Are you uncool and old school? I am, apparently – at least my teenage daughter tells me so.The good news is, sometimes it pays to be un-hip. Especially if you work in marketing. I was reminded of this by Dorie Clark’s recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Blog. As she notes, sometimes the pursuit of shiny new things leads us away from basic marketing principles that work best.She says, ask yourself:1. What is everyone else doing — and how can I do the opposite? Being trendy makes you less of a standout. If every other charity is sending out calendars to thank supporters, buck the trend and give donors personal calls, for example. If everyone is zigging, zag.2. What worked in the past that’s been abandoned — and why? Some old ideas should not come back. Like the below fashion statement which I first saw via Jeffrey Forster. But we often stop effective marketing programs because staff change, people find it dull or someone drops the ball. Take a tour of your past and brush the dust off what worked before. It might work well again.3. What circumstances have changed that might allow for new opportunities? Are there old ideas whose time has come?I’m with Dorie Clark. It’s not a bad thing to eschew the shiny and embrace the dusty. Especially if it’s marketing gold. But not if it’s double denim.
If you want the best response to your outreach this holiday, focus on creating surround sound around your supporters. You want to project the same messages via multiple channels in a well-orchestrated marketing symphony.How do you do that? Roger Craver had some good tips in Fundraising Success that focused on retention. Here are five ways to better orchestrate your messages this holiday, inspired by his thinking.1. Create one message or theme and build on it. You want your outreach via email, direct mail, telephone, social media, mobile, etc. to sound like variations on a theme – not unrelated music. Pick a key idea and reinforce it through each medium through which you contact supporters.2. Contact supporters in multiple ways. The best way to build a relationship with donors is to acknowledge the fact that people like to give in a variety of venues: email, direct mail, Facebook,etc. There are not just pure “online donors” and “mobile donors”and “direct mail” donors – there are donors who choose to mix it up. Research shows donors give the most – and stay the longest – when you take this approach.3. In each form of outreach, reference other ways to connect. Put web addresses for online giving in your direct mail. Put postal addresses on your website. And so on.4. Experiment. Roger notes that some organizations have success when they send text messages to donors the day direct mail hits. Others find better responses by sending emails a little while after a direct mail piece lands. Test different combinations and timing to see what works best for you.5. Plan around the donor. Get all of these pieces playing together by creating a comprehensive plan around the donor (rather than having each department at your organization doing their own thing). You want harmonic sense for your supporters — a lovely set of surround sound rather than a cacophony of ad hoc outreach! So make a calendar from the donor perspective and confirm your supporters are getting the right messages, through the right channels at the right times.
Here are three ways you can improve your work – and your workplace – in the New Year. 1. Know what you’re doing before you worry about how you’ll do it.We jump to thoughts of implementation so often in our work, and that tendency creates several problems. We may not know exactly what we’re implementing, why we’re implementing it or how much is possible. By skipping ahead to the details, we begin work that may not make sense — and we unnecessarily constrain ourselves. This year, be mindful about each idea you’re pursuing and determine its larger purpose before running forward with activities. It’s not about what you’re doing but why you’re doing it.2. Spend at least 15 minutes a day in deliberate thought about something bigger than your to-do list.This is critical. I believe in mornings – but for some people, it works best to do this exercise at the end of the day to prepare for the next morning. What larger purpose defines you right now? One year from now, what will you be glad you did tomorrow? Ten years from now? What are the big things that need to happen to advance those aspirations? I believe the sum of our efforts each year reflects the rigor we apply to these larger questions. Take a few minutes each day to ask them. You may not have every answer, but you’ll make smarter choices along the way – and let the little crap go more easily. For me, five minutes at the start of my workday plus nightly blogging are tools I use in trying to step out of everyday to-do lists and think about what ideas matter most each day. What tools can you put into place to schedule reflection?3. Think about what unites your colleagues rather than what’s in it for you.The best workplaces in the world have something in common: Colleagues embrace a collective vision, and they’d do anything for each other. I’d always prefer to be in that kind of culture than a dog-eat-dog slugfest because it’s better for me and better for my organization. Try to set a course toward that kind of camaraderie. Define what you all want to do together. Along the way, share credit. Recognize the achievements of others. Sacrifice something selfish if it yields a greater good. If you are a manager, you have the chance to transform the experience of those who report to you. Seize it with a spirit of selflessness. In the end, it’s the fastest way to achievement – and happiness – for everyone.
HBR has a nice post this week on quieting your mind – and recharging it. You can check out the whole article here, and I’ve posted a quick summary. Try one or all of these three practices:1. Mini-meditation: For 10 minutes on public transportation each morning, close your eyes and imagine a relaxing scene like a tree or waterfall. Try to focus only on that. If you drive to work, arrive 10 minutes early and do this in the parking lot. Says author Matthew May, “People who meditate show more gray matter in certain regions of the brain, show stronger connections between brain regions and show less age-related brain atrophy.” Sounds like a good reason to try this!2. Pulsing: Take breaks between stretches of 90 minutes of work. You just spent a lot of energy – now recharge for five minutes by doodling, listening to music or taking a brief stroll.3. Daydream walks: Find 20 minutes or so to let your mind wander. A lunchtime walk or morning jog are good times to try. Do not think about work but rather something you like to imagine, like a dream trip. You’re taking care of your creative brain – and the benefits will extend to all of your life.
If you’re familiar with marketing, you know the principle of a benefit exchange: a reward offered in return for taking an action. A benefit exchange answers the question: What’s in it for me?For example: If I buy Nikes, I’ll feel like an athlete. If I go to your meeting, I’ll get some face time with senior staff.Benefit exchanges are useful for all kinds of situations. Like getting someone at work to agree to your proposal, encouraging people to change their habits or inspiring someone to donate to a cause.But we often get the benefit exchange wrong. We don’t offer a strong enough reward – or a sufficiently clear call to action.So here’s a mini-marketing refresh on strengthening the reward part of your benefit exchange. If you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, think about sharpening the “what’s in it for me?” answer with a better reward.A compelling reward has five important attributes: It should be immediate, personal, reflective of your audience’s values, better than competing rewards, and credible.Immediate: The best rewards are available to our audience right away. Few of us take action based on a reward that we expect to receive in the far future. It is human nature to seek instant satisfaction over distant gratification. So think about what your call to action will do for someone in the short term. Eating a hamburger satisfies our hunger, drinking beer makes the ball game more fun, and wearing cologne makes us feel sexier. Donating to charity makes us feel we made a difference for one person, today. How can you show an immediate result may be possible?Personal: The reward needs to make people feel their life will be better as individuals or within their tight circles of friends, family and community. Take the attributes of what you want people to do and sell them as benefits. What will recycling or sidewalks or education policy do for your audience? At the end of the day, the personal connection, not the grand concept, grabs our attention.Grounded in audience values: We can’t easily change what other people believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our message. Make sure the reward you are offering is something others seek – not just what you want. Those two things are rarely the same, but we often imagine they are!Better than the competition: Think competitively about your reward. Is it better than what people get for doing nothing – or something else? Don’t forget there’s a reason people aren’t taking action. They may be deriving benefits from those behaviors. How can you make your reward better than what people get from maintaining the status quo?Credible: Last, you need to make sure the claim of your benefit is believable. People need to believe they can get the reward. Show other people gaining the promised benefit or telling a good story can bolster your case. Make the promise change credible.If people aren’t doing what you want, you may find out why by reviewing this list. Are you making your offer sufficiently irresistible? Or could you sweeten the reward in one of these areas? It’s worth the effort to consider, because a great benefit exchange makes it far easier (and faster) to get to yes.
The verdict is in: Donors love puppies and babies. But not every organization can use an image of a child or dog to tell their story. So what kind of images can you use if your mission isn’t related to a smiling child or a playful puppy? Here are some ideas to help you create or find compelling images for your nonprofit.Find InspirationLook to other organizations you admire and see how they are using images. Here are a few examples from our Network for Good partners: To recruit volunteers and supporters, the San Francisco-based St. Anthony Foundation used Facebook to showcase a collection of images featuring current volunteers, local famous faces and their clients posing with their dining room’s newly branded cafeteria trays. Your organization’s shared drive is one place where you can keep images. Photos stored on a shared drive are accessible to everyone in your office and, unlike a desktop computer, can be recovered if your organization’s system crashes.An external hard drive is another option for photo storage. External hard drives are portable, reliable, and are a good storage solution for organizations that don’t have a shared drive.If you chose to store images online, consider using a free tool such as Picasa, Flickr, or Dropbox.Sharing Your PhotosBefore you start publishing images online, sharing them with the media, or adding them to your annual report, be sure to have the following:Photographer’s name. (Don’t forget to give credit!)Caption to accompany the image. (Captions are read more often than blocks of copy.)Relevancy. Images need to enhance your story, not distract or confuse.Social media is a great place to share images that you’ve collected.Post an image on Facebook and ask your fans to contribute caption suggestions.Share images on Twitter with a specific call to action (and don’t forget an appropriate hashtag).If your staff members and volunteers have the ability to take pictures with their phones, encourage them to share on Instagram.Be sure to include images in as many communication pieces as possible. Compelling images create a deeper emotional impact than words alone. Include images on your website, newsletter, donor appeal letters, fundraising campaign pieces, brochures, annual report, Holiday greetings, and event invitations.RememberYou don’t have to have puppies and babies in your images to make them appealing to donors.Create an emotional impact with the images you chose.Collecting and capturing images should be part of your regular communications plan.Look for inspiration, don’t be afraid to get started, and continue to build up your nonprofit’s photo collection.When you capture the heart and soul of your mission, iPhone pictures on Instagram can be just as compelling as professional photograph. Google’s Picasa makes it easy to control a photo album’s privacy setting. Gardens for Health International’s website has beautiful images of their work. Most of their images are action shots with a high color contrast that always leave the viewer feeling positive.The St. Anthony Foundation has a great collection of photos from their Willing to Serve campaign (including some famous faces).The St. Bernard Project has wonderful stories and images accompanying their Faces of Katrina campaign.The Arts Council of New Orleans never misses an opportunity to take pictures at community events showcasing the arts in their area.Public radio station 90.7 KSER has a unique way of highlighting their staff members and behind-the-scenes moments with images on their Facebook page.Organize Your IdeasStart a Pinterest board and collect images you admire. When the time comes to work with a photographer, show them the images you’ve collected so that they understand the types of photos you are looking for. Sharing good examples helps set an expectation for the kind of images you want.Think about the work your organization does. How can you capture that in an image? Are there any upcoming events that would serve as good photo opportunities that can help tell your story? Would an on-site photo shoot or a series of pictures of your fieldwork do a good job of illustration your mission?Getting StartedWhen moving beyond inspiration to taking and choosing photos, don’t forget the basics:Use photos to help tell your story.Choose photos that grab the attention of the viewer.Use photos that create an emotional impact. (Human faces are the best.)If you can’t take your own images anytime soon, learn the right way to use stock images.Storing Your PhotosOnce you have a solid collection of photos that represent your work, what do you do with them? Here are suggestions for storing and managing photos.
Has it been a while since you’ve updated your organization’s online donation page? It’s time to get down to business and whip your donation form into shape before the year-end stream of donations begins. Get better online fundraising results by avoiding these donation page mistakes:1. Too much text.Once your donor has landed on your donation page, don’t confuse, overwhelm, or bore them with paragraphs of text. One or two lines of short, compelling copy are plenty. Your goal is to reinforce your call to action and get donors to your donation form as quickly as possible.2. Too many options.Just like too much text, too many options on your online donation page can make donors less likely to complete your form. Get rid of unnecessary fields and remove extraneous navigation that will take donors away from your page.3. Inconsistent branding.When a donor goes to your donation form from your email appeal or website, do they feel like they have been transported to a different planet? A donation page that looks like your other campaign materials and your nonprofit’s website makes your donation experience familiar and seamless.4. Outdated information.This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have outdated information on your nonprofit donation page, you’re sending a not-so-subtle signal to donors that you may not be the best steward of their gift. Make sure you’re not still touting a matching grant that has expired, a program that has ended, or last year’s fundraising goal.5. Lack of testing.Two types of online donation page testing will help you get better results this year. Usability testing will help you uncover any issues that may derail a donor. A/B testing can help you decide which images, calls to action, and suggested donation amounts perform best. 6. No suggested giving amounts. Make it easy for your donors by offering suggested giving amounts that take the guesswork out of how much to give. Use your average gift as a starting point, and then offer one giving amount that’s slightly lower and two or three higher amounts. Illustrate what each gift level could provide with impact labels to help donors visualize the result of their donation.7. No recurring gift options.If you’re not offering supporters a way to give a recurring gift, you’re missing out on donations. Recurring gifts help donors fit giving into their budgets and allow you to collect more over time. If donors feel like they can’t give enough to make a difference, they may not give at all. Frame your recurring gift options in a way that lets donors know how their regular support will help.
