Is LeBron up for a rivalry or not?

first_imgLakers stock report: Since LeBron James signed with Los Angeles in July, the Lakers’ goal — like every other team in the league — has been to … The Lakers are on the hunt for the Warriors’ Western Conference throne, but first they have to beat the champs in Tuesday’s highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup.Here’s everything you need to know about the game.When/Where: Oracle Arena, 5 p.m (ABC)Lakers projected starters: Kyle Kuzma, LeBron James, Brandon Ingram,Ivica Zubac, Lonzo Balllast_img

SA scientists win AU awards

first_img1 February 2010 Two South African scientists have won the African Union’s (AU’s) first awards for excellence in science. The awards were made during the AU’s heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday. Professor Diane Hildebrandt, co-director at the centre for optimisation modelling and process synthesis at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand, was the winner in the basic science and innovation category. Patrick Eriksson, head of the geology department at the University of Pretoria, was the winner in the earth and life sciences category. They were chosen from 50 contestants from across the continent for the outstanding work in their fields, and were each rewarded with US$100 000 for their achievement. South African President Jacob Zuma, who handed the scientists their awards during a ceremony in Addis Ababa, said the awards resonated with the theme of the summit, which focuses on improving Africa’s information and communication technology infrastructure. Zuma said the two had contributed to flying the South African flag internationally. “Science, technology and innovation form indispensable tools for driving socio-economic progress … and is sustained by adequate and competent human capital,” Zuma said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Planning a fundraising event? Read this.

first_imgHow do you make sure you raise more through your fundraising event?This might sound painfully obvious, but it’s often overlooked by many nonprofits: Make sure to give attendees the option to give more at your event. Be appreciative of those who have purchased tickets and are attending your event, but recognize that a portion of your attendees will be ready and willing to do even more. Here are strategies for opening the door to more donations at your next event:Auctions & Raffles: Auctions, games, and raffles are popular ways to raise even more money. The best raffles and auctions feature items that tie back to your cause or reflect your community’s unique interests.Mobile Donations: Channel supporters’ good feelings into more gifts by reminding them that they can give on the spot via their mobile device. (Don’t have a mobile-friendly donation and events solution? Check out Network for Good’s affordable fundraising software.)Recurring Donations and Memberships: Create a “Donation Station” or membership kiosk that will help your loyal supporters set up a recurring gift or become members of your organization. Be sure to staff your booth to make this process personal, easy, and fun.Additional Gifts: Make it easy for attendees to not only register for tickets online, but to also give an additional donation.Illustrate Your Impact: When your donors feel like there is a real, tangible benefit as a result of their donation, they’ll be more likely to give again.Need an easy-to-use Fundraising Event and Ticketing tool? Schedule a personalized demo to learn how we can help you have your most successful event ever.last_img read more

What’s the state of your online giving?

first_imgIn our latest Network for Good video clip, I share some key points about the state of online giving. Online donations continue to grow at a faster clip than overall giving as more of our communication and actions go online. As digital natives come into their own and as we see peer fundraising, mobile giving, and events like giving days become nonprofit staples, we expect online giving rates to climb more quickly. To make the most of digitally-minded donors, your online fundraising strategy needs to adhere to these core tenets:Online giving can’t be siloed. Your online fundraising efforts should be tied to your overall fundraising strategy, and integrated with your offline marketing outreach. Make sure your website, email, and social media messages match your direct mail appeals. Your donors’ conversation with you will span more than one channel. Many offline donors will still go online to learn more about you and read about the impact a gift could have. Online giving must be easy. The beauty of technology is that it can make things easier, faster, and more fun. Your donation experience should work to remove any barriers that might prevent someone from giving. Remember: the fewer steps and clicks it takes someone to complete a donation, the more likely they are to give.Online giving should encourage more gifts. In addition to making it easy to give, your donation experience should inspire donors to give more. By offering a compelling story, suggested donation amounts, and recurring giving options, you can increase your overall fundraising totals as well as your average online gift. Need to boost your fundraising results? These resources will help you think through your online strategy:Understand online fundraising patterns by reviewing the Digital Giving Index.Check to see how your online donation experience stacks up with the Donation Page Grader.Learn how to attract more donors with your website, through email, and via mobile and social in our Online Fundraising Survival Guide.Sign up for a free demo of Network for Good’s fundraising software. Our team will give you a full tour and answer your questions about which tools are right for your campaigns.How are you integrating online fundraising at your organization? Chime in below to share your tips and challenges with your fellow readers.last_img read more

