In the developing world, distance (from home to care) is one of the three major delays, and even in the USA, it's a factor in some women's maternal death, or near-miss. Aside from actual miles to care, the obvious distances are the ones backed by statistics (poverty, lack of prenatal care, skin color, lifestyle choices); but sometimes, we create distance out of vapor - out of assumptions.
In Bangladesh, for decades women have been creating a new norm for how primary health care can look by delivering health care services using a door-to-door approach without the typical doctor, paramedic or even nurse.
Clinical instinct told me that this baby was already dead, and wasn't coming back. But the nurses were all looking at me expectantly, and I decided that we had to try.
It is India's dramatic achievement that has catapulted polio eradication to the top of the near-term global health agenda. The "last mile" to eradication may be hazardous to transverse--but the end-point is now in sight.
In Senegal and throughout West Africa, deeply-rooted social norms are meant to protect and support a woman and her child throughout her pregnancy and after the birth. Unfortunately, these beliefs can also put the mother and child's health at risk.
Now, Cambodia is uniquely placed to be one of the first countries to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections, and through collaborative partnerships, I have no doubt Cambodia will be able to reach its goal.
Imagine giving birth in one of the bottom-ranked countries. Your family's income may be less than $200 a person for the whole year. There's a good chance you were married as a child. If this is your first pregnancy, you may still be under 18.
Historically, young women from resource-denied communities have been left out of the international conversation; the few positions of power are often reserved for women from privileged backgrounds. Consequently, the development community has denied the ownership and voice of female leaders, maintaining rather than demolishing the very inequity it strives to eradicate.
Following a gradual evolution of development priorities, the global community now recognizes that investing in girls is one of the most successful strategies to alleviate poverty, reduce infant and maternal mortality, and improve health and educational outcomes.
When the first wave of Millennials became teens, volunteerism and community service surged. These are the stories of three young leaders working for a future in which women and girls get the health care and social support they need to survive and thrive.
We might say that to be injured by pregnancy or through birthing at age 25 is extremely sad; that at the age of 30, it is deeply traumatic, or maybe, that at the age of 40, it is devastating. But what words should we apply when pregnancy injures -- for life -- a 10-, 11- or 12-year-old?
Until a decade ago, fistula was literally not on the global health agenda, even though it is arguably the most devastating and disabling of all childbirth injuries. The simple reason: women who suffer from fistula live almost exclusively in rural areas of very resource constrained countries, and are therefore some of the least empowered human beings on the planet.
During her pregnancy, every expectant mother has bright hopes for the new life she carries. She may have concerns about her ability to care for a newborn. But depending on where she in the world she lives, her fear may be much deeper and more fundamental: "Will my baby survive childbirth?" Or, "Will I?"
Part of the problem in the US is that we simply don't know exactly why women are dying, or even how many are. It is hard to be aware when we don't have a system that tracks these deaths and near-misses in a uniform fashion in all 50 states. Let me state that plainly - many states do not even have "pregnancy-related" on the death certificate. If we don't ask the question, how will we ever know the answer?
This month, as many of my colleagues around the world celebrate motherhood, I work towards a future where all the mothers in my community have access to safe and healthy pregnancies -- a future free of the cries that once filled the homes of my neighbors.
Let me tell you the stories of two mothers who are worlds apart, but share the worst thing that ever happened to them. Both Angela and Kismati still feel the loss of their baby every day, but I'm inspired by the hope found amidst their stories, and within these brave women themselves.
A woman has nine months to prepare for the day that her baby will arrive -- healthy and full of promise, imagining the love she and her child will have for each other. Sadly, every year, more than one million babies die on the first day of life -- many from preventable causes.
I thought to myself that if Bobby, a senior in high school, a young man with his whole life in front of him, wasn't asking "why," then I had no right to do so. Instead, I told myself I would find a purpose, a purpose for this brain tumor.
We're not inclined to upload photos of artisan sandwiches to Instagram, but this week we're going all out for good reason. Except there'll be no pictures of arugula or baguettes in sight. We've taken on the Global Poverty Project's Live Below the Line challenge to spend $1.50 a day on food and drink for five days.
My mother was talking about more than energy level and circadian rhythm. It's also an expression of the belief that the future will be an improvement upon the past. It is about faith, determination and progress.