Today is Network for Good’s official Be Your Donor Day. Today is the day all nonprofits should review their digital fundraising channels through their donors’ eyes. Of course, while every day should be Be Your Donor Day at your organization, we want to encourage all fundraisers to devote some time today to experiencing their outreach and donation process from their donor’s perspective. A third of all online giving will happen in December—now is the time to make sure your donors will have an easy giving experience that inspires and delights them. Don’t let your hard work of creating a great year-end fundraising plan go to waste! Make it your mission to find and fix any problems that may trip up your donors before the busiest giving days of the year. So, what can you do to celebrate Be Your Donor Day? Here are some suggestions:— Visit our Be Your Donor Day headquarters for donor-centric fundraising resources, including a Be Your Donor checklist and year-end fundraising guide.— Pledge to set aside time to view your entire fundraising and donation process from your donor’s perspective.— Put on your “donor hat” and make a donation, submit a contact form on your website, and call your main phone line. What happens? Is the process what you’d expect? Is it easy?— Ask a friend or family member (someone not overly familiar with your organization) to help you test your website and donation page.— Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #BeYourDonor.We asked a few of our friends in the nonprofit space to share their suggestions for Be Your Donor Day. Read on and check out their amazing tips:Kivi Leroux Miller wants you to rethink your newsletter strategy. Make it a valuable resource for your donors.Social Media for Nonprofits co-founder Darian Rodriguez Heyman recommends you follow the Burrito Principle when timing your social media posts. Post important updates when your donors and supporters are most likely checking their feeds.Mark Rovner and Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies encourage fundraisers to consider the appreciation you show your donors. Would your organization pass the Bulls-Eye Test?Joanne Fritz suggests you view your website from the donor perspective. In addition to having a nice, clean layout with a prominent DonateNow button, your website should also strive to answer your donor’s most important questions.Form connections and get to know your donors, supporters and prospects, says Nancy Schwartz. Do donors feel connected to you and your organization?Big Duck’s Farra Trompeter shared this gem from last year’s Be Your Donor Day: make sure your donors love you! Here are 11 ways donors show you they care about your organization. Take the pledge to Be Your Donor and make your emails, donation page, website, and social media more donor friendly!I’d love to hear your ideas — share how you plan to “Be Your Donor” in the comments below.
3. Make your email a part of a conversation.Sending your email from one person, using first-person pronouns, and including contractions will keep your note feeling conversational. If you write, “The Denver Puppy House is pleased to receive your donation,” or, “We used those funds to buy medicine,” you might come across as formal and dull. But if you write, “I am so glad you were able to make a donation to help our puppies,” or “I couldn’t have done it without you,” you’ll sound intimate and chatty. 1. Use a personalized greeting.If your friend sent you a note that said, “Dear Sir or Madam,” you might be a little confused. While you may not individually know all of your supporters, think of them as your nonprofit’s treasured partners and write to each one by name with a friendly greeting. Try saying “Hello there, Matt!” instead of “Dear Matthew.”2. Have a warm tone.Adopt a warm, welcoming tone by using simple sentences and informal language. This will help your email be breezy instead of stiff. Choosing shorter words such as “get” over longer words like “acquired” will make your email read as if from a friend. When your donors feel valued and special, they’re more likely to give again and again. One way to spread the love is by giving your emails a personal touch. Here’s how:
You are the changemakers, the risk takers, the champions, and the power behind great causes that make the world a much better place. On behalf of the team here at Network for Good, thank you for all the good you do in the world. You amaze and inspire us each day and we are grateful to work alongside you. And for those celebrating in the U.S., have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Sending thank you notes and providing tax receipts are important steps to building good donor relationships—but they’re just the beginning. Here are three ways you can go above and beyond with your donor appreciation.1. Say happy birthday!Food Finders Food Bank in Lafayette, Indiana, asks a surprising question on its donation page: What is your birth month and day? No, there isn’t a legal age for donating. Food Finders is collecting birthday information so that they can send donors happy birthday ecards in 2014, says Food Finder’s Director of Development Cheryl Precious. Contacting your donors to celebrate lets them know that you care and keeps you in mind.2. Feature their stories in your newsletter or on your website. Each month, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services features a different volunteer. Why should your nonprofit promote its donors? Highlighting the people you support and the people who support you keeps your mission front and center for everyone. “Donors commit their hard-earned money and time to your cause, so emphasizing them says thanks and gives your nonprofit more credibility,” says Network for Good’s Senior Communication and Success Specialist Annika Pettitt.3. Host a special event.Giving donors a behind-the-scenes experience or hosting programs for them is an exclusive experience that shows your gratitude. The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, hosts donors for a quarterly luncheon and discussion series, as well as special tours. Annika says that unique activities are an extra fun way to encourage a relationship with donors and keep them involved.Image Credit: Shambhu
Is one of your 2014 goals to get your social strategy in order? Here are 10 fun stats on social media that can help you decide how to spend your time.73% of U.S. online adults now use social networking sites. Source: Pew Tweet this.Roughly one-third of the world’s population is now online. Source: We Are Social Tweet this.68% of Instagram’s users are women. Source: Business Insider Tweet this.50% of nonprofit communicators label social media as a “very important” communication tool. Source: Nonprofit Marketing Guide Tweet this.Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets. Source: Buffer Tweet this.71% of U.S. online adults are now Facebook users. Source: Pew Tweet this.55% who engaged with causes via social media have been inspired to take further action. Source: Waggener Edstrom Tweet this.In the U.S., users spend 114 billion minutes a month on Facebook. Source: Business Insider Tweet this.70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside of the U.S. Source: 9Clouds Tweet this.40% of Facebook users surveyed say they log in to the social network multiple times per day. Source: Pew Tweet this.Need some help thinking about how to leverage social media for your nonprofit’s outreach strategy? Download this free guide from Network for Good, Social Media Mini Guide for Nonprofits.
If you’re a fundraiser who is struggling to get your executive director or board to understand why you should launch an online fundraising program or invest more in online giving tools, try these talking points to help plead your case.Online giving boosts individual giving.You might have experienced push back on launching online fundraising because your leaders want to focus more on grants and major gifts from foundations. Remind them that individual giving is the biggest slice of the fundraising pie, and online fundraising is a key way to help diversify your funding. Having an online presence (and a way to give online) will help you recruit and retain donors who are likely shifting away from writing checks.Online giving allows you to interact with your donors where they are—online.Are your board members questioning how many of your target donors are really online? Send them these statistics from Pew Research:· 85% of American adults use the Internet· 61% of Internet users bank online · 73% of American adults use social mediaWhen potential donors find your nonprofit on social media or through a Google search, you’ll miss out on gifts without an easy online donation option. If you don’t make it simple for donors to support your mission, they may think you don’t need help! You don’t have to set up a merchant account.Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to set up a merchant account, payment gateway, or other fancy money-processing component to accept online donations—and you don’t have to be a tech whiz, either. In 2001, Network for Good made it easy for donors to give to any registered 501(c)3 online. Thirteen years and $1 billion dollars later, we still make it easy! You can get up and running with a branded donation page over your lunch hour.It’s not just a fad.Every year online giving continues to grow. Organizations like Crowdrise and Causes have leveraged the power of social networks to help encourage peer-to-peer giving. National giving campaigns like Giving Tuesday and Give Local America are here to stay. Wonder how areas affected by natural disaster get the instant funds they need? The answer: through online giving disaster relief campaigns. Consider these four conversation starters the next time you bring up online fundraising with your board. What other things do you want to teach your board about online fundraising? Do you have advice for those who are still trying to convince their leaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section.This post was created as part of this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The roundup of February’s submissions will be featured on The Fundraising Coach blog later this month.
No doubt you’ve seen the string of videos on your Facebook timeline—friends and family sharing their own social media time capsules. Facebook’s “A Look Back” movies offer personalized video montages to celebrate the social network’s 10th birthday. The videos are irresistibly sharable and have even struck a chord with the experts. Here’s what makes these videos work so well:They’re not focused on the organization. The folks at Facebook could have created something more focused on their platform and their accomplishments, but they knew that the real way to make us care about their birthday is by talking to us about, well, us.They tug at our heartstrings. Above all, emotion rules. From the sweet background music to the heavy rotation of photos, the videos capture our attention and pull us in. These videos, while driven by an algorithm, are mirrors of ourselves and heavily feature the things that matter most to us. They remind us of our progress. In keeping with the birthday theme, the videos allow us to look back and see how far we’ve come, whether we joined Facebook way back when or just last year. They connect us to something bigger. The shared experience of posting the videos and the highlights they capture help us see how we’re connected to one another. The idea of Mark Zuckerberg and company inviting us to celebrate this big milestone together underscores this feeling of community.In the process of accomplishing all of these things, these videos endear us more to the whole Facebook experience. Think about how you can emulate these qualities the next time you update your supporters on the progress you’ve made together.
As the volunteer coordinator for Gift of Life Michigan, Kim Zasa sent volunteers to church fairs and festivals in the hope that people would want to become organ donors. Although she had 800 volunteers attending countless events, only 11% of Michigan’s residents were organ donors. Today that number is about 33%.So what changed? How did Gift of Life Michigan recruit so many new donors?According to a recent story on NPR, responses changed when Kim convinced the state to have DMV clerks ask customers, “Would you like to be an organ donor?” Putting your ask—and your resources—in the right place at the right time is the key to getting the results you want!1. Determine what’s not working—and be willing to experiment. Kim had an army of volunteers at her disposal who were willing to drive long distances for a cause they believed in. When she didn’t see the results she wanted, she took action. Is there an area of your nonprofit that isn’t seeing the results you’d like? Don’t just assume things will improve. Determine what’s working and what’s not, and then brainstorm about what you can do differently.2. Analyze how you’re using your resources.Instead of sending her volunteers on road trips, Kim put them to work in other ways and employed stationary DMV employees to make the ask. These clerks regularly saw almost the entire adult population of the state, so they were well positioned to speak to more people than Kim’s volunteers were.Are you using the resources you have—both time and money—to their full capacity? Are volunteers solving a pain point for you and helping you in the most beneficial way? If not, how can you modify their tasks to be more effective for your cause?3. Put your question in the right place at the right time.Instead of making the ask in places where people weren’t already making decisions beyond ice cream or cotton candy, Kim combined the ask with an established routine. If someone wanted to become a donor at a festival, they had to take multiple steps and time out of their entertainment to sign up. Making the ask at the DMV made it easy for potential donors to say yes, with no extra action required.Are you positioning your request in the best way possible? Does saying yes require multiple steps that make it less likely you’ll see the result you want? For instance, when you ask for donations online, do your supporters first have to click through multiple pages, or is it simply one click and done? Think about how you can adjust how, when, and where you’re making an ask to better your odds of getting through to your target audience. Have you tried something similar? Share your results and suggestions in the comments below!
(Part two in our series on the Millennial Impact Project)Millennials: A powerful force for change.Earlier this month, I shared my perspectives on the 2014 Millennial Impact Report and MCON14. Hopefully, that post got you thinking about how Millennials are shaping our culture and social sector in profound new ways.As a refresher, this is a summary from Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, on the growing significance and power of Millennials:Approximately 80 million Millennials live in the U.S. today. Collectively, they spend about $300 billion annually on consumer discretionary goods. And by the year 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce.Soon, Millennials will no longer be the “next generation;” rather, they will be the majority of your co-workers and employees. [And I’d add, the majority of your donors and supporters.]Millennials are building a culture that knows how it feels to contribute to a cause and attempt to solve social issues…It is not overstating to say that a big part of the nonprofit sector’s future relies on its ability to respond to these young people’s charitable inclinations.Invite them. Inspire them. Seven steps to get started.How do you begin to engage Millennials? Here are seven ways you can bring Millennial energy, innovation and advocacy to your organization.1. Bring Millennials onto your team. Hire Millennials. Invite one or two to join your board. Even if you have a give/get for board members, encourage Millennials to run a race or do a crowdfunding campaign as a way to fulfill their commitment. They’re worth it. With their robust social networks, youthful passion and idealism, they can contribute in ways that are more important than money. Think of Millennial team members as beacons that can shine a light on your organization with huge networks of friends, family and colleagues.2. Inspire with images and video. Shift your marketing focus from facts and data to people and impact stories. Check out how our client, the United Way of Central Maryland uses a beautiful image and video to present a clear, simple fundraising message. Click here for a guide to using visuals effectively.3. Enlist with emotion on social channels. Inspire young supporters to share your mission by capturing their attention in your social channels with emotion: empathy, humor, pain, triumph. Investments in photography and video can pay big dividends, as inspiring content is more likely to be shared. The campaign of actress Lauren Luke, Don’t Cover it Up, inspired women, especially Millennials, to confront partner violence, not to “cover it up.”4. Empower them to get involved, not just to give. Inspire Millennials to volunteer based on their top motivators for getting involved: Passion (79%); Meeting people (56%); Gaining expertise (46%). Get them involved through activism, professional groups, and leadership opportunities. The United Way of Central Maryland has built a passionate base of Millennial supporters with its Emerging Leaders United program, by focusing on these motivations.5. Focus on your website. Meet Millennials where they are: online (and on their phones). With the rise of social media, many organizations focus their online outreach, updates, and photos on these platforms, often neglecting their core website. Your website is the center of your online universe – the sun to your orbiting social media planets. And leaving out of date or generic information on a website is a major turn-off for Millennials, and everyone else!.Also, your website has to be mobile-friendly. 87% of Millennials are carrying smartphones everyday. A mobile-friendly online environment will keep mobile users engaged and enable impulsive action from an impulsive generation.6. Launch a monthly giving program. One of the hottest trends in philanthropy mirrors a trend we see in consumer purchasing: the growth in subscription giving. According to the report, 52% of Millennials are interested in giving monthly. A small monthly gift can really add up over months and years. Here are some recommendations on how to start your monthly giving program.7. Move them to action by ASKING. You’re changing lives every day. And everyday you need support. Millennials want to be inspired, to inspire others, and to make a big impact with their actions and generosity. Tell them how they can help: start a fundraising page, sign a petition, recruit volunteers, host an event, join your leadership. It starts with an ask.
