FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Melany Ethridge (972) 267-1111 [email protected] Or: Kate Etue (615) 481-8420 (m)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Joining with Senator Bill Frist, MD’s Hope Through Healing Hands and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, several U.S. celebrity and faith-based moms joined together to support to the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, a campaign to improve global maternal and child health, including through education about healthy spacing and timing of pregnancies.

Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, recently partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create the coalition. Some of the moms and parents joining the effort include Amy Grant, Grammy-winning Christian music artist; Kimberly Williams Paisley, actress and writer; Jennifer Nettles, Grammy-winning Country music artist; Tracie and Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold-medal ice skater and philanthropist; Jena Lee and James Nardella, Leaders of Blood:Water Mission and Lwala Community Alliance; Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, Dean and Professor of The Gorden E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing at Belmont University; and Elizabeth Styffe, RN MN PHN and Global Director of HIV&AIDS and Orphan Care Initiatives at Saddleback Church.

“Those of us who have experienced healthy pregnancies here in the U.S. need to remember how uniquely fortunate we are,” Amy Grant said. “For the most part, we get to choose when and how we give birth, and we have all the health care we need before, during, and after delivery. In other parts of the world, the reality is tragically different. It is estimated that 1 in 39 pregnant women in Africa died in childbirth in 2013.”

“We believe children are a gift from the Lord, and every child deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life. If we can equip a mother with the knowledge of how better to time and space her children, she will be more likely to survive pregnancy and birth complications and the child will more likely survive the newborn stage,” says Elizabeth Styffe. “God wants us to live life in abundance, and we can take the first steps toward making this a reality for so many around the world.”

“Girls are often forced into marriage and pregnancy as young as age 12, and pregnancy and delivery are extremely hard on their bodies,” Jena Nardella explains.  “Too many die from complications, and those who survive often never recover 100 percent.  Yet many face continued pregnancies year after year, without being able to adequately care for their children. These adolescent girls are at much greater risk of HIV exposure which can affect their newborns, as well. As for the children, when pregnancies are not timed and spaced in a healthy way, many children don’t survive the newborn stage.”

“The cycle is devastating not only to families, but to entire countries and societies,” Senator Frist, M.D. noted, reflecting on his many trips overseas to provide medical care. “Women caught in this cycle often lose their opportunity to complete their education, which in turn limits their ability to do what they want most—to give their children an opportunity at a better life.”

“I believe this one issue – the healthy spacing and timing of pregnancies – could be a key to saving lives and economic empowerment in the developing world,” said HTHH Executive Director Jenny Dyer, Ph.D. “The good news is that we have the information and tools that can make this a reality. If a young woman in Africa can delay her first pregnancy until age 18 or later, she is dramatically more likely to stay in secondary school, and perhaps even attend college, providing stable financial support for her family to have a brighter future. Then, if she can space her pregnancies just three years apart, her children are twice as likely to survive infancy.”

Dyer continued. “There is great room for hope, and we are so delighted to have U.S. moms join us in this effort.  They can uniquely empathize with women around the world who struggle with their pregnancies, who face risk of complications during childbirth, and who suffer deeply at the illness or loss of a child. By raising their voices here at home, these leaders are bringing about transformation for women far away.”

While celebrating motherhood here in the U.S., faith communities around the country are giving their time and energy to ensure motherhood is a joy for women globally, rather than the high-risk event it is for far too many.

Information about those who have joined the coalition to date, as well as how others can help is available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.com/faith-based-coalition. Endorsements for the coalition are available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.com/endorsements_1.

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Hope Through Healing Hands is a Nashville-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. Senator Bill Frist, M.D., is the founder and chair of the organization, and Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D., is the CEO/Executive Director.

 

 

 

 

 

CSIS Ethiopia blog

In January, we traveled as part of a CSIS delegation to Ethiopia to see the work happening there in their Health Extension Workers program. Because of their leadership focus on advancing maternal health and the healthy timing and specing of pregnancy, contraception use has risen from 15% in 2005 to 29% in 2011. This is a tremendous gain, although there is still a long way to go before every women who wants access to contraception has it.