Fundraising Benchmarks, Donor Data, and You: A Q&A with Heather Yandow

first_imgI’m a big fan of Heather Yandow from Third Space Studio. Heather produces a labor of love for small and mighty nonprofits: The Individual Donor Benchmark Report (IDBR). The IDBR highlights fundraising data trends for nonprofit organizations with annual budgets under $2 million. If you’d like to share your organization’s data for the next IDBR,  please visit Heather’s website for more info.Keep reading this post to discover why the IDBR’s data is so valuable and to collect a few nuggets of wisdom from Heather about donor data.What is the IDBR and why should organizations care about the findings?Heather Yandow (HY): The Individual Donor Benchmark Report digs into the fundraising data of small and mighty nonprofits, those with annual budgets under $2 million.It’s a best practice that nonprofits need to set goals, track outcomes, and learn from past performance. But collecting and analyzing data in a vacuum only gives part of the picture. Organizations also need to the ability to measure the impact of their fundraising and compare it other organizations like theirs, as well as to the larger sector. That’s why we created the Individual Donor Benchmark Project.There is no other benchmarking resource for smaller organizations with individual donor fundraising programs.  Simply put, the IDBR is a resource for nonprofits to see how they stack up. It helps answer questions like:Where is our fundraising doing well?What parts of our fundraising program might need a little more attention?What experiments could we try to improve our fundraising program? What data do you need to have in order to participate in the research?HY: We’ve tried to streamline the data organizations need to participate to only the most critical metrics. To participate, you’ll need to report numbers like:Organizational revenue and expensesTotal amount of individual donor revenue and number of donorsAmount raised online and number of online donorsYou can preview of the full set of questions on this site .We’ve also decided that none of the questions are required. So, if you are unable to answer a question or two (or five), that’s okay! Set aside one hour to dig into your data. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish with one focused hour! And you might just get on a roll and keep going. Now, for something fun. On a scale from 1-10, how much do you love data?HY: I’m probably an eight. I do love data and spend a good bit of my time collecting data, training about data, and helping organization harness the power of data. But to be a ten, I think I’d have to be this guy. I’m not there yet! What are common challenges orgs face when trying to access the data they need and how can they overcome these challenges?HY: The most common challenge is that organizations don’t have a database that they know and love. For some, it’s hard to get data out of their system. For others, they don’t trust the data they do access.Here are four tips to help you start gathering this data:Take a look at this year’s survey questions. Print them out and identify what data you can easily find (like last year’s total income) and what might take a little more time to figure out (like retention rate). If you run into problems, know that you can skip a question or two on the survey. I know that sometimes a number just isn’t easily available, so you can just leave that question blank.From Network for Good: Don’t have a user-friendly donor database that can help you store, access, and analyze your donor data? Network for Good’s new donor management system is everything you need and nothing you don’t. Check it out now! Last year’s big finding was about how much more money organizations raised when they had a fundraising plan. Are you looking into that again this year or are you trying to determine new/different factors that contribute to fundraising success/misses?HY: Both! We are definitely digging in to our finding that a fundraising plan is the secret to individual donor success. To start, we want to get a better understanding of what a typical fundraising plan looks like. Does it include an annual development calendar? An analysis of the previous year? We’re hoping that getting more specific information will help identify the critical parts of the fundraising plan.At the same time, we will also be looking into other factors that may contribute to fundraising success, like Board participation in fundraising or the number of meetings organizations hold with donors and potential donors.If organizations want to participate in your research, what’s in it for them and how can they sign up?It’s easy to be part of the survey! Just visit http://www.thirdspacestudio.com/idbproject/ to learn more and start the survey.As a thank you for being part of the survey, you will receive:a results reports as well as the complete survey results to share with your colleagues and Boardan invitation to a special webinar just for survey participants to dig into the resultsa copy of official Individual Donor Benchmark Report and Infographica chance to win one of 50 coveted consultations with Ravela Insights, experts in donor data analytics, database strategy, and prospect identificationa chance to win one of five Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training prize packs with a subscription to the Grassroots Fundraising Journal as well as a book from the Kim Klein Fundraising Series Consider all the many ways that you might get the data you need. Your database may produce a perfect report – but it might not! You may need to take a closer look at your data by putting it into Excel. Or, you might need to look at the report from your online payment processor to find information about online gifts and monthly donations.last_img read more

