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

The Lancet’s Editor Richard Horton Provides Commentary on Recent MMR Estimates

first_imgPosted on May 28, 2014November 4, 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)If you have been following the news and our MMR Estimates Blog Series, you know that the WHO and IHME recently released new global estimates for maternal mortality. These estimates have strong implications for global maternal health goals as they will be used as baselines for Post-2015 targets.Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief at The Lancet, recently addressed a common concern with these estimates—the estimates differ greatly at a regional and country level. Dr. Horton points out, “These differences are not at all obvious when one examines the headline numbers from each source. IHME’s global estimate for maternal deaths is 292,982. The equivalent UN figure is 289,000. But at the regional level, big differences begin to appear.” In fact, 15 of the 75 countries with the highest burden of maternal mortality have estimates that differ by 1,041 to 21,792 maternal deaths. The discrepancy of 21,792 deaths falls on India—the country with the highest number of maternal deaths in the world.For a country that needs to strategize well to address this high burden of disease, India is faced with a discrepancy that could affect how they respond. Dr. Horton says, “[If] you were India’s new Prime-Minister-elect, Narendra Modi, you might just alter the urgency with which you acted to reduce maternal mortality if you believed the UN figure, which records a remarkable 21,792 fewer maternal deaths than the independently calculated estimate from a competing large international collaboration. It would not be unreasonable if other Presidents and Prime Ministers, let alone Ministers of Health, were confused by these often strikingly divergent results.” The discrepancies not only affect the important decisions of country officials, but also affect the credibility of the estimates themselves.So what can be done to address these discrepancies? Dr. Horton suggests reviewing the methods and models used to generate these estimates. “[The] Gates Foundation funded Independent Advisory Committee for the Global Burden of Disease… meets next month in Seattle. One of its remits is to ‘engage in dialogue with other efforts on global health estimates.’ A further goal is to review strengths and weaknesses of the GBD’s methods. But this second objective will solve only half of the problem. Someone also needs to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the UN’s methods. [The Independent Advisory Committee for the Global Burden of Disease] could consider conducting a careful comparison of methods used by both the UN and IHME.”The most important conclusion of this discussion is that country leaders need accurate data to effectively mitigate maternal mortality. As the common management adage teaches us, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Hopefully with increased collaboration we can bridge the gap between UN and IHME estimates for maternal mortality.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

4 Lessons from the Trenches to Prepare for Giving Season

first_imgHere at Network for Good, we’re continuously innovating our platform. The best way we do this is by immersing ourselves in the lives of our nonprofit users to understand the everyday problems they are trying to solve.Last week, during a quarterly business review meeting in Baltimore, our team was challenged to meet with local nonprofits to help them drive awareness and increase funds. Below are the cliff notes from the day:The ChallengeWe arrived in Baltimore at 9AM on Wednesday, July 19. We broke into five teams and were given a task: find a nonprofit and help them fundraise leveraging the “Jobs to be Done” philosophy around functional, social, and emotional drivers. The team that raises the most, wins.The results: $7,360. In a single day.That’s $7,360 that went to five local nonprofits: Wide Angle Youth Media, Holistic Life Foundation, Playworks Maryland, Women’s Housing Coalition, and University of Maryland Baltimore.As we got to know these five nonprofits and the people who lead them, four lessons stood out. We thought we would share them in a new Blog Series to help you prepare for giving season.Here’s what we learned:1. Giving is an emotional act.We quickly learned the real-life value of emotionally driven appeals. Most of the donations we collected were from people who had an emotional connection to us. We had greater luck raising funds from text messages to our personal network than asking for donation on the streets – although we did both! This builds the case for the power behind peer-to-peer fundraising.2. Not all nonprofits are created equal, but they all face time and capacity challenges.Each nonprofit we helped had their own set of challenges to overcome. Some had more limited resources than others. Some had a lot of pressure on them to fundraise in order to serve their clients, while others needed more strategic help.  But what they all had in common was time and capacity challenges and the need for systems that would solve this problem.3. All of them wonder, “Are we doing enough?”All of the nonprofits we worked with that day shared concerns about their funding and sustainability. They wondered if they were doing enough to diversity their funding strategy. Creating a sustainable individual giving program and having the right mix of individual giving and additional funding sources are continual concerns.4. There’s nothing like the power of a team.When we set out to raise as much as we could in just one day, we quickly learned that we were all motivated to win the challenge because we all knew what we were working towards. We saw this at the nonprofits too, and believe those with a strong strategy were able to rally their troops and others around their cause more easily.Check back next week as we dive into the first lesson, on how you can leverage the emotional connection when developing your appeals this giving season.last_img read more