Watch this video to learn more about the program.

Having just concluded teaching my annual course at Vanderbilt, Global Health Policy and Politics, I am inspired to write a blog series based on a session I teach regarding the “psychology of global health.” In that session, I have students read a chapter from Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save. In this chapter, he outlines six reasons for “Why We Don’t Give More” in terms of philanthropy.

Technology and Poverty

Contraception in Ethopia

Apr 09 2014

Today, I am speaking at the Information and Communications Technology for Development and Faith (ICT4DF) Network Conference preceding the Infopoverty World Conference hosted at the United Nations this week. This conference focuses on the interface of technology and the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. In particular, my session hosts a number global health experts speaking to this issue from a faith-based perspective. Questions include: (1) How do ICT4DF tools maximize results in empowering global missions outreach and sustainable development; and (2) how can we transform traditional organizational paradigms from charity-based missions to maximum impact for developing communities.
While working in the Accident & Emergency Department in Georgetown, Guyana, I noticed one thing that was very different from what I’m used to back in Nashville: few to no ambulance arrivals. That is because there is essentially no EMS system in Guyana.

There are a few ambulances that are a part of the hospital system. These are used mainly for transport between outlying hospitals and GPHC, where I was working. They are also used to transport patients in our hospital to the CT scanner, located in another building, or to transport laboring mothers from the L&D ward to the main hospital, where the operating rooms are located. When used for transport from an outlying facility, they are staffed with a driver, sometimes a nurse, and an “attendant”, who might be able to assist the nurse. In addition, multiple family members will usually ride with the patient.
It took a while for me to realize how spoiled I am back at my home hospital, as compared to GPHC. Of course I immediately realized that that had different medications, fewer medications, and access to fewer labs and imaging tests, but I had expected and was prepared for most of that. But then one day it hit me: individually wrapped alcohol prep pads. There are at least a hundred of them in every patient room back home. In my haste to grab one, I probably drop about 3 on the floor and never pick them up. They don’t exist at GPHC. Here, there is a large container of cotton (like a giant cotton ball), over which someone pours alcohol and then you pull off a piece of cotton.
My first week back in Guyana began with the third annual Crash Course in Emergency Medicine. A couple of years ago, Vanderbilt began an Emergency Medicine Residency Training program at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). With every new class of residents, we put on a “Crash Course,” an intensive four-day lecture series, so that all the new residents can get some intensive training on common emergencies, and all the older residents get an intensive review.

There are currently 222 million women worldwide who want access to modern contraception but don't have any way to get it. We know that the healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy can improve the health of both mother and child, but did you realize there was a significant economic benefit to making contraception accessible to women living in extreme poverty? This short video by Population Action International summarizes the economic benefits beautifully.

Anyone you talk to will tell you that they care about mothers and babies. But many people here in the United States don't realize that a mother dies somewhere in the world every two minutes. Every two minutes. The data is staggering.

Our hope is to make sure Christians don't let that overwhelming statistic leave them feeling overhwelmed to the point that they fail to act. Because the connection between maternal health and faith is so important.

We recently discovered this Q&A article with Courtney Fowler, a conference lay leader in the United Methodist Church, who connects the dots between maternal health, faith, and reproductive justice. It's a great resource for those who are starting to dip their toes in this issue of women's health and who passionately care about the lives of women all over the world, because you believe God cares about them too.

Last week, 1,000 Days was honored to join with Hope Through Healing Hands and Senator Bill Frist to engage community leaders in Nashville in the effort to improve maternal and child nutrition. With leaders from the faith, business, and academic communities around the table, we examined the issue of poor nutrition around the world and in Tennessee, where one in four children are food-insecure. The gathering of diverse voices—united by their passion to help mothers and children throughout the world—was a unique opportunity to bring greater attention to the issue of poor nutrition early in life and discuss ways that churches, businesses, and individuals can make an impact.

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