Discussions at GMHC2013 About Home Births and Traditional Birth Attendants

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 28, 2013March 21, 2017By: Girija Sankar, Director of Haiti Programs, Senior Program Manager, Global 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)Over 2000 abstracts were submitted to the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013. Eventually, around 800 delegates from all around the world presented papers and posters on maternal health topics under the theme of “Quality of Care”.While all the sessions and plenaries were thought-provoking, some of the sessions that I found especially interesting dealt with home birth attendance and the role of traditional birth attendants (TBAs).Speakers from Nigeria, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Uganda all highlighted the role that TBAs continue to play in home deliveries. Just because a country’s Ministry of Health dictates that women should deliver at facilities does not mean that women will indeed deliver at facilities. The reality in many of these countries, quite like Haiti, where I work, is that as long as there are significant barriers to safe, affordable and accessible obstetric care, women will continue to turn to other older women whom they know and trust: traditional birth attendants.Presenters from Bangladesh and Nigeria presented findings from promoting the use of clean delivery kits (CDKs) and the consequent impact on improving safe deliveries. The CDKs were promoted through social marketing to families who would then either take the kit to the facility or give it to the TBA for use in home births.We heard from a practitioner in Ethiopia whose organization works with pastoralists in the remote Afar region to improve health outcomes by training TBAs and encouraging women to visit the maternity waiting rooms built close to the referral centers. The group had identified 6 harmful practices that TBAs practiced, often leading to maternal and neonatal deaths. When trained on safe practices, the TBAs realized that what they had been doing in the past may have led to deaths.In Bangladesh, women, after child birth, are often allowed to bleed for a long time owing to the traditional belief that any blood that leaves the woman’s body after child birth is bad blood. The TBAs have since been trained on why that is dangerous for women.Discussions on task-shifting in HRH must acknowledge the role that TBAs continue to play in communities where women do not seek facility-based care for various reasons. If working with the community and women is important, then so is understanding and respecting decisions that women make in why and how they seek services from traditional birth attendants.Prof. Mahmoud Fathalla perhaps said it best when he said “more women have died from child birth than men have died fighting each other in battles.”Learn more about the conference and access the conference presentations at www.gmhc2013.com. Join the conference conversation on Twitter: #GMHC2013Share this:last_img read more

