ability to care for underweight and unhealthy newborns. There is now greater emphasis on training and mentoring related to caring for sick newborns to ensure all providers are equipped to save newborn lives. For example, home visiting programs are expanding to reach more women and newborns during the critical first three days of life. We are starting to see results from these efforts in Zambia where the perinatal mortality rate has decreased by 44%.The SMGL partnership formally ends in Uganda and Zambia in December 2017. During this final year, there will be a robust evaluation to measure timely availability of quality services as well as other important indicators including changes in behavior; care-seeking; provider and client satisfaction; health system readiness and performance; and, of course, health outcomes. In Nigeria, SMGL is initiating operations in Cross River State, a region with disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality.The efforts of our many partners—the U.S. Government, the Governments of Nigeria, Norway, Uganda and Zambia, Merck for Mothers, Every Mother Counts, Project C.U.R.E. and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—will be crucial to our continued success.Over the next 15 months, ensuring and sustaining high quality care will be our top priority.—Check out other posts in the MHTF’s Quality of Maternal Health Care blog series.Learn more about the issues surrounding quality of maternal health care.Share this:last_img read more