New Guidelines for Postnatal Care: a Long Way to Go to Ensure Equity

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 20, 2015October 13, 2016By: Katie Millar, Senior Project Manager, 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)Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministries of Health of Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Ethiopia gathered yesterday to discuss an often forgotten part of the maternal and neonatal health continuum: postnatal care (PNC), which is critical to both the health of the mother and newborn. Even when progress is seen in facility care and skilled birth attendance (SBA), PNC lacks behind and has the lowest coverage of any care type along the continuum. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, only 35% of mothers receive PNC, while 93% have SBA, said Etienne Langlois of WHO.With the majority of deaths for women and newborns happening after birth and within the first month of life, standards for PNC reflected in policy and practice are crucial. The new postnatal guidelines released by the WHO this month will hopefully serve as a catalyst to amplify efforts for PNC.Bernadette Daelmans, coordinator of policy, planning and programmes in the department of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health at WHO, presented the process adopted to create the evidence-based guidelines and what changes have been made since the last iteration. So what is new about the guidelines? It is now recommended that women should receive facility care for at least 24 hours after birth, an increase from the previously recommended 12 hours. In addition, there should be at least three PNC visits. The timing of these visits, on day 3, between 7-14 days and six weeks after birth, are selected for the unique impact they can have on mortality and morbidity.Another large change to the PNC guidelines is in regards to neonatal skin care. For years, studies have shown that chlorhexidine used for umbilical cord care after birth can decrease neonatal infections and death. Now, WHO has a guideline and recommendation for this practice. Women who give birth at home in areas with a neonatal mortality rate greater than or equal to 30 neonatal deaths per 1000 live births, should apply chlorhexidine daily to the umbilical cord for the first week of life. For newborns born in health facilities or where the NMR is low, clean, dry cord care is recommended, with chlorhexidine used where traditional, yet harmful substances are used on the cord.But what does this mean for countries? How can they implement these changes in a context specific way? WHO recommends creating a continuum between facility and home, ensuring adequate infrastructure so providers can provide care respectfully and implementing the baby-friendly hospital initiative. Though this sounds straightforward enough, country experts reveal the challenges around implementing PNC and these new guidelines.Currently, PNC has some of the greatest inequities, with coverage currently favoring urban settings. What does this mean and how can we address these inequities? Community-level interventions are needed but “we also need health systems that deliver quality PNC services. We need to strengthen delivery at health system level,” said Langlois.Kapila Jayaratne, national programme manager in the family health bureau at the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka, noted that sufficient human resources are often a problem in reaching women and newborns with PNC. Catherine Mugeni of the Ministry of Health in Rwanda echoed the issue of human resources. Turnover of staff is high and even where numbers of health workers are sufficient, keeping them properly trained and updated is difficult.Part of this problem may be that often community health workers who serve on a volunteer basis don’t have the resource or renumeration they need in order to provide sufficient and quality care. Lisanu Taddesse of the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, noted a solution to this problem in the structure of Ethiopia’s Health Extension Worker (HEW) Program where HEWs are government employees. This improves regulation and supervision, he argued.Taddesse summarized the successes they’ve had in increasing both facility birth and PNC in Ethiopia, but also the challenges. Where neonatal and infant mortality are high, women and families don’t consider the newborn a full human being for the first days or months of life. This coupled with cultural practices of maternal isolation after birth are barriers to seeking postnatal care where home visits are not possible.As Jayaratne, Taddesse and Mugeni summarized their current approach and considerations for context specific implementation, Langlois issued a reminder. “When the PNC guidelines are implemented at the country level, adaptability can’t inhibit fidelity,” he said. Robert McPherson an independent consultant at Save the Children, agreed. Guidelines are connected to outcomes by evidence and when that evidence isn’t applied, the results we’re aiming for won’t be realized.As we move forward in implementing the new PNC guidelines, we must do so carefully, to both maintain fidelity but also ensure the care is meeting the needs of the women and children it is meant to serve. Certain aspects of the guidelines, like facility watch for 24 hours after birth, may inhibit facility delivery for women who, due to cultural or livelihood reasons, may not be able to stay that long. In addition, women and their families need supportive education as the world adopts new cord care standards that replace valued traditional practices.Photo: ©2014 Katie Millar/MHTFShare this:last_img read more