Placing Women at the Center: Rethinking the RMNCH Continuum of Care

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 22, 2013June 12, 2017By: Ann Starrs, President and Co-Founder, Family Care InternationalClick 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 cross-posted from the FCI Blog and the PMNCH website.Last week’s Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC), held in Arusha, Tanzania, was both inspiring and sobering. Twenty-five years after the Safe Motherhood Initiative was launched at an international conference held in neighboring Kenya, maternal mortality has finally begun to decline, and there are many and diverse examples of how countries are addressing the challenge of preventing deaths of women and newborns from complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. But as the conference highlighted, huge challenges remain — in improving the quality of care, the conference’s core theme; in strengthening the functionality and capacity of health systems; in addressing major inequities in access to care, within and across countries; and in ensuring that maternal and newborn health receives the political support, increased funding, and public attention that it needs.The majority of the conference’s breakout sessions featured informative and often fascinating presentations on research findings and promising programmatic and technical innovations. One session, however, took a different tack — a debate on “Has the ascendance of the RMNCH continuum of care framework helped or hindered the cause of maternal health?”  I proposed this session to the Maternal Health Task Force, which organized the GMHC, because for me and the organization I head, Family Care International, maternal health has been at the core of our institutional mission since we planned the first Safe Motherhood conference in 1987. For much of the past decade, however, I have been closely involved with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and Countdown to 2015, two coalitions that are dedicated to promoting an integrated, comprehensive approach to the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) continuum of care. Have our efforts to define and advance the continuum of care framework contributed to progress in improving maternal health? If so, how much? If not, what can be done about it?These questions were debated by a stellar panel I moderated, which included Wendy Graham, Professor of Obstetric Epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen; Marleen Temmerman, the new head of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO; Friday Okonofua, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Benin, Nigeria; and Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet, as well as a fantastic and diverse audience. To start the discussion I shared the definition of the continuum of care that PMNCH has articulated, based in part on the World Health Report 2005: a constellation of services and interventions for mothers and children from pre-pregnancy/adolescence, through pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal/postpartum period, until children reach the age of five years. This continuum promotes the integration of services across two dimensions: across the lifespan, and across levels of the health system, from households to health facilities. Key packages of interventions within the continuum include sexuality education, family planning, antenatal care, delivery care, postnatal/postpartum care, and the prevention and management of newborn and childhood illnesses.It is, of course, impossible to conduct a randomized control trial on the impact of the RMNCH continuum of care on maternal health, so the discussion was based more on perceptions than on hard evidence. Nevertheless, there are a few data points to consider in debating the question. From an advocacy perspective, panelists generally agreed, the adoption of the continuum of care framework has helped the cause by appealing to multiple constituencies related to women’s and children’s health. Attribution is always a challenge; there are many other developments over the past 5-7 years that have also had an impact, such as the two Women Deliver conferences held in 2007 and 2010 (with the third one taking place in May of this year). But participants generally agreed that linking women’s and children’s health, and defining their needs as an integrated whole, has appealed to policy-makers and politicians on an intuitive and practical level, as demonstrated by the engagement of heads of state, celebrities, private corporations, and other influential figures.Let’s look at the money: during the period 2003-2010 overseas development assistance (ODA) has doubled for MNCH as a whole, according to Countdown to 2015 (Countdown’s analysis did not look at funding for reproductive health, but a new report later in 2013 will incorporate this important element). Maternal and newborn health, which are examined jointly in the analysis, have consistently accounted for one-third of total ODA, with two-thirds going to child health. Given the significant funding that GAVI has mobilized and allocated for immunization over this time period, the fact that maternal and newborn health has maintained its share of total MNCH ODA is noteworthy.And let’s look at how maternal health has fared within the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, launched in September 2010: a recent report summarizes each of the commitments made to Every Woman Every Child in the two years since it was launched. Of the 275 commitments included, 147, or 53%, had specific maternal health content. If we look at the commitments according to constituency group, developing country governments had by far the largest percentage of commitments that had specific maternal health content — 84% — compared to 39% for non-governmental organizations, 24% for donors, and 52% for multilateral agencies and coalitions. Clearly, maternal health has not been marginalized within the continuum from a broad policy, program and funding perspective, despite the fear some had expressed that it would be pushed aside in favor of child health interventions that are perceived as easier and less costly to implement.Another benefit of the continuum of care framework, as noted by Dr. Okonofua, has been increased collaboration among the communities that represent its different elements. While there were tensions and rivalries when PMNCH and Countdown were first established, especially between the maternal and child health communities, today groups working on advocacy, policy, program implementation, service delivery, and research within the continuum generally work together more frequently, cordially and effectively than they did before, especially at the global level. PMNCH and Countdown, as well as Every Woman Every Child, have brought together key players to define unified messages and strategies that have achieved widespread acceptance.That was the good news; but panelists and participants at the session also saw a number of problems with the continuum of care concept. The concern articulated by Richard Horton, and echoed by many of the session participants, was that the continuum views women and adolescents primarily as mothers or future mothers. This narrow view contributes to a range of gaps and challenges; it means crucial cultural, social and economic determinants of health and survival, including female education and empowerment, are not given adequate weight. Gender-based violence deserves much more attention, both for its own sake and for its impact on maternal, newborn and child health. Politically sensitive or controversial elements of the continuum, especially abortion but also, in some cases, family planning and services for adolescents, may be neglected in policy, programming, and resource allocation.The fragmentation inherent in the continuum of care also contributes to what Wendy Graham called the compartmentalization of women. As Countdown’s analysis of coverage has demonstrated, the continuum of care doesn’t guarantee continuity of care; coverage rates are much higher for interventions like antenatal care and child immunization than for delivery or postnatal/postpartum care. Women’s needs for a range of interventions and services, available in a single health facility on any day of the week, are not being met in many countries.Other concerns that emerged during the discussion were that the RMNCH continuum of care framework does not explicitly or adequately reflect the importance of quality of care, which in turn depends on a range of factors: skilled, compassionate health care workers, functional facilities, adequate supplies and equipment, and an effective health information system that tracks not just whether interventions are being provided, but also whether individual women and their families are receiving the care they need throughout their lives.Dr. Okonofua, in his comments, focused on how the continuum of care concept has been implemented, or hasn’t, in countries. The implications of the continuum of care for on-the-ground program implementation have not been fully articulated and communicated; more effort, he noted, needs to be invested in making the concept relevant and useful for policy-makers, program managers, and service providers.Despite these gaps, however, participants in the session – and the panelists themselves – agreed that the continuum of care is a valid and valuable concept, and that the inadequacies identified should be addressed. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said one member of the audience. The continuum of care, as a concept, has already evolved; initially, for example, it did not fully integrate reproductive health elements. As Marleen Temmerman commented, the continuum of care concept is a tool; what is important is what is done with it.As 2015 approaches, the global health community is struggling to articulate a health goal for the post-2015 development framework that will resonate widely and guide accelerated, strategic action to prevent avoidable deaths and improve health of people around the world. The RMNCH community — or communities — needs a framework that more fully reflects the realities and complexities of the lives of women and children, and that enables us to reach out to other health and non-health communities, including HIV/AIDS, NCDs, and women’s rights and empowerment, for a common cause. To do this, we need to revise the continuum of care framework to maximize its relevance and utility for countries, and to incorporate the following missing elements:Recognition of the importance of quality of careResponsiveness to the needs of girls and women throughout the life cycle, not just in relation to pregnancy and childbirthLinks to the cultural, social and economic determinants of women’s and children’s healthRichard Horton’s call for a manifesto to emerge from the GMHC included 10 key points; redefining the RMNCH continuum of care was one of them, inspired by the panel. The challenge has been issued; it is now up to us to meet that challenge.Share this:last_img read more