Prep your team to:Be confident in sharing year-end messages.Be ready for a flood of requests for help and info, especially in December.Immediately share important feedback they receive on any component of last-minute marketing so you can correct the course if necessary. Go!Like most tasks, implementing your year-end campaign is a lot easier (and will be so much more successful) when based on a research-based plan. Don’t skip that step.Write right.Make sure your tone is personal and your call to action clear and easy to act on. Consider these five steps to a successful year-end email campaign.This last recommendation is so important. If you skip it, you’ll risk undermining campaign success. If you do it, you’ll do great. Get on it!That’s my year-end campaign secret sauce. What can you add? Share your tried and true practices in the comments below!With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org. Outline Your Plan Every connection you squeeze into 2014 allows you to deepen the relationship just a little more! So clarify your goal, think through what will be top of mind for these folks, and start reaching out right now.Do more of what has worked best to engage your most loyal supporters while you have their attention.Your trends analysis will also highlight the channels and messages that hit a positive nerve with each audience group. These are the ones you’ll want to replicate in the remaining weeks of this year. Use that info to shape some year-end-specific messages.Go beyond online channels to share those messages. Although email is a timely and relatively low-cost format for targeted campaigns, print and social media campaigns can be great complements if resources allow. There is still time to get another postcard out the door, if it makes sense.Ramp UpLine up your team and budget.Although the stats indicate that year-end is a productive fundraising time, you’ll have to work better and harder than ever from the get-go to generate gifts, because all fundraisers are onto the same stats.Spend a few minutes with colleagues in your organization, ideally one-on-one, to ask for their help and to thank them for their help in making marketing a success (even if their role is very indirect).Then, get your website, donation processing, and colleagues ready to respond.Make sure your site features:Recent stories about programs, including some programs introduced pre-2014 (to connect those folks who haven’t checked in much this year).A big donate button on every page, with a “phone in your gift” number.A recently tested online giving process.Consistent messages and look-and-feel across your entire site, including the donation page. Avoid confusing donors; make it easy for them to feel confident in giving by making your donation process match the rest of your materials. Come in close and listen hard. This is a secret I don’t want to broadcast to the entire world.The secret sauce to ensuring year-end campaign success that I’ve seen work time and time again is this year-end checklist. Year-end campaign creation and management is a busy, often overwhelming process fraught with anxiety. This checklist is the best antidote I know, and it doubles as a surefire tool to propel you to your year-end victory lap.Pinpoint Where You Are Right NowRoll up your sleeves and take a long, hard look at this year’s fundraising results to date, both quantitative and qualitative. Note: If you have no idea what your results are, designing ways to measure success is a must for 2015.Assess results against your benchmarks. Review year-to-date results, and compare them to your benchmarks to see what’s working as hoped and what’s not.This is easier with hard numbers, like those associated with online petition signing or registration, online giving, or other actions that you can directly track to their source. More challenging, but equally important, is drawing insight from quantitative information such as client, volunteer, or donor feedback and stories from the field.Identify meaningful trends:Which matches are working? Which target audience is responding to what campaigns, channels, and messages?Who else should you be in touch with? Have any surprise visitors—groups you didn’t expect to engage with your organization—surfaced this year?Who fell off your radar that you need to rekindle the relationship with before it’s too late? Who was a loyal supporter in previous years but has been significantly less responsive this year?
Your year-end campaigns are just about ready to go, but making the most of December is probably in the back of your mind all the time. Perhaps you’re asking yourself if there is anything else you can put into motion today that can move the needle at year end.Yes! Try a peer fundraising campaign.The Power of Peer-to-Peer FundraisingSocial, Personal, P2P or team fundraising are all names for the same concept: harnessing the power of your supporters and their networks to scale your impact.At their best, peer fundraising campaigns center around a passionate desire to make an impact on a problem or cause, and then “recruit” supporters based on a shared interest in the cause or in honor of the friendship with the original project sponsor.Once in a while, peer fundraising campaigns catch fire. That was the case this summer with the Ice Bucket challenge. It started when 29 year-old Pete Frates, stricken with ALS, sought to bring attention to the disease, and to inspire others to support research toward a cure. He challenged friends to dump ice on their heads, and Pete’s network sparked into action. His friends took the challenge and in weeks it was everywhere on social media. From June to August 2014, more than 3 million donors gave more than $100 million dollars to the ALS Association.Your superheroes – no cape required.Campaigns like the Ice Bucket challenge are the exception for sure, but their lessons are transferable to every peer fundraising initiative. They’re effective because supporters, who often reside in the background of your fundraising, move front and center, and become the heroes of the story. We want to root for their success. And when combined with a few key elements, peer fundraising leverages your team’s limited resources, spreads your story, and attracts new supporters. What does it take? Sponsors with genuine passion for your cause, plus…· A little creativity· An authentic need· A personal appeal· Social sharing Make it easy for peer fundraisersEmpower your supporters to get going, now. 1. Suggest a theme and goal for your supporters. Use your #GivingTuesday campaign to frame a peer-to-peer campaign that is appealing and easy to launch for your supporters. If you’re still lacking a focus for year-end, here is a post that can help you plan a great campaign. Then break your campaign into a target for your peer fundraisers in $500-$1000 range. 2. Make it fun! Encourage your peer fundraisers to focus on opportunity, not obligation, in their outreach to friends and family. Give them tools to keep the excitement high with regular email updates tracking the progress of the campaign.3. Focus on impact. Be sure that fundraisers and their supporters understand how their dollars will impact those you serve, specifically.4. Keep it short: a month or less. Use the excitement of #GivingTuesday to keep momentum high and the time commitment low for your peer fundraisers. A timeframe of about a month is just about right. Encourage your fundraisers to launch on November 1st, build excitement toward Thanksgiving and end on #GivingTuesday.Make P2P work for you: three paths to success.1. For small or leanly staffed organizations: Start where you are.The simplest way to start a peer fundraising campaign is to focus on the tools you already have. You have your inspiring mission, more than a few enthusiastic supporters (think staff, board, volunteers, clients), and services that need support. Define a campaign, enlist peer fundraisers, educate them on the basics above, and let them run with it. Then, optimize your online giving page with proven software, like Network for Good’s smarter donation pages. With Network for Good’s donation pages, your site will be branded, mobile-ready, and easy for your donors to navigate. You’ll convert more donors and can encourage larger and repeat gifts.Then simply provide your fundraisers with sample emails, or let them create their own, and drive people to your main online giving page. Ask them to acknowledge the fundraiser they’re supporting in your dedication field. This is not the most sophisticated method, but a functional, quick-to-launch approach.And organizations using a branded Network for Good donation page for #GivingTuesday will automatically receive matching funds for donations made on #GivingTuesday!2. For organizations with more staff capacity: take advantage of a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.Nonprofits can set up a campaign by creating a fundraising page on a peer-to-peer giving platform. With a full-featured peer fundraising tool, you can create a page with your colors and logo and enable your peer fundraisers to set up sub-pages for their individual campaigns. They’ll be able to set an individual goal, see their progress, donor scrolls, and where they stand relative to other fundraisers.You can create challenges and competitions among team members that add an extra fun element to the campaign. And you’ll see the overall results of everyone’s fundraising with clean, comprehensive reports. You can then manage the messaging, the updates, and progress of the campaign. This approach is a great way to give your staff greater control of the whole initiative while also making it easy for your fundraisers to get their pages set up and launched. 3. For larger organizations or those planning to use peer fundraising as an ongoing strategy: have your own P2P site.Some organizations are naturally suited to peer and project-based fundraising. These include animal support, disaster relief, schools, health care, disease, and many others. Organizations like these can equip themselves to host multiple peer fundraising and crowdfunding campaigns all year round with Network for Good’s social fundraising platform.
This final quarter can shine as the time to generate the donations you need to move your organization’s mission forward, if you do it right. In fact, 40% of online donors make their gifts in December, and that 40% to 60% of those gifts are made the last two days of the month according to superstar fundraiser Gail Perry. Offline giving is up as well in December, says Perry. But…Just don’t wait until December to ramp up the start or strengthen your campaign, and don’t stop too early that month! Start the Nurturing NOW with these 3 Simple Steps1. Thank your current supporters—of all stripes—enthusiastically and frequentlyThat includes clients, board members, donors, volunteers, partners and others who help your organization move its mission forward. So many organizations lose out on prospective donations when they focus thanks on current and recent donors only. Others who dedicate their time, passion and/or partnerships to your organization are just as loyal, and likely donors. Thank them:Meaningfully with personality and passion, Memorably—Show, rather than tell, supporter impact with profiles of their fellow supporters (ideal for folks like board members or major donors) or client profiles and testimonials Often, across all channels. For example:o Fire up your program staff to thank program participants and the person who cultivates new donors to give them an extra personal (real signature or the occasional call—even if you can’t do it for everyone)o Get out there with your appreciation signage. If you have a physical plant where supporters work and/or visit, put those walls to work. Nothing brings on a smile—and a connection—than photo-driven success stories as surround sound! 2. The more personal and relevant the betterSegment your prospects by what youdo know about them is the most reliable way to do so.Ways to segment include:Donors: By average annual dollar value of gifts (e.g. High-dollar vs. middle vs. entry-level donors)Volunteers: By length of volunteer involvementPartners: By type of partnership (e.g. event sponsorship vs. advertising vs. collaborative program delivery)Board members: and prospects; or five-year or more volunteers, two- to five-year volunteers and new volunteers)Supporters who are already in two “supporter silos” but not yet donors—for example, a volunteer who is also the parent of a program participant. Their dedication is proven and current – these folks deserve special attention.If the number of personal notes required is unreasonable, consider sending hand-signed custom holiday greeting cards to members of your Tier 1 network: Board members, loyal volunteers who are top prospective donors, donors (or at least some donors—returning, new, young or any other group that deserves special recognition). That personal signature makes all the difference.We all want to know that our effort (be it money, time or attention) is valued. Don’t miss this natural opportunity to appreciate your supporters. And encourage colleagues, who many have slightly different networks, to do the same.3. Reach out right now to rejuvenate relationships that have gone dark this yearIn selecting and segmenting your lists, you’re likely to find a group of former supporters (don’t limit it to donors) who have gone quiet in the last year or six months.Now’s the time to nudge them out of hibernation, by thanking them for their prior support and sharing stories that showcase how your organization has moved your cause forward in the last year. Focus on established programs they’re likely to be familiar with rather than new funding or volunteer needs.Select the channel that fits best with each sub-group’s habits and preferences, and—if you have the data—feature messages that have generated response in the past. I recommend a multi-part campaign (preferably multichannel, try a mix of email and direct mail, with a call thrown in if possible for high-value supporters).Most importantly—Don’t forget the strategic ask in this outreach. The strategy comes in the way you say it. After all, if you didn’t hear from a friend in a year would you call him up and ask for an invitation to his famed Oscars party? Doubt it.Apply that same logic to your rejuvenation asks—love ‘em up first, then do the asking.Get your nurturing going on all burners today! It’ll pay off this year and beyond.How do YOU nurture your donors? Please share what works for you—and what doesn’t—in the comments below!
Got 2 minutes? Please tell us what you’re doing to strengthen donor relationships, and/or what’s in your way. Thanks!Honoring your donors—and prospects—is, hands-down, the most effective approach to building strong and lasting relationships with the folks whose help you need so very much.It’s no surprise that donor retention is an absolute priority (again) for 2015. Yet the specific how-tos of donor retention success remain elusive for many organizations. This should help…Here’s my recommended path to donor retention recommendation in 2015: Simply R-E-S-P-E-C-T your way to strong and long-lasting donor relationships. Respect donors’ wants, even when they aren’t what you want; for example, they don’t want to hear from your organization.Enlist your colleagues—fundraising and beyond—to segment donors as precisely as your time, expertise, budget, and tools allow to give every donor the most personalized outreach possible each and every time.Start up a donor advisory board of folks willing to share five to 10 minutes per month to help you boost your donors’ satisfaction level. You’ll get golden insights, and they’ll feel even more connected!Put together an all-organization donor listening team. Ask for help from your colleagues, and demonstrate the WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) with specific, tangible examples. Then train, support, and thank them.Execute a simple system to log, share, and analyze donor info and insights. Ensure that it’s accessible throughout your organization; otherwise, there’s not much value in it.Correct your course at a moment’s notice! Your agility in adjusting your fundraising approach to fit what’s vital right now to your donors and their recent interactions with your organization is a must.Take stock of what isn’t working with your donor retention program—both stats and anecdotes/feedback—and ask the donor advisory board how to do better!Follow these seven steps, and I guarantee you’ll jump-start your donor retention program. But don’t stop here. Dig even deeper via guidance from the most brilliant donor retention gurus I know, Roger Craver and Tom Ahern.What tops your donor retention to-do-list? And what’s getting in your way of making it happen? Please share your goals and challenges here. (It will only take two minutes!)Read Donor Love: Part TwoWith refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.
