This staggering death toll of mothers and babies -- at least two-thirds of whom could be saved with adequate care -- represents one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century.
As I think back to Aidan's homecoming, and our past year as the March of Dimes National Ambassador family and raising awareness about the serious health problem of preterm birth, I'm proud of how much we accomplished and how far Aidan has grown and overcome.
'Uniting to Stop the Worms' may sound like a science fiction film headline, but intestinal worm infections -- known as soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) -- are all too real. They impair the lives of a billion people worldwide living in areas with poor sanitation.
I served as a community health volunteer in Swaziland from 2012 to 2014, finishing in August. I had my share of long, dull days, and I had a few extremely busy ones. But much of my time went to a girls-empowerment program.
You may think that charging poor people to go to school is a vicious idea that should have been left behind in the 19th century but the Democratic Republic of Congo will need an extra $500 million simply to complete the abolition of school fees.
Twenty-five years after ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Somalia and the South Sudan are taking steps to join 193 other countries around the world that have ratified the treaty.
The year 2014 will stand out to us for a multitude of reasons. For me, what resonates the most is the highs and lows we experienced in our efforts to create gender equality in education worldwide.
One minute, one camera, and one boy... is all it took to convey the tragedy of millions of childhoods lost to conflict in the Middle East.
For most parents, the holidays are a time filled with family, friends and happiness. While this is also true for mothers like us who have children with extreme medical needs, we have a special holiday wish -- that our children could experience and celebrate the season without debilitating pain for just one day.
Why is this still such a problem? While there are regions of the world in which poverty may prevent people from going to school, why is the deficiency felt so much more powerfully in one gender -- why would it not be equal?
So long as social norms diminish the importance of the girl child, discourage the education of girls, and force girls to marry before reaching adulthood, girls will never realize their full potential.
Only time will tell if the UN Refugee Agency's critical efforts will have the potency and persuasion to effect systemic change among these communities, but during these 16 Days of Activism we're thankful for every effort that combats this violence perpetuated against the world's most innocent and vulnerable populations.
In many countries, open defecation is a hidden problem. Hidden among the poor, in rural areas, or remote villages. But it should not be hidden away from public discourse.
A radiant light escaped earth when a woman named Efua Dorkenoo, fighting cancer, took her last breath in her husband's arms on October 18, 2014.
Today in the Philippines, women and open-hearted men are at the forefront of a peaceful battle, the battle for Human Rights in Childbirth. In October of 2014, we had a gentle triumph: Dr. Teodoro Herbosa the Undersecretary of the Department of Health for the Philippines, came out publicly in favor of Gentle Childbirth.
My son Simon was born, beautiful and healthy, on October 21, 2004. He scored 8 and 9 on his APGAR test and was average for height and weight. He smiled for the first time at 47 days. He died suddenly a few weeks later.
When women stand up and defend themselves, it works. Remember -- in 1975, 98% of women were mutilated just like I was. Today, it is 27%. That's 27% too many, but it's also the sign of a revolution. It wasn't handed down on high.
As we celebrate the unprecedented footing gained in ending the AIDS epidemic this, the 26th World AIDS Day, I have some alarming facts to share.
In Malawi, 40,000 babies are born with HIV every year. Without any intervention, two-thirds of these children will not reach their first birthday. With the use of antiretrovirals, the transmission of HIV from mother to baby can be reduced, but many times the first step towards health is through the support of the community.
Due to open defecation millions of Indians are prone to ill health, threats to their safety, reduced productivity and lower earning potential, resulting in a deepening cycle of poverty -- all for want of basic sanitation facilities.