Every Newborn Action Plan Now Available for Comments

first_imgPosted on February 3, 2014August 10, 2016Click 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)The WHO recently released a draft version of the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) for public comment. The ENAP addresses progress toward improving newborn survival in recent years, along with persistent challenges for accelerating progress. It also notes the opportunities presented by growing global commitments to improve health across the continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Once finalized, the ENAP will be presented at the upcoming World Health Assembly in May 2014. From the draft: The Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths is a roadmap for change. It sets out a vision and proposes a goal and targets to end newborn deaths from preventable causes. Five guiding principles and five strategic objectives are at the core of the plan. The action plan is based on evidence and considers the main causes on newborn mortality and effective interventions to prevent and manage these. It builds on the intrinsic links between maternal and newborn health and promotes state-of-the-art knowledge of effective delivery approaches for the interventions and innovations to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. The plan is also informed by a systematic review of the progress in addressing newborn survival globally in the last decade.The announcement  notes that the ENAP will be linked with “specific plans and targets for maternal health” that are now under development. To join the online consultation on the draft ENAP, submit comments using WHO’s online form by February 28. In addition to the online consultation, a public discussion of the draft will be held on February 12, in Washington, DC. For further details, visit MCHIP’s event announcement.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Manifesto for Maternal Health: Highlights From Women Deliver and Population Council