All organizations generate a lot of data. The challenge is knowing what to do with it—and what it can do for you. From gathering to reporting, this quick primer will help you get started transforming raw data into insights that will help your nonprofit be more strategic.Nonprofit data fits into four general categories:Financial and internal operations data: Think basic metrics like cash on hand, expenses, volunteer hours, and staff training. These are crucial for budgeting and making program decisions.Marketing, communications, and fundraising data: Also called “outreach” data—how many people signed up for your newsletter, or the number of new donors from your latest campaign.Program data: Arguably the most crucial for articulating the effectiveness of your mission, this includes things like the number of clients your organization served and the outcomes of that service.External data: Just like it sounds, external data comes from sources other than your organization, like the Census Bureau or private research firms.Lots of options, right? And you probably have limited resources. Here’s how to narrow down which data you collect so you can get the most bang for your buck.Focus on data that helps you answer important questions.Before you begin gathering numbers, decide what you want to know. Be specific. Instead of a broad-ranging question—“Is Facebook really working for us?”—ask one that requires specific answers: “What tangible results are we getting from Facebook?” The data could be engagements per post type, new likes over time, or donations resulting from specific types of status updates. Your analysis might show, for instance, that you aren’t getting much from Facebook, but you might also learn that your organization isn’t putting much into it.Beware of “it would be interesting to know…”If you don’t have a plan to use a certain type of data, it might not be worth going down lots of little rabbit holes. It’s easy to get carried away with gathering lots of data out of free-ranging curiosity. Focus on answering those specific, measurable questions we just talked about.Now that you’ve clarified your questions, it’s time to collect the data to answer them. These tips will get you started.Get buy-in from your team.You’ll probably depend on other people to help collect data. The key is helping them understand how it will benefit them—and that it won’t just be extra work. Here’s a great example of how data analysis helps your team target its efforts where they’re effective and skip where they aren’t.How many people is your team meeting at outreach events?Of those, how many are signing up for your newsletter?Of that second group, how many are further engaging in some form, like volunteering or donating?The events generating the most people in Question 3 are the ones your team should focus on. They can skip events with the lowest numbers.Appoint a data czar.Find the person who likes to run numbers and is good at Excel. The data might live in lots of places and be viewed by lots of people, but that one person collects it and helps explain it to the rest of the team.Start small, but with big impact.If your nonprofit is shifting to being more data informed, address resistance by looking at specific key questions your group is facing and finding data to answer them.Let’s say you want to increase fundraising from individual donors but don’t know who is the most effective target. Break down one year of donor records by how they originally made contact with your organization: Maybe some participated in programs (we’ll call them “alumni”), others signed up for your e-newsletter, and others are on your board. Your data shows that alumni are giving much higher average gifts—almost double—but fewer are actually giving. You make a small shift in communications and ask alumni to give using language that reflects their relationship with you. This results in more alumni making donations because now they feel engaged and part of the community.A really simple piece of data analysis can have a big impact.Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.In some ways, you’ll never know the full impact of your programs, but you can know how you’re doing along the way. Six months after a training, for example, call people and ask what they learned and if they made any changes because of it. You might not be able to call everyone, but you (or an intern) could call 20% or 60% of them. You can look at just a few pieces of data that will move you toward a better understanding of your impact.Record your method for Future You.When you go back to collect and report on the same type of data months or even years later, odds are you won’t remember how you did it. Write down your method in simple language so you—or someone else—can replicate it later and generate data that you feel confident comparing over time. Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “Data Management Strategies to Maximize Your Success” with Heather Yandow from Third Space Studio. Download the complete webinar here.
Creating a Real Connection Meet True Impact Ministries One of the keys to their sponsorship program’s success is in TIM’s ability to create a lasting connection between their donors and volunteers and the children they’re supporting. From individual pictures and descriptions for every child on their sponsorship page, to their use of fun and approachable videos on social media, they work to create a true connection that makes a sponsorship more than just a donation. Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! As part of our Recurring Giving Challenge we’re highlighting members of our leaderboard who are producing compelling, creative campaigns to recruit recurring donors and build a sustainable fundraising model for their organization. Today I want you to meet True Impact Ministries, a customer using recurring giving to sponsor children and the current holder of 4th place on our leaderboard. True Impact Ministries believes they have the ability to help ordinary people make an extraordinary impact on the lives of people in impoverished areas of the world. Since their humble beginnings in 2004, through the establishment as an independent nonprofit 3 years ago, they’ve proven this to be true. Their groups of volunteers have grown from just a handful to 35 volunteers planning their visit to Uganda this June! And as their mission grows, so too has their circle of supporters. Like so many nonprofit organizations, True Impact Ministries has changed and molded its mission to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Ten years ago, when True Impact’s founders Andy and Susie Stewart first began their work, they brought a small team of volunteers to Uganda to help build a modest school house. It was the beginning of an ever-expanding mission that now includes orphan homes, water structures, and medical care. In 2006 True Impact Ministries completed their second building project, an orphan home and rainwater collection system in Naama, Uganda. With this project they’d solved a problem by providing shelter, and created another by taking on the care of children in need. Building projects alone would not provide the schooling, medical care, food, and clothing these children needed to thrive. It was a problem they embraced by creating their first sponsorship program, a funding strategy that has helped them provide continual support for the children they serve. Sponsorship Model For more great videos and pictures head on over to Facebook to like True Impact Ministries and support the work they do!
When a potential donor lands on your donation page, you want to make it extremely easy for them to give. But if your donation page has a complicated form, too many ways to leave, or doesn’t keep the donor in the emotional act of giving, you could be missing out on donations! Here’s what should always go on your donation page—and what you should leave off. We know you aren’t a Web page optimization wizard, and you shouldn’t have to be. However, there are a few things that you, as a nonprofit marketer or fundraiser, can do to make your donation page super donor-friendly. Top Tips for Creating the Best Donation Page Ever from Network for Good If you’re in a donation page mood (I mean, who isn’t?), check out even more resources on how to get your donation page in tip-top shape:
For more about setting goals and calculating expenses, download a copy of the eGuide How to Create a Fundraising Plan. You’ll also have access to free Excel templates to help you map out your plan. The same principles apply when you are planning your fundraising for a new fiscal year. You need to know where you want to go, internal and external factors that may help or hinder the success of that plan, and the steps to take to reach the finish line. The new eGuide I co-authored with Network for Good, How to Create a Fundraising Plan, is a step-by step overview of how to create a plan that’s realistic. It will also help you build a sustainable fundraising model from which you can grow in future years. The key to crafting a plan is the prep work you do before you begin to map out your course. I call it the “Getting Ready” stage.The first and most important step is determining how much you will need to raise this year. When your organization begins its budgeting process for the next fiscal year, your senior staff (executive director, board, development director, senior leaders) can discuss anticipated overall expenses (be sure to include both programmatic and administrative costs!) and how much funding is needed to support your operations. This is essential. You want everyone on the same page when it comes to expenses so that you avoid unrealistic fundraising expectations and goals.Equally important to these planning discussions is ensuring everyone understands the fundraising trends you’ve experienced in your current and previous fiscal years. These can be one-off events, bequests, or other anomalies that may not be sustainable or guaranteed future sources of funding. Sit down with appropriate staff members and discuss anticipated income. Understanding what’s expected through committed and potential sources will help you better calculate your fundraising goal.After you have determined your projected expenses and income, you can then calculate your “left to raise” goal for the year. This is the gap between what you have identified as income from various sources that you know you can count on and your overall organizational budget for the fiscal year. The “new money” you need to raise is the missing part of the equation.If you can, think about adding up to 10% over that goal to start growing a financial cushion for your organization. When you start to write the plan, you’ll develop a fuller pipeline of prospects and anticipated solicitations. If you don’t think you will have the donors and asks needed to reach your budget, now’s the time to discuss this with senior staff so there are no surprises later in the fiscal year. It might mean you adjust the fundraising goal by scaling back new initiatives or programming. It could also be a call to action to engage your board and other volunteers to fundraise in new ways.Once you have a good handle on your financial needs and potential, take a look at revenue and expenses from your current fiscal year and the past few years to spot patterns in your donors’ behavior as well as overall industry and economic trends. This helps you identify where you should make course corrections in the future. For example, are there noticeable trends in giving to your issue area? How has donor confidence been generally? How has donor confidence been toward your organization? How did your fundraising revenue break down, and what were your fundraising expenses for each donor type? What motivates your donors? Do they tend to give through events or to restricted programs? Learn and grow from what you know.Don’t worry about spending too much time finding the exact answers to the broader industry analysis questions. It’s most important to understand your donors’ giving patterns and the external factors that can affect your organization’s fundraising (for example, remember the stock market plummet of 2008 and the many years it took to restore donor confidence?). Once you’ve assessed all of your data, you’re ready to start building your plan. In my next blog post, we’ll review how to use this information to set your course for the next year. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” —Benjamin FranklinI’m what you’d call “a planner.” Before I take a trip—even if it’s a place I know—I research the latest restaurants, places of interest, stores, theater shows, and museum exhibits. I make reservations well in advance. I sketch out a general itinerary to make sure I maximize my time. I have emergency contact information and multiple contingency plans. It took one crazy cab ride late at night on what should have been a transit through (not throughout) Naples to teach me to have alternative backup plans. Having a full sense of my options, needs, and resources well in advance puts me at ease and makes my trips much more enjoyable.
Nonprofit Social Media StrategyWhy is there an emphasis on using social media for #GivingTuesday campaigns? Because social media is immediate and is built for engagement. On a day of giving like #GivingTuesday campaigns, social media will help you:Communicate updates quickly.Create a sense of urgency.Spread your campaign to people inside and outside of your traditional networks.This post is not meant to be the magic key to making your #GivingTuesday campaign go viral. Instead, use these four steps to help set yourself up for social media success on December 1.Step One: Draft your plan.Nail down these three things to get your basic plan in place:1. Focus on your story. The theme or major story that you are communicating through your #GivingTuesday appeal should be an integral element of your social media messaging.For example, Badass Brooklyn Animal Shelter posted social media updates on #GivingTuesday about a group of dogs they were rescued during the first week of December. They featured stories of these pups throughout the day and reiterated that donations saved these dogs’ lives. The images were branded with the #GivingTuesday logo, a call to action to donate, and a short URL that lead directly to Badass’ donation page.For more on multi-channel messaging, check out this blog post from Vanessa Chase.2. Stay consistent with messaging. Map out your social media posts from November to the end of #GivingTuesday. If you draft all your content all at once, it’s easier to see the natural progression of your posts while keeping your campaign’s theme consistent. Line this messaging up with your email campaign, phoneathon, or other mediums you are using to ensure your message is consistent and clear.3. Pace yourself. Don’t stay glued to Facebook the whole day. Pace yourself or give yourself a break. If you’re planning on doing all the social media yourself, please don’t! If you typically have an active social fan base and anticipate needing help, recruit a volunteer or colleague you trust to help you monitor social media or work “shifts” throughout the day.I highly recommend that you schedule the majority of your “donate now!” posts beforehand and create updates on campaign milestones as they are available. In addition to asking for gifts and updating supporters on your campaign’s progress, use social media to thank donors, interact with your ambassadors, and answer questions.Step Two: Recruit some social media ambassadors.To get the most out of your social media efforts, recruit social media ambassadors to help spread your message on #GivingTuesday. Start asking your most loyal social media fans to share and post original content on their pages as a way to drive donations on #GivingTuesday. Better yet, send them pre-made tweets and Facebook posts that they can simply copy paste and post!If you want to take it a step further, ask these ambassadors to launch their own peer fundraising campaign on behalf of your nonprofit.Step Three: Get a tool to automate content posting.You’re going to be quite busy on #GivingTuesday, and you shouldn’t be pausing every hour or so to update your nonprofit’s social media accounts. Luckily, there are many tools out there to help you automate this process so you don’t have to be glued to Twitter and Facebook. Here are a few to look into:BufferSprout SocialHootSuiteTweetDeckSocialOomphThese tools can help you update your Facebook and Twitter accounts with a steady stream of shareable content during the week leading up to and on #GivingTuesday.Step Four: Get some graphics going.Your social media followers respond to images: with images get two times the engagement and Facebook posts with images have an 87% interaction rate. Images are definitely the way to go!But, keep in mind, not all images get the same rate of attention. Be sure to post images that are relevant to your audience. And, “images” doesn’t necessarily mean “photos.” These images can be calls to action to donate, an infographic highlighting the impact of your work, or be part of your storytelling campaign. Free tools like Canva or PicMonkey are great for creating your own images. Just be sure to use consistent branding throughout your images so it’s obvious that these visuals are supporting the same message and the same campaign on #GivingTuesday.Here are a few social media images created by nonprofits for their #GivingTuesday campaigns:Have questions about leveraging social for #GivingTuesday? Reach out to me on Twitter and let me know how I can help.Need more help with #GivingTuesday in general? Download our essentials guide to plan a successful campaign from start to finish.
