"It reduces blood loss by 50 percent and has decreased maternal mortality and morbidity by 40-60 percent in studies in Egypt and Nigeria," says Suellen Miller, RN, Ph.D., director of the Safe Motherhood Program at the University of California at San Francisco, who helped develop the project with Pathfinder and has led trials of the LifeWrap. "Women are able to be stabilized and travel long distances in the garment to large hospitals where they can receive care."
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Pathfinder International, a reproductive health NGO, is using the NASG in Nigeria and India. Dr. Farouk Jega, program manager in Pathfinder's Abuja, Nigeria office, says that the NASG helps address a critical problem in his country, where blood is often in short supply. "Clinicians can't always refrigerate blood banks because of spotty electricity, and many people don't want to donate blood because they fear being tested for HIV," says Dr. Jega.
The initial results of this pilot are promising. In one year, community educators reached 29,000 people, leading to an 18 percent jump in awareness in the benefits of delaying marriage. The program was instrumental in preventing 53 girl-child marriages.
Speaking on the occasion, Pathfinder International's Country Director Dr Tauseef Ahmed said, "Pakistan has steadily improved family planning services over time but the progress has been limited due to absence of a holistic approach and poor use of evidence for programmatic development."
When your junk is not under your own control, the stakes are high. For instance, family planning saved Georgette who by age 38 had already been pregnant 20 times. Thanks to the harsh conditions in war-torn Central Africa, seven of her babies died of starvation when her breastfeeding was prematurely ended because of another pregnancy. When Pathfinder International stepped in to offer Georgette reproductive health care and a choice to avoid her 21st pregnancy, a better life for her and her children began.
Blood transfusion is essential for preventing maternal death from postpartum hemorrhage but blood bank refrigeration is a problem in areas without reliable electricity. With funding from the Cloverleaf Foundation, Pathfinder International developed a solar-powered system to address this problem.
The clinics targeted all the rural areas and villages of the six governorates where the project works. We were able to deliver basic health services to areas that had never had access to governmental or organizations' health services working in the area .
The chain of events began in March, 2001, when a 13-year-old girl named Woinshet Zebene was abducted from her Ethiopian village and raped for two days. After she escaped, bloodied and bruised, the suspect was arrested and then released on bail. That same week, the man abducted Woinshet again, hiding the girl in his brother's house and raping her for 15 days before she escaped and sought refuge with her grandmother.
The issue is a very personal one for me, because doctors say that if my mother did not have some of the best obstetric care in the world—right here in the United States—my birth would have killed both of us.
Like APHIA II, APHIAplus will strengthen the country's ability to improve the lives of mothers, children and their families in the areas of HIV/AIDS, malaria, family planning, reproductive health, and tuberculosis with quality health services.