first_imgPlease join the conversation! Tell us about your work to improve maternal health over the past year and how it relates to the calls to action from the manifesto. Send an email to Kate Mitchell or Natalie Ramm or join the dialogue on Twitter using the hashtag #MHmanifesto and help us celebrate the anniversary of the manifesto for maternal health!Share this: Posted on March 4, 2014November 14, 2016By: Natalie Ramm, Communications Coordinator, Maternal Health Task Force, 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)Continuing the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the “Manifesto for Maternal Health,” this post showcases the work of Women Deliver and the Population Council to improve global maternal health.Women DeliverIn 2013, Women Deliver organized its third global conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was one of the largest gatherings of policymakers, advocates, and researchers focused exclusively on women’s health and empowerment to date, bringing together over 4,500 participants from 149 countries.Women Deliver’s work focuses primarily on the Manifesto’s first and second principles, as we work to influence the post-2015 agenda. We are pushing for the post-2015 development framework to prioritize gender equality, with a specific focus on education and health, including access to reproductive health and family planning information and services.Last year, Women Deliver and the World Bank published a report highlighting the significant social and economic benefits of investing in girls and women and recommending specific policies to improve reproductive health outcomes. We also published a report about our 2013 global conference, including information about panelists, attendees, and sessions.Population CouncilA crucial gap in improving the quality of maternal health services is that the validity of many global benchmarks, including skilled attendance at birth, is largely unknown. To improve measurement of maternal health care received during labor and delivery (core area 10 in the Manifesto for Maternal Health), investigators at the Population Council, led by PI Ann Blanc, are conducting research to identify a set of indicators that that have the potential for valid measurement and integration into population-based data collection systems in developing country contexts. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Manifesto for Maternal Health: In-Country Perspective From the White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 24, 2014November 4, 2016By: Rose Mlay, National Coordinator, The White Ribbon Alliance TanzaniaClick 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)Throughout my career as a midwife, I am all too familiar with the challenge of women arriving too late to the hospital to give birth. Over and over again, I have attended to women who had traveled for days to reach care. It is so heart breaking to know that these women’s lives could be saved if only they could reach quality professional care faster. We, at the White Ribbon Alliance, have advocated strongly over the years to our government in Tanzania to focus on maternal and newborn health, and great promises have been made! Now, we are faced with the challenge of making sure these promises are delivered. And we are working hard on that front!In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the publication of the Manifesto for Maternal Health, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of our recent efforts to ensure that promises to women and newborns are kept.Just last year the White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania brought together national leaders engaged in maternal and newborn health ranging from the media, government, non-governmental organizations, and professional associations to set out a strategy for holding the government of Tanzania accountable for delivering on commitments made to our women and newborns. More specifically, we collectively set out a plan for holding the government accountable on promises to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric care (CEmONC) in at least half of all health centers by 2015. Together, we concluded to focus our efforts on the commitment to CEmONC because we listened to our citizens who have asked for these services to be closer to their homes. In addition, we know that the majority of the 24 women who die every day in childbirth die due to the lack of access to quality emergency care.In order to make our case, we knew we would need strong evidence to show the government just how off track their promises are, so we carried out a full facility assessment in 10 government-run facilities in Rukwa region. We engaged with community leaders, media and district officials as we moved through the region. Rukwa is beautiful with its rolling hills and great lakes, but it is a treacherous journey through the dirt tracks to get to rural health centers, with many being so remote that they are out of reach of telephone signals.As we gathered the data, we found that for a population of 1 million people, and over 10 health centers throughout the district, there was not a single health center that was providing the level of care that the government had promised.According to plan, we shared the evidence with the district government teams, and we pushed the district leadership to budget adequately for emergency obstetric care. In the meantime, we also set up meetings with national leaders and the Parliamentary Safe Motherhood Group to make sure emergency obstetric care is budgeted for adequately in the 2014-2015 budget cycle.We also made this film about the situation in Rukwa which Dr. Jasper Nduasinde, our White Ribbon Alliance focal person from the region took to the United Nations General Assembly to get global attention on the gap between promises and implementation.We called on our politicians to act. The Safe Motherhood Group in Parliament is working to get all politicians to sign a petition to the government to prioritize this issue.We called for a meeting with the Prime Minister. We spoke for an hour and a half on what could be done now to change this critical situation. He promised to take action.We also made this film about Elvina Makongolo, the midwife in Mtowisa who works tirelessly to save women’s lives.As we move to make these critical changes happen, we are faced with very sad news that motivates us even more. Shortly after this film was made with Elvina, the teacher of her grandchildren died in childbirth. Leah Mgaya died because Mtowisa health center does not have a blood bank. In the maternity ward of the health center ,a big refrigerator stands tall but the electricity to power it is missing. The closest blood supply is 100 km away at the regional hospital, reached only by a 4×4 vehicle due to the rough terrain.Leah’s husband, Cloud Kissi, said: ‘My wife has left a big gap in my life and she has left three children without a mother. It has left me with trauma as every time I see a woman carrying a baby I feel that if my wife could have survived, she could have been carrying a baby like the one I am seeing. I am quite sure that if we had a good operating theater, availability of safe blood and a reliable ambulance, we would have surely saved my wife’s life.’We continue to hear the personal accounts of husbands losing their wives, children losing their mothers, families losing their aunties, sisters and nieces and, in Leah’s case, a community losing their teacher. Citizens want change and they are pushing for it.In Rukwa alone, over 16 thousand citizens have signed a petition pushing the district officials and their MP to prioritize a budget for CEmONC.Recently, on White Ribbon Day in Rukwa, the Minister of Health spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister to say that this budget must be prioritized across the country.We now believe that the Prime Minister has become this campaigns’ greatest ally! And we know that our President Kikwete cares about the women of our nation. He has committed greatly to preventing these tragic deaths. But we cannot let up until women can access emergency life saving care near their homes. It is their right.As critical decisions are being made on budget allocation for 2014-2015, we are urging our leaders to listen to the citizens of our nation and budget adequately for comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care.If you would like to share your in-country story with us, please email Natalie Ramm or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.Share this:last_img read more