Pop quiz: Who should receive a thank you?a. A recurring donor who gives $15 a month.b. A major donor who gives a $10,000 gift.c. A first-time donor who gives a $50 gift.d. A regular donor who gives a gift to a special campaign like #GivingTuesday.e. A new donor acquired through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.f. All donors.If you answered “f,” you’re right! Every donor should be thanked for their gift. The type of thank you will vary, but no matter the size of the gift or where it came from, every donor should get a thank you.“Should I send multiple thank you messages to a recurring giver?” Have you ever heard of anyone getting mad for receiving too much gratitude? Not very often. Recurring donors are a special group of supporters who love your cause enough to give you a financial commitment on a consistent basis. You should thank these donors as often as you see fit. If that’s an email every quarter, go for it. But listen to donors’ preferences. If a donor provides helpful feedback that the frequency of communication they are receiving is too much (or too little), take it to heart and respect their input.“Is a thank you note enough for a major donor?” A thank you note is just the first step in your donor relations strategy. In addition to a thank you note, major donors should receive an appropriate level of recognition for their gift (or the option to remain anonymous), engagement with your organization, and updates on how their gift is used. Depending on who the donor is and what the funds will be used for, the thank you should come from your executive director or board director. We aren’t discussing the importance of a phone call as a thank you in this post, but this would be the perfect opportunity for the development director to pick up the phone and chat with a generous donor.“Can the receipt serve as the thank you for a first-time donor? I doubt I’ll see them again.” It’s an unfortunate but true reality: Most first-time donors won’t return to make a second gift. But with a sound donor relations strategy that starts off with a stellar message of thanks, you could turn this one-time donor into a loyal supporter who gives year after year!“Is it awkward to send another thank you to someone who gave to a specific campaign?” Most definitely not! In this case, your thank you message should focus on how the donor was part of the campaign’s success. If the campaign is ongoing, thank them soon after the gift was made, and then send a second note of thanks to update donors on the campaign’s success. Check out this great #GivingTuesday thank you from Collective Action for Safe Spaces. Did you notice how many times the word “you” was used in this thank you message? This is an excellent example of what a donor-centric, campaign-specific thank you message should look like.“Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the peer fundraiser to thank those who gave to their campaign?” Sure, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t too. These donors gave to you because a friend asked not necessarily because they are super educated about your nonprofit. How can you show your appreciation, encourage them to stay connected to your organization, and educate them on what your nonprofit does? The best way to keep these new donors engaged is to start off the relationship right with some gratitude.Want more tips on donor thank yous? Download our newest eGuide: The Complete Donor Thank You Guide
Need help finding time to pull your plan together? Check out our upcoming webinar, Seven Steps to a Written Fundraising Plan, on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:00pm EST. Register now to save your spot!Here’s your new mantra for fundraising success: It’s not the plan, it’s the planning. That’s the amazing takeaway from the Individual Donor Benchmark Report. Nonprofits that take time to reflect on the past and set goals for the next year bring in a lot more funds than those without a fundraising plan—even if they don’t look at it very often when it’s done.But time! Who has enough of that, much less for something like “planning”? We get it. Take a deep breath and check out these quick and simple suggestions for finding both time and headspace to pull your plan together. Begin with one hour.Open your calendar right now. Look at the next two weeks. Find one hour that you can schedule and protect to sit down with your fundraising guide and start thinking, prioritizing, and writing.If you can, step out of the office and go somewhere quiet, like a coffee shop or a park bench with a nice view. Bring your laptop, but leave the day-to-day routine behind so you can focus during this one hour. We bet you’ll make an impressive amount of progress. Once you see how well that first hour goes, you might decide to make it a regular part of your schedule. That’s great, but for now, just start with an hour. Use your team.You don’t have to go it alone. Enlist your team. It could be people on staff who are involved in various aspects of fundraising and communications. At an all-volunteer organization, your team might be a handful of people on the board and key volunteers who are really thoughtful and strategic about fundraising. Think about who can bring lots of practical, on-the-ground knowledge and experience into your planning process. Just start.Creating a fundraising plan can feel daunting or overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t done it before, but the best advice is to just start. Grab a copy of The Super Simple Fundraising Plan Template and start answering the questions. And remember: No matter when you start, simply making a plan will have a big impact on your fundraising success.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 11, 2012March 14, 2018Click 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)Mother’s Day 2012 provides a good occasion to celebrate accomplishments in the field over the past year. The Maternal Health Task Force shares ten exciting developments.The State of the World’s Midwives report provided the first comprehensive analysis of midwifery services in countries where the needs are greatest.The MHTF & PLoS launched an open-access collection on quality of maternal health care.UNICEF & UNFPA launched the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, to increase access to maternal, child, and newborn health commodities.Joyce Banda, an advocate for women’s health & rights, became Malawi’s first female president.The White Ribbon Alliance, along with many partners, developed the Respectful Maternity Care Charter: The Universal Rights of Childbearing Women.Direct Relief International, Fistula Foundation, & UNFPA partnered to develop the first-ever Global Fistula Map, outlining the global landscape of the issue.The first-ever estimates of preterm birth rates by country were published in a new report, Born Too Soon: A Global Action Report on Preterm Birth.Save the Children’s 13th State of the World’s Mothers report focused on nutrition during the period from pregnancy through the child’s 2nd birthday, the first 1,000 daysThe World Health Organization added Misoprostol to the List of Essential Medicines, a critical step toward preventing post-partum hemorrhage.Melinda Gates announced plans to help raise $4 billion to dramatically increase access to family planning around the world by 2020.Please add to the list in the comments!Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 23, 2012June 21, 2017Click 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)On Wednesday, May 16th, the Maternal Health Task Force at the Women and Health Initiative hosted Deborah Maine for a seminar on cervical cancer at Harvard School of Public Health. The seminar was titled, “HPV Vaccine: Does it make sense?”Deborah Maine, an epidemiologist with a background in anthropology and over 30 years of experience working on reproductive health programs in developing countries, developed the three delays framework for understanding maternal mortality—a framework that continues to guide the work of maternal health program implementers and researchers alike.In recent years, Maine has been working extensively on the issue of cervical cancer. Her May 16th presentation focused on the controversy around priority setting for cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment in developing countries.Maine explains the controversy:“Even a successful vaccine program won’t help women already sexually active. Focusing only on the vaccine means writing off 2 generations of women who have already been sexually active and have already been exposed but will not benefit from this. And I wonder: Would anybody even propose a child health intervention that would take effect in 20 years? I don’t think so. I think this is something that happens preferentially with women. And I think it is a human rights issue. I really do.”A few of Maine’s recommendations:Retire the pap smear. “It is like a horse and buggy. It was great when that was all we had.”Visual inspection and DNA tests are both more sensitive, cost less, and have lower loss to follow up.Increase coverage of screening in both developed and developing countries.Focus on neglected groups.Focus on women over 30.Avoid over screening.Dr. Maine wrapped up her presentation by reminding the crowded room of public health students, researchers, and implementers of a very important point: “I would just like to remind everyone that 5 million women who have already been infected with HPV will die before the vaccine can have effect. Improving screening programs is the first priority in both developed and developing countries.”The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.Watch the video of the presentation here.Click here to read a recent paper by Maine and colleagues, Cervical Cancer Prevention in the 21st Century: Cost Is Not the Only Issue.Learn more about Deborah Maine here.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 25, 2012June 21, 2017Click 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)A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, May 24th, found that the effectiveness of long-acting reversible contraception is superior to that of contraceptive pills, patch, or ring. This is important news for the global health community–especially in light of Melinda Gates’ recent announcement of her decision to make family planning her signature issue and primary public health priority.From the Time Magazine article about the study:The study involved 7,486 women participating in the Contraceptive Choice Project, run by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The women, aged 14 to 45, were given their choice of contraception for free and then tracked for up to three years for unintended pregnancy. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that longer-lasting contraceptives were up to 20 times more effective — that is, women using IUDs, implants or hormone injections were up to 20 times less likely to get pregnant — after three years than the shorter-acting methods of birth control.Read the study here.A number of news organizations have written about the study:Time Magazine, Which Birth Control Works Best? (Hint: It’s Not the Pill).The Wall Street Journal, Long-Lasting Birth Control Cuts Pregnancy RateABC News, Birth Control: New Research Gives Boost to IUD EffectivenessShare this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 11, 2012June 21, 2017Click 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)In the comment section of the latest issue of the Lancet, several articles discuss current progress toward improving the health of women and children.The authors of Building a future for women and children offer interesting insight into the fourth report of Countdown (to be launched on June 13th, 2012):The 2012 report shows that substantial progress has been made since 1990. As of 2010, the number of maternal deaths has declined by almost half and the number of child deaths has declined by over a third. But this reduction is not enough, relative to what can be achieved. Progress in most Countdown countries still falls short of the rate of decline required to reach MDG 4 and MDG 5, unless progress is greatly accelerated in the next 3 years.Countdown focuses on tracking coverage of life-saving interventions. Here as well, progress has been mixed. A few countries, such as Bangladesh, have made consistent gains in coverage for several interventions across the continuum of care, and are on track to achieve both MDG 4 and MDG 5. In most countries, however, progress is patchy. High coverage levels for vaccines (over 80% on average across all Countdown countries) and rapid progress in distribution of insecticide-treated bednets show what is possible with substantial political commitment and financial resources. Progress is much slower for skilled attendance at birth and case-management interventions that require a strong health system…Read the full article here.The authors of Keeping promises for women and children discuss commitments made by a range of stakeholders, including donors, countries, multilateral agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), health-care professional associations, and academic and training institutions to improve the health of women and children:The report showed that major contributions have been leveraged from the 49 low-income, high-burden countries. 44 countries have made commitments with almost half making explicit pledges to increase government health spending, with an estimated value of US$10 billion specifically to benefit women’s and children’s health. NGOs have also made pledges that account for about 12% of the total financial commitments. In May, 2011, the financial commitments were worth more than US$43 billion. With additional commitments made in Sept, 2011, the total is now more than US$50 billion.4 This is a remarkable achievement. Furthermore, this figure includes only commitments expressed in financial terms, and therefore underestimates the total value. Defining how much is new and additional funding was beyond the remit of this report and will require a robust and clearly communicated analysis agreed by stakeholders.In addition to the financial pledges, there were policy and service commitments that were not quantified financially, but which are important in terms of financial investment and for health outcomes. Four-fifths of stakeholders made policy commitments, including removing user fees and promoting gender empowerment, whilst a similar number made commitments to strengthen service delivery, including support to increase the number of skilled birth attendants and midwives…Read the full article here.More from the Lancet comment section on the health of newborns and children:Towards ending preventable child deathsTackling pneumonia and diarrhoea: the deadliest diseases for the world’s poorest childrenGlobal child survival: beyond numbersPreterm birth: new data on a global health priorityShare this:
Posted on June 12, 2012June 16, 2017By: Elaine Roman, Malaria Team Leader, MCHIPClick 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 part of a blog series on Malaria in Pregnancy. To view the entire series, click here. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, malaria in pregnancy (MIP) programs are at a crossroads. While many countries have made important strides in achieving their broader goals, most countries are still far from achieving the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Initiative or the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) (80% to 85%respectively) for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), and insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) coverage among pregnant women. Case management, the third prong of malaria in pregnancy programs is often forgotten in the implementation of country MIP programs. As countries continue scale-up of MIP interventions, there are successful practices and lessons learned that should be reviewed and applied to help countries accelerate MIP programming and achieve country scale up.Recognizing that there are critical lessons to bring to light, USAID’s flagship Maternal Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), with funding from the President’s Malaria Initiative, conducted country case studies from 2009-2011 to gain a more detailed understanding of MIP programming in three countries: Malawi, Senegal and Zambia. The case studies were compiled using a desk review of secondary data sources, followed by stakeholder interviews designed to gain insights into successes, remaining challenges and a way forward.The case studies reviewed eight key areas of MIP programming- policy, integration, commodities, capacity development, quality improvement, community engagement, monitoring and evaluation and finance. The case studies revealed key insights to MIP programming including what’s working and what remains to be addressed. For each of the eight program areas, in summary, the case studies revealed:1. Policy- While each of the three countries has malaria policies in place that reflect the World Health Organization guidance, there exists inconsistencies between malaria and reproductive health policies in Malawi, which has resulted in duplicative training efforts.2. Integration- Services are integrated at antenatal care (ANC) in each of the three countries, however, national level planning and coordination between reproductive health and malaria programs is not always regular, which impacts program implementation.3. Commodities- While each country reported availability of both medicines for pregnant women and bed-nets, there were stock-outs of these commodities at antenatal care clinics- across countries.4. Capacity Development- All three countries updated both in-service and pre-service education materials with MIP. This positions each country to focus training on evidence-based updates and maintenance of critical MIP competencies.5. Quality Improvement- In each of the 3 countries routine supervision and performance standards are in place. However, due to lack of funding and competing responsibilities among Ministry of Health staff who are tasked with conducting supervision and assessment, comprehensive QA systems are not currently functioning in any of the 3 countries.6. Community Engagement- All 3 countries are actively supporting community involvement to enhance and engender community education and mobilization. Examples include promoting ANC attendance, IPTp uptake and ITN use. However, this support is not consistent and more strategies are required to adequately not only involve communities but also foster the link between communities and facilities.7. Monitoring and Evaluation- While some level of MIP program data is recorded at the health facility, the data is not always integrated as part of the national health information system.8. Finance- While MIP does receive some level of government funding in all 3 countries- there is still heavy reliance on donors- especially PMI and the Global Fund.The case studies highlighted key cross-cutting recommendations including:Promote integration and coordination of reproductive health, HIV and malaria control programs through MIP working groups;Advocate through MIP working groups and other fora to ensure consistent stocks of SP and ITNs at ANC clinics;Increase support for community initiatives to overcome barriers to care-seeking;Dedicate increased resources to strengthening existing M&E systems and integrate data management and data use for decision-making into pre-service education and in-service training programs;Promote capacity-building strategies, including strengthened pre-service education, on-the-job-training, mentorship and supervision, in addition to group-based in-service training; andStrengthen quality assurance systems.Moving forward, MIP implementation will require strong and consistent leadership from ministries of health in order to coordinate donors and implementing partners and target resources towards key interventions. For other malaria-endemic countries, many of the key findings likely apply and can inform programming. Although many obstacles still remain in eradicating malaria and malaria in pregnancy, lessons learned from both our successes and our challenges thus far demonstrate that they are not insurmountable and that the PMI and RBM goals for MIP are still within reach.