Facility-Based Delivery Has Increased in Africa and Asia – Now What?

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 20, 2017June 20, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, 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)Encouraging facility-based delivery as a strategy to increase skilled attendance at birth in order to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths has been a priority in the global maternal health agenda for decades. However, it has been widely recognized that expanding facility-based births without addressing issues of equity, quality and dignity is not sufficient for improving maternal health. In a recent paper published in Health Policy and Planning, Dominic Montagu and colleagues examined trends in delivery location in Africa and Asia using data from Demographic and Health Surveys and offered policy recommendations for future efforts.Trends in delivery locationBetween 2003 and 2013, the percentage of women who delivered in health facilities increased in every region of the world. Except for urban Western Africa, this trend was observed in both urban and rural areas.Despite an overall surge in facility-based deliveries, large socioeconomic disparities persist. In most regions, more than 80% of women in the wealthiest quintile give birth at a facility, while the same is true of fewer than half of those in the poorest quintile. In Southeast Asia, only 17% of the poorest women deliver in a facility.Implications for health systemsIn response to this upward trend in facility-based deliveries, and taking into account resource limitations in many parts of Africa and Asia, the authors put forth four policy recommendations for improving maternal health:Additional investment in mid-level facilities and a shift away from low-volume facilities in rural areas for maternity careAssured access for rural women before and after delivery through funding for transport infrastructure, travel vouchers, targeted subsidies and residence supportMore specialization of maternity facilities and dedicated maternity wards within larger institutionsA renewed focus on quality improvement at all levels of private and public facilities providing delivery servicesEvidence suggests that women are able to judge the quality of health facilities and make decisions about where they will seek care accordingly. The authors argue that as countries continue to strengthen their roads and transport systems, more women will bypass the nearest facilities, choosing instead to travel farther distances for higher quality, respectful maternity care.Moving forward under the Sustainable Development GoalsIncreases in facility-based delivery have not yielded proportional decreases in maternal mortality, illustrating the importance of high quality care. Achieving the global and national maternal mortality targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require tackling wider health systems issues to ensure that all facilities have the necessary infrastructure, supplies and well-trained workforce to care for women once they arrive at the hospital.Source of graphics: Montagu et al. Where women go to deliver: Understanding the changing landscape of childbirth in Africa and Asia. Health Policy and Planning 2017, czx060.—Read summaries of papers from The Lancet Maternal Health Series on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) blog.Learn about strategies for reducing maternal mortality under the SDGs.Subscribe to receive new posts from the MHTF blog in your inbox.Share this:last_img read more

Fifteen Aboriginal organizations reaffirm boycott of missing women inquiry

first_imgAPTN National NewsMissing Women Commission of Inquiry head Wally Oppal had invited all of the Aboriginal organizations currently boycotting the inquiry to return, saying their input was needed.But the groups have reaffirmed their boycott, with one representative calling the process “tainted and corrupt”, adding that they “don’t see how anything healthy and meaningful can come out of this inquiry at this time”.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has the details.last_img