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on September 11, 2012August 15, 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)A message from our friends at Women Deliver and Catapult, a new crowdfunding platform that supports projects advancing the lives of girls and women around the world:As the Catalyzing Partners, Women Deliver and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have invested in the development and implementation of this platform in order to drive investments from people to projects that advance the lives of girls and women globally.For an introduction to Catapult, please watch our 2-minute video at http://www.catapult.org.The Platform operates through donors browsing different projects by location, topic or need and donating individually or creating donor teams to fund those projects that interest and inspire them. Once a project is fully funded, donors can access detailed information on how their funding has been used to change lives. At the same time, through Catapult’s “Curator” feature, champions for girls and women can promote projects in their specific areas of focus thus fueling a funding powerhouse for girls and women. Catapult never takes a fee from partners – it’s free!As you probably know, online crowdfunding is transforming how people give. As of 2011, charitable giving through crowdfunding platforms exceeded 676M and grew at an average rate of 43%. Women Deliver’s goal for Catapult is to establish and maintain sustained, long term funding infrastructure capable of scaling many thousands of projects and delivering millions of dollars in funds to benefit girls and women over the next decade.By listening to women’s funds and organizations, and providing a platform for their projects, Catapult will strengthen the efforts of individuals and organizations working for gender equality. The platform provides an open, direct channel between projects in need of funds and a new generation of citizen donors, leveraging existing networks to fund, sustain and bring work to a global audience.If you are interested in learning more about Catapult, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Catapult is also looking to engage girls and young women as advocates of crowdfunding for girls and women, and would welcome your nominations of girls and young women whom they believe would be great at communicating this message.For more information on the Catupult project, click here!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 11, 2012August 15, 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 Maternal Health Task Force is delighted to announce that the application process for the second cohort of Young Champions of Maternal Health is now open! Applications are currently being accepted from candidates from Ethiopia, India, and Nigeria.To reduce maternal mortality and morbidity over the long-term, emerging public health leaders need to be equipped with the skills, commitment, and vision to respond fully to multiple causes and consequences of maternal mortality and morbidity.The Maternal Health Young Champions Program, a partnership between The Institute of International Education and the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard School of Public Health, offers a unique fellowship to 10 young people who are passionate about improving maternal health in their home country.These Young Champions of Maternal Health will be students or young graduates in public health or a related field who are committed to improving maternal mortality and morbidity through either research or innovative field work in their home country. They will be matched with in-country mentors from selected organizations for a nine-month research or field project internship focusing on a particular area of maternal health.The fellowship includes leadership training and participation in the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania.Click here for eligibility criteria and to access the application.Applications are due November 10, 2012.For more information about the Young Champions of Maternal Health program, including blog posts from the first cohort, click here.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 7, 2012August 15, 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)A new study, The consequences of unintended births for maternal and child health in India, published in Population Studies: A Journal of Demography, uses data from the Indian National Family Health Survey to look into the relationship between pregnancy intention and maternal and child health outcomes in India.From the abstract:Data from the Indian National Family Health Survey, 2005–06 were used to explore how pregnancy intention at the time of conception influences a variety of maternal and child health and health care outcomes. Results indicate that mistimed children are more likely than wanted children to be delivered without a skilled attendant present (OR = 1.3), to not receive all recommended vaccinations (OR = 1.4), and to die during the neonatal and postneonatal periods (OR = 1.8 and 2.6, respectively). Unwanted children are more likely than wanted children to not receive all recommended vaccinations (OR = 2.2), to be stunted (OR = 1.3), and to die during the neonatal, postneonatal, and early childhood periods (OR = 2.2, 3.6, and 5.9, respectively). Given the high levels of unintended fertility in India (21 per cent of all births), these are striking findings that underscore the importance of investments in family planning.Access the article here.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 6, 2012November 13, 2014Click 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)In a new post on the Guardian’s Global Development Professionals network, Global health is growing in prominence – now what?, Alanna Shaikh, a leading health and international development blogger, writes about the growing field of global health. Throughout the post, she explores important questions about the new challenges and opportunities that accompany the growth.From the post:Global health is changing – both in policy and practice. Thanks to new funding sources and some scary new health problems, it has got far more attention in the past decade than in the years before. People are more aware of global health issues now and the field is also growing in size, expanding far beyond its roots in tropical medicine and vaccinations. Pneumonia is a global health problem now, as are mental health disorders, and miscarriage.Global health’s prominence, however, also creates challenges. How do you keep up? Distribute your resources? If everything is a global health problem, does that devalue the whole concept? How do we know what really matters when so many things are global?Here’s one way to look at it: global health is more like a lense than a field. It’s a way of looking at health holistically, for the entire planet. It focuses on linkages – between individuals, communities and nations, and among health topics.Read the full post here.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 23, 2013June 12, 2017By: Sandeep Bathala, Senior Program Associate, Maternal Health Initiative, Wilson CenterClick 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 New Security Beat.On day three of the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference here in Arusha, Tanzania, I was joined by the Global Health Initiative’s partners to present the results of the Wilson Center’s four-year-old Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series. This series is unique in its convening power, helping to bring together experts and policymakers from around the world to collaborate on a shared goal: healthier mothers and children.From 2009 to 2012, the Global Health Initiative co-convened 22 public meetings and three private workshops with the Maternal Health Task Force and United Nations Population Fund to identify challenges and discuss strategies for moving the maternal health agenda forward. In 2011, we collaborated with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) to host two simulcasted videoconferences in Nairobi, Kenya, and Washington, D.C., which allowed maternal health experts and officials from both countries – including several Kenyan Parliament members affiliated with the Health Committee and Network for Population and Development – to share experiences and best practices. In partnership with the Population Foundation of India, we are planning a similar dialogue with local, regional, and national decision-makers on effective maternal health policies and programs in New Delhi, India, this year, as well as more D.C.-based meetings.By convening both in Washington, D.C., and globally, the goal of the series is to create a platform for fieldworkers, policymakers, program managers, media, and donors to share research, disseminate lessons learned, and address concerns related to policy, institutional, and organizational capacity building. These are many of the same themes being discussed at the Global Maternal Health Conference here in Tanzania.Ruthpearl Wanjiru Ngángá, APHRC’s communications manager, highlighted some of the results that emerged from the videoconferences.Broadly, she said they found that connecting maternal death to economic loss is a powerful and effective strategy, and it’s important to increase accountability by addressing the gap between what policymakers say and what they actually do to improve maternal health.All the policymakers attending pledged to do something based on what they learned at the meetings, ranging from building maternal health shelters and lobbying to working to unify the Ministry of Health in Kenya, which is currently split between ministers of public health and medical services (duplicated funds would be used to strengthen the Division of Reproductive Health).Participants also established dialogue between the ministries of health and finance to jointly identify priority areas and to ensure that 15 percent of the Kenyan national budget goes to health efforts, as per the Abuja Declaration.Perhaps the most striking pledge was made by a member of Parliament who did not attend the videoconferences but was motivated after hearing about them: He pledged to coordinate a day once a month where pregnant women in remote areas could consult with Nairobi-based doctors through e-medicine.And the commitments, it turns out, were not empty. Since the meetings concluded Ruthpearl said they have seen additional outcomes including a parliamentary retreat on maternal, newborn, and child care; increased press coverage, especially highlighting maternal and child health statistics and reporting on fatalities; and elevated interest in maternal health issues in general, including becoming a priority for the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.“Where I come from, husbands are delivering their wives,” Hon. Sophia Abdi Noor who represents the Somali region of northern Kenya, said later in a follow-up meeting.And Hon. Farah Maalim, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, said at the parliamentary retreat that “we are running out of time towards the MDG deadline. There is need to reactivate the agenda on women and children’s health at the national level…the new constitution of Kenya declares health as a basic right for all Kenyans. Parliament has a pivotal role to play in ensuring the realization of this right.”Moving forward, Ruthpearl said APHRC intends to focus on advancing public-private health sector partnerships in urban slums and to start a pilot study on improving maternal, newborn, and child care services for slum residents. She also said they are working to improve engagement with Kenya’s National Division of Reproductive Health on research and technical working groups and to improve the visibility of research in policy and program formulation in general.Alongside Ruthpearl and I, Crystal Lander and Dr. Steve Solter of Management Sciences for Health also spoke on the panel, about their work with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.Dr. Luc de Bernis, senior maternal health adviser at UNFPA and one of the collaborating partners in this series, concluded the session by expressing his hope that these dialogues were contributing to a swelling global advocacy movement for improved maternal health outcomes. The audience in Arusha couldn’t have agreed more.Learn more about the conference and access the conference presentations at www.gmhc2013.com. Join the conference conversation on Twitter: #GMHC2013Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 22, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick 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)Today, March 22 is World Water Day, an annual UN event that seeks to draw attention to the persistent challenges related to securing clean water for people around the world. As the guest blog series coordinated by WASH Advocates earlier this month makes clear, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues are integral to the health, rights and general well-being of women and girls around the world, including maternal health. WASH issues connect to maternal health in ways that are both direct and immediate and indirect and far-ranging: clean water and sanitation are fundamental for the safety of mothers and infants during and just after childbirth, but these issues are just as important for ensuring that girls can go to school, women can work, and families everywhere can ensure the health and safety of their children.Given the intricate links between WASH and other issues – including maternal health – it is fitting that this year’s World Water Day theme is “cooperation.” After all, recognizing these connections only serves to underscore the importance of working together across what might otherwise appear to be wholly separate issues. As an article published today in The Huffington Post points out, issues related to water are often so much more: they are also women’s issues, child health issues, sanitation issues and education issues, to name just a few.For more on these connections, visit WASH Advocates’ interactive poster on WASH and maternal, newborn and child health. For more on World Water Day, visit The Huffington Post water page, WaterAids’s “Women and WaterAid” or UN Water.Share this:
Posted on June 3, 2013November 27, 2017By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health Initiative; Samantha Lattof, Project Manager, 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)This post is the first in a blog series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. To view the entire series, click here.Women and girls are increasingly and disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and now comprise over half of those living with HIV. According to recent estimates from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, not only is the proportion of pregnancy-related and maternal deaths attributable to HIV higher than expected, but pregnant women with HIV are eight times more likely to die than women without HIV. The feminized HIV and AIDS epidemic is one factor limiting progress in the reduction of maternal mortality. As the global community discusses bold visions for new targets to reduce maternal mortality, researchers from both the HIV and maternal health communities must come together to share knowledge and build a path to improved women-centered programming.Over the next several weeks, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) will share a series of guest blog posts from our colleagues who are working in maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. The posts will cover topics such as:An exploration of a particularly groundbreaking approach used in a specific country to integrate and improve maternal health and HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, or careExperiences managing HIV-related comorbidities and obstetric complicationsAnalyses of a persistent barrier to integrating and/or improving quality of maternal health care and HIV/AIDS care for womenCountry responses to the World Health Organization’s new guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV and antiretroviral therapy as well as country experiences in implementing these guidelinesExperiences addressing the demand side—or how to facilitate interest on the part of women and their families to demand higher quality maternal health and HIV servicesImplications for policymakers on the measurement of direct and indirect causes of maternal deaths related to HIVIn addition to the blog series, the MHTF will convene the technical meeting Maternal health, HIV, and AIDS: Examining research through a programmatic lens starting on 10 June 2013, in collaboration with USAID and CDC. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss emerging research linking maternal health and HIV, identify research gaps, and consider programmatic implications. While there is a need for significant investment in this issue around the globe, the focus of this particular meeting is Africa.Finally, our Maternal Health, HIV, and AIDS topics page highlights resources, recent publications, videos, and blog posts, along with the organizations working on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. The page is a work-in-progress. Please check back frequently for new content. The MHTF is always looking for new resources, research, and news. We welcome any feedback or resources you have to share on our topics page.Stay tuned to the MHTF for upcoming blog posts about maternal health, HIV, and AIDS as well as daily summaries and a final report from the meeting. If you are interested in sharing your maternal health, HIV, and AIDS research and expertise on the MHTF Blog, please contact Kate Mitchell (email@example.com) or Samantha Lattof (firstname.lastname@example.org).To view the blog series, click here. For additional information about maternal health, HIV, and AIDS, visit our topic page. To follow the meeting on Twitter starting 10 June 2013, use #MHHIV.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on September 13, 2013August 15, 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)On September 18, our colleagues at IDEAS will hold the latest in their series of web seminars on critical issues in maternal health. This month’s seminar will explore issues related to improving health service delivery to meet the needs of child brides. The seminar will draw on the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) Women’s and Children’s Health Knowledge Summary #22: Reaching Child Brides, which gathers evidence on efforts to both end child marriage and address the particular health challenges that child brides face.The seminar will be held at 9:30 AM GMT on September 18. To take part, you will need a headset with a microphone, a computer, internet connection and the latest Java update installed. Please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org you would like to attend.To learn more about the web seminar series, visit IDEAS to see the calendar of upcoming seminars, as well as recordings of past events, or sign up to receive email updates on future seminars. For more in the PMNCH knowledge summary series, visit the RMNCH Knolwedge Portal.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 21, 2013November 17, 2016By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick 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 week, The Lancet launched a series on the remarkable progress and remaining challenges for improving health in Bangladesh, focusing on what The Lancet’s Bangladesh study team calls the Bangladesh paradox: remarkable progress on health-in spite of persistent economic hardship. In a commentary that highlights the country’s commitment to gender equity, economist Amartya Sen argues, “It is important to understand how a country that was extremely poor a few decades ago, and is still very poor, can make such remarkable accomplishments particularly in the field of health, but also in social transformation in general.”Along with the remarkable health gains in Bangladesh, the series also highlights critical challenges. As The Lancet’s Pamela Das and Richard Horton write: “This is a story not only of unusual success, but also one that describes the frailties and challenges that lie ahead as the country charts a course towards universal health coverage.” Among the major issues that articles in the series tackle are the persistent challenges for improving health in the country’s growing urban slums. In one article, authors Kaosar Afsana and Syed Shaba Wahid of BRAC point out that in urban slums:Many women die in slums during pregnancy and childbirth. Mortality of children younger than 5 years in slums is almost double that in rural areas. Two-thirds of these deaths could be avoided if timely, appropriate services were available. Unfortunately, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, and full childhood vaccine coverage are quite low in urban slums. Primary health-care clinics regularly held in slums are not open at convenient times for working women. Community mobilisation to improve health services hardly exists.For more on the series, tune in to The Lancet’s most recent podcast.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 14, 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)USAID, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the MCHIP and Evidence to Action Project (E2A) are now accepting abstracts for possible inclusion as individual presentations or preformed panels at the upcoming technical meeting: Throughout the Reproductive Life Course: Opportunities and Challenges for Empowering Girls and Women. The April meeting will highlight a range of issues related to healthy reproductive decision-making throughout the life course, in both U.S. and global contexts, and seeks to achieve the following goals:Disseminate knowledge and identify gaps about effective approaches for empowered decision-making throughout the reproductive life course; andExplore the use of these findings to strengthen programs, and stimulate new interventions and research opportunitiesFrom USAID, abstracts for presentations or panels will be considered through February 3 on the following:1. Using Family Planning to Prevent High-Risk Pregnancies This includes: adolescent pregnancies, rapid, repeat pregnancies, postpartum or post miscarriage/induced abortion, advanced maternal age pregnancies, high-parity pregnancies.2. Influencing Short Intervals and Fertility Intentions Successes or challenges of community-based programs and activities to influence interpregnancy length and/or intendedness of conceptions, including improved couple communication and joint/respectful decision-making.3. Youth This could include: addressing positive youth development, self-esteem, goal-setting, reaching first-time parents, HIV prevention, engaging boys, preventing child marriage, or responding to the needs of married adolescents.4. Family Planning Integration with Health Services Integrating FP with other health services (e.g., maternal health [antenatal, safe delivery, postpartum care], nutrition services, child health and immunization services, addressing postpartum depression, GBV, or reproductive coercion).5. Family Planning Links with Non-Health Activities FP linkages with non-health activities (e.g., life skills, literacy, microcredit, income generation, education promotion [keeping girls in school] and skills needed for productive employment).6. Empowerment or Motivational Components Integrated, or holistic FP-MNCH services that include empowerment or motivational components (through use of reproductive life planning and other innovations to overcome barriers to empowerment).Abstracts must be evidence-based (quantitative or qualitative), with substantive content and no more than 300 wordsIndividual and preformed panel abstracts will be accepted through February 3, 2014. Please submit all abstracts to Salwa Bitar at SBitar@e2aproject.org.Share this:
Posted on January 16, 2014November 7, 2016By: Himanshu Bhushan, Maternal Health Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of IndiaClick 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)As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, what does the future hold for international maternal mortality targets? The MHTF is pleased to be hosting a blog series on post-2015 maternal mortality goal setting. Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring responses and reactions to proposed targets from around the world. Please share your thoughts with us!Point 1:India has the largest annual birth cohort of 26 million babies. In 1990 our maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 600 deaths per 100,000 live births which declined to 200 in 2010India achieved 66% decline compared to 47% of global decline.We have wide variations in the states. Uttar Pradesh in 1997-98 had MMR of 606 while Kerala had 150. UP came down to 309, while Kerala came down to 81 in 2007-09.The point decline of UP was 297 while that of Kerala was 69. UP declined by 49% whereas Kerala only 46%.Now the point is: targets for UP and Kerala cannot be same.Point 2:The targets and goals for MDGs were set in the year 2000, but its active monitoring by international and national organizations and countries began only after an initial 5-7 years passed. The countries started monitoring the achievement in the past 5-7 years.While keeping next MDG goals and targets and in view of our experiences with different states/provinces it is suggested that:There should be different goals for countries depending upon their present level of achievement since further reduction after achieving a low/very low MMR will not be easy.Percentage reduction (differential) for different groups of MMR i.e. MMR between 500 to 400 . . ., 100 to 20. . . can be one of the options.Every country can then give a differential target or goal to the States and population within their country.For each such group of MMR, the broad strategies should also be decided as a suggestion for the states so that the states having less than 100 or 50 MMR have a clear vision what additional focus is neededWhile preparing strategies, socioeconomic factors should be taken in account along with clinical causes.Process indicators for every 5 years and its part for every year should be simultaneously decided so that the countries know and concurrently monitor where they stand if they have to achieve a certain level within the defined time period.Finally, we need to discuss what should be our ultimate commitment for maternal mortality, whether it should be limited to reduction or should be a commitment like achieving a zero level, at least for preventable deaths – as in the polio programme.The points raised above are at present not the view policy of the government of India but my thought process based on experiences in the implementation and seeing the ground realities from close.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on February 26, 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 Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) working group met in January 2014 to continue the ongoing discussion of maternal mortality targets, post-2015 and the end of the Millennium Development Goals. The group has issued a communiqué, providing additional details on the proposed targets and outlining next steps in the consultation process.The working group is planning a series of virtual and face-to-face regional consultations to spark discussion on the proposed targets and gather country-specific feedback.The proposed targets are discussed in depth in the communiqué. Additional information about the development of the targets is available on our Maternal Health, post-2015 topic page. Reactions to the proposed targets are collected in our on-going blog series.Tell us what you think about the proposed targets by joining the conversation on Twitter—using hashtag #Post2015—or contact us by email.Want to learn more and be a part of the discussion?Join the White Ribbon Alliance this Friday, February 28 for a webinar focused on setting targets to reduce maternal mortality in the post-2015 world.The first half of the webinar will focus on the process of setting global goals, while the second half will be focused on target setting for the national/country level.Betsy McCallon and Jennifer Winestock Luna will be leading the discussion and are interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions in regards to global targets, as well as those targets for your own country. The webinar will be documented and passed on to decision makers for further discussion on maternal mortality targets post-2015.The webinar will last from one hour starting at 9:30am EST on February 28, 2014. For more information contact Evelia Castillo.Register now to be a part of this discussion.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 3, 2014November 14, 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)Last week, Save the Children published a report entitled, “Ending Newborn Deaths.” The report highlights the need to concentrate on the reduction of newborn deaths as it lags behind the efforts of those tackling <5 deaths. The report calls on governments, world leaders, the private sector and philanthropists to commit to a five-point Newborn Promise to end these preventable deaths by increasing access and availability to skilled health workers, increasing funds for healthcare improvements, and decreasing user costs and fees for services, medicines and interventions.While the report lists numerous factors that must to be addressed to reduce preventable deaths, a recent editorial by The Lancet also points out the need to specifically target young mothers (who make up 10% of all births) and adolescents who are known to have some of the most risky pregnancies and deliveries.The Save the Children report says this about young mothers:In low- and middle-income countries overall almost 10% of girls become mothers by the age of 16. They are at greater risk of losing their babies than women who become mothers later – mothers under 20 are 50% more likely to have a stillbirth or to lose their baby within the first week after birth than mothers aged 20–29 years.By targeting adolescents, the Lancet argues, not only will there be a reduction in neonatal mortality, but by reducing child marriages, unwanted births, delaying their first child, and creating more options for education (including secondary, reproductive, and contraceptive education) these young women will be given the tools to start to take charge of their own health, work options and economic destinies. With the commitments of governments and local health agencies these women will not only better care for their own pregnancies and newborns, but also will have the education to know that they can advocate for their family’s health rights. Adolescent programming must include the input of the adolescents themselves, while ensuring that the programs give them the oversight, support, and education they need.Lasting interventions are needed for newborn death reduction and who better to target than the adolescents who will eventually become the mothers who want their children to survive.How do we make these adolescents a priority? Lend your voice to the discussion. Find us on Twitter or contacts us.Share this:
Posted on May 6, 2014June 12, 2017By: Donald Borenstein, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson CenterClick 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 was originally posted on the New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The post highlights an event focused on the connections between HIV status and stigma, respectful care, and maternal health, as part of the Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series. A video of the event is available here.Despite the fact that with proper interventions, the likelihood of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is less than five percent, expectant mothers with HIV or AIDS often face intense stigma and marginalization from health care providers around the world. As a result, in some areas, the mortality rate for mothers with HIV is seven to eight times greater than the rate for non-infected women, said Dr. Isabella Danel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.Leading researchers, clinicians, and advocates gathered at the Wilson Center on January 13 to discuss the need to re-evaluate maternal health priorities to create an enabling environment for women with HIV. “It’s not only elimination of new HIV infections in children, but it’s keeping the moms alive,” said Dr. Heather Watts, medical officer with the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.Systematic Failures and AbusesFor women living with HIV throughout the world, the threat of stigmatization upon disclosure of their diagnosis is dire. They are often perceived as promiscuous, blamed for other HIV diagnoses in the family, or threatened with outright hostility over the prospect of having children, said Janet Turan of the University of Alabama.Florence Anam of the International Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS said these women, “especially from Africa where I come from, are constantly in fear of losing the status quo of their life – family, friends, relatives, but most importantly the support they get from their male partners or husbands.” According to a study conducted by Turan in Kenya, pregnant women who anticipate male partner stigma are more than twice as likely to refuse HIV testing than those who don’t.This stigma often results in domestic abuse, and partner abuse of women living with HIV is a global epidemic. Naina Khanna of the Positive Women’s Network noted that a 2013 survey of women living with HIV in the United States found 72 percent of respondents were survivors of intimate partner violence or domestic abuse. As a result, they often opt not to disclose their diagnoses and fail to receive the necessary care and counseling.In the developing world, when women do disclose, they face another set of barriers. Clinics are often prohibitively far to reach by foot and women living with HIV can be asked to make the trip several times. “Going to the hospital to get tested at an [antenatal care] clinic and be told you’re HIV positive means you have to go back and bring your partner, and then you have to come back with him or bring someone to the clinic and they have to be told you’re HIV positive,” said Anam. “So many women come to the clinic when they’re pregnant, but do not come back again.”And health care providers are often misinformed about the nature and treatment of HIV. “Many times, providers are operating under false assumptions about the risk of transmission, which is added to already existing discrimination and stigma,” said Tamil Kendall of the Harvard School of Public Health.After carrying out community-based surveys on reproductive rights violations in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Kendall noticed a clear trend of withheld care and abuse. Some survey participants recounted harrowing ordeals, ranging from complete denial of treatment to coerced or forced sterilization, including the story of one survey participant who was surgically sterilized without her consent while under anesthesia from another procedure. Such systemic failures and abuses seem to be the rule rather than the exception, said Kendall. “Under half of the women [surveyed] considered that they had received comprehensive reproductive health services, and in fact 41 percent said that they have been discriminated against by health care workers specifically when seeking reproductive services.”Another study, of care in Tanzanian public health facilities, found 77 percent of all women interviewed, regardless of HIV status, reported some form of abuse by clinicians in the process of delivering a child, according to Dr. Mary Mwanyika-Sando. “If 50 percent of women reported feeling some form of abandonment during an actual time where they were so vulnerable they needed a health care provider to help them as they are about to deliver their child,” she said, “where are we going with all this?”What Gets Measured Gets Done Dr. Hannah Sebitloane of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa believes a more focused research agenda could help. “Why is an HIV [-positive] pregnant woman in the area where HAART is now accessed…still more likely to die just because she has HIV?” she asked. That can’t easily be answered right now, and better quantifying the negative effects of not seeking care could tangibly show how social and medical stigmas are harming mothers.To this end, Kendall and Danel shared the results of a new study on anti-retroviral therapy (ART). It is crucial to document and evaluate ways to improve access and retention of care, they said, and available evidence shows improving access to ART for women living with HIV can make a significant impact in lowering mortality rates. “The longer women are on ART,” Danel said, “the risk goes down further.” On one hand, these are promising results, but overall, pregnant women are less likely than other adults to get the treatment, Kendall noted, meaning there’s a clear gap in distribution that is likely systematic and due to stigma.Combating Stigma Not An Easy TaskOvercoming the stigma that dissuades mothers living with HIV from seeking care is ultimately the goal, said the panelists.Personal accounts from people actually experiencing these stigmas can help tremendously, said Anam. “People living with HIV need to be involved in documenting qualitative research…it actually brings out the voices in what people, especially women, indicate as their challenges, and why exactly they do not access, or do not have the adequate medication, or do not get to the hospital in time.”Public support groups can also be effective. These groups allow mothers living with HIV to understand the needs of their child and themselves in a way that the impersonal nature of primary medical care often does not, Anam said. “You’re told, don’t breastfeed and nobody tells you why; check your medicines at this time and no one tells you why. But then moving this to a support group then breaks it down. This is what your medicine does, this is why you need to take it…The woman begins to understand it, and then begins to own it.”Kendall suggested a concerted effort to engage men, to prevent violence against women living with HIV and to reduce stigma caused by misinformation. Reaching men often proves difficult, however, as many don’t participate in maternity care, regardless of HIV/AIDS, she said. “We know less about how to engage men who are not already choosing to come to ante-natal clinics with their female partners in HIV testing and in support.”Ultimately, any effort to combat stigma needs to put the empowerment of mothers living with HIV first and foremost. As Anam points out, the effect of solidarity and group support is vital. “You walk out of that test room and you’re confused, and you don’t know what to do, and when you sit somewhere with that group of people and you realize you’re not alone – that in itself is huge. I don’t know how we can document that, but it’s huge.”Event Resources:Naina Khanna’s PresentationTamil Kendall and Isabella Danel’s PresentationTamil Kendall’s PresentationMary Mwanyika-Sando’s PresentationHannah Sebitloane’s PresentationJanet Turan and Laura Nyblade’s PresentationFriday Podcast With Tamil KendallPhoto GalleryVideoShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on April 18, 2014November 13, 2014Click 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)Princess Sarah Zeid, champion of the White Ribbon Alliance, is holding the World Bank accountable for reproductive health commitments. Her article on The Huffington Post earlier this week emphasized the importance of keeping maternal and newborn health on the post-2015 agenda:The evidence shows us that to maintain the progress made, it is essential that we continue what we have begun, whilst expanding our investments if we are to spread our impact.To ensure that development is truly sustainable and to avoid far worse — to prevent a backward slide — we must do more for more.She also noted that reproductive health and family planning are essential for maternal and newborn health targets post-2015:Access to family planning — to choices about contraception — improves both maternal and newborn survival by lengthening inter-pregnancy intervals. Spacing the birth of children by three years will decrease under-5 deaths by 25 percent.Read the full article and learn how to help here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on May 30, 2014November 4, 2016By: Annie Kearns, Project Manager, 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)For the past nine months, the Adding Content to Contact (ACC) project at the Women and Health Initiative has been working to systematically assess the obstacles that prevent and the factors that enable the adoption and implementation of cost-effective interventions for antenatal and postnatal care along the care continuum. The project is also examining how these interventions can best be adopted and scaled up in resource poor settings to benefit women and children. As part of that process, the ACC team has been researching care delivery around the world. Today, we have published eight case studies highlighting various methods of delivering antenatal and postnatal care in a variety of settings:Focused antenatal care in Tanzania—Delivering individualized, targeted, high-quality careGroup care: Alternative models of care delivery to increase women’s access, engagement, and satisfactionHealth Extension Workers in Ethiopia— Delivering community-based antenatal and postnatal careJacaranda Health—A model for sustainable, affordable, high-quality maternal health care for Nairobi’s low-income womenLady Health Workers in Pakistan—Improving access to health care for rural women and familiesPostnatal care in Nepal—Components of care, implementation challenges, and success factorsThe Developing Families Center—Providing maternal and child care to low-income families in Washington, D.C.The Manoshi project—Bringing quality maternity care to poor women in urban BangladeshMembers of the ACC project team will be attending the ICM Congress in Prague, Czech Republic next week. These case studies will be discussed in detail during our session on Thursday, 5 June, 8:30am – 12:00pm in Room 4.3. We hope to see many of you there!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on June 18, 2014November 4, 2016By: Manuelle Hurwitz, Senior Adviser, Abortion, International Planned Parenthood Federation; Rebecca Wilkins, Programme Officer, Abortion, International Planned Parenthood FederationClick 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)IPPF welcomes the research released by IHME and the WHO providing new estimates of maternal mortality and its causes. The research provides a lot of food for thought and areas for discussion, in particular around the recording and reporting of data on unsafe abortion.While these findings are not directly comparable to previous estimates of maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion, currently given as 13% , the findings suggest that maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion have been reduced. If accurate, this is in no small part due to the tireless efforts of many service providers and advocates working around the world, often in challenging environments, to increase women’s access to post-abortion care and safe abortion services and the rise in the use of misoprostol, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, which may be replacing other less safe methods of “unsafe abortion”. However, the data requires closer consideration and while these new findings suggest good progress in preventing maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion, we must bear in mind that the reality is likely to be much different.The WHO research acknowledges the challenges in collecting accurate data on maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion, challenges which make it highly likely that the number of maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion are consistently under reported. In many countries, abortion is subject to legal restrictions making it very difficult for women to access the safe and legal abortion services they need. Even in countries where legislation makes abortion more accessible, stigma around the issue may result in women using methods of abortion which are unsafe. These challenges can prevent women from telling friends and family about their attempts to end a pregnancy. Therefore any maternal death resulting from unsafe abortion may not be reported as such, leading to the under-representation of this issue in its contribution to maternal mortality.It is also important to note that in this research the categorization of maternal mortality due to abortion includes all induced abortion, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy. While we acknowledge that this methodology was chosen due to the ICD-10 reporting category definition of deaths due to “pregnancy with abortive outcome”, we need to recognize both the limitations and the potential for misinterpretation of this categorization. The major concern is that this categorization may lead to the results of the study being communicated in such a way that unfairly and inaccurately implies that all abortions are risky. We know that when performed under the correct conditions abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and carries very minimal risks to a woman’s health and life. The complications and risks to women – which have been well documented – arise from abortions performed unsafely.These statistics highlight two things. Firstly, there continues to be a need for further research in this area looking specifically into the incidence and outcomes of unsafe abortion, to provide a more up-to-date and accurate picture on the impact of unsafe abortion worldwide. Secondly, governments need to make abortion safe, legal and accessible to all women who need it. Abortion stigma also presents a real barrier to women accessing safe abortion services, and deserves equal attention by advocates, service providers and policy makers. Only by addressing these issues, will we see further reductions in preventable maternal mortality and morbidity resulting from unsafe abortion.Efforts to achieve this took a step forward in March 2014, when global leaders signed up to a declaration calling for universal access to safe legal abortion after a key two-day meeting that was co-sponsored by Ipas, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.Would you like to share your thoughts on the new maternal mortality estimates? Contribute to our blog series by sending a submission of 400-600 words to Katie Millar. Ahman E, Shah IH. New estimates and trends regarding unsafe abortion mortality. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2011;115:121–126Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on September 15, 2014November 2, 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)On September 9th and 10th, the Maternal Health Task Force and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program convened experts in Boston to discuss maternal and newborn health integration. The meeting, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality,” hosted about 50 global leaders—researchers, program implementers and funders—in maternal and newborn health to accomplish the following three objectives:Review the knowledge base on integration of maternal and newborn health care and the promising approaches, models and tools that exist for moving this agenda forwardIdentify the barriers to and opportunities for integrating maternal and newborn care across the continuumDevelop a list of actions the global maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectivenessBiologically, maternal and newborn health are inseparable; yet, programmatic, research, and funding efforts often address the health of mothers and newborns separately. This persistent divide between maternal and newborn health training, programs, service delivery, monitoring, and quality improvement systems limits effectiveness and efficiency to improve outcomes. In order to improve both maternal and newborn health outcomes, ensuring the woman’s health before and during pregnancy is critical.Reviewing the Knowledge BaseThe meeting focused on a variety of themes as global experts led presentations and gathered for small group work to discuss next steps for integration of maternal and newborn health care. While little research thus far has been specifically devoted to maternal and newborn integration, it was shown that great inequity exists among maternal and newborn health interventions and that while about 90% of women receive at least one antenatal care visit, only slightly more than half deliver with a skilled attendant at birth, and about 40% receive postnatal care. These disparities along the continuum of care helped meeting participants identify service delivery points in need of strengthening and optimization to ensure the health of both the mother and newborn. Given the limited knowledge base, leaders were encouraged to strengthen the evidence by engaging in research to identify both the costs, and potential risks of integration.Opportunities and Barriers for IntegrationOverarching themes that emerged while evaluating integration at the meeting included optimization of service delivery points to prevent “content free contact” and the need for efforts to be context specific. There was broad consensus that programmatic and policy efforts for integration need to recognize and reflect the local environment and the capacity of the health system. The meeting concluded that integration should not be viewed as an intervention in and of itself, but rather as a method of reevaluating and designing health systems to effectively provide better maternal and newborn health care, ensure better outcomes, and incur less cost. In approaching integration in the future, it was made clear that some of the most important factors for integration include assessing and understanding contextual factors, as well as anticipating what the woman, family, and health care workers need and want.Case studies were presented from Ecuador, Nigeria, and the Saving Mothers Giving Life program. Each presenter evaluated approaches for integrating health systems, programmatic strategies, and service delivery in order to optimize maternal and newborn health outcomes. These case studies provided potential models for maternal and newborn health integration in future programmatic efforts.Actions for Greater Programmatic CoherenceLastly, and perhaps most importantly, small groups presented action items and next steps to strengthen the evidence for integration and promote integrated care so that no mother or newborn is neglected in programmatic efforts. These action items were created for three levels: facility and service delivery; national policy and programming; and technical partners and donors.Proposed action items include improving and redesigning health workforce training; ensuring quality improvement; integrating health information systems; aligning global maternal and newborn health initiatives; integrating advocacy tools for maternal and newborn health care; and unifying measurement frameworks.Join UsJoin us over the next two weeks as the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series unfolds. This blog series will dive into the details of the meeting discussions and action items. In addition, meeting participants and speakers will share their reactions to maternal and newborn integration from a variety of perspectives.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 10, 2014June 12, 2017By: Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force and Women and Health Initiative; Joy Riggs-Perla, Director, Saving Newborn Lives at Save the ChildrenClick 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 part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series,which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting.“Students often ask me, how come a neonatologist is working on maternal health? To me the response is obvious. When I was a clinician, most of my interactions were with the mothers. I learned very soon that for the newborn to be healthy the woman needed to be healthy.”– Ana Langer, Maternal Health Task ForceWhen thinking about the term integration for maternal and newborn health care we need to keep our focus with the intended outcome. Our attention should be on providing equitable, high-quality care for both the mother and the newborn.At a hospital in Petrolina, Brazil, new mothers Elvira and Ana Cristina have been taught the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and how to practice Kangaroo Mother Care with their newborn premature babies. Photo: Genna Naccache/Save the Children“Integration of Maternal & Newborn Health Care”—the recent technical meeting hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program (SNL)—provided the jumping off point for discussing what integration really means, the current knowledge base, promising approaches, and models and tools that exist to move this agenda forward. We believe that, with the global consensus on the importance of the continuum of care approach, we have a unique opportunity to decrease the gaps in care and find actionable and practical ways to foster integration where appropriate.There were two days of in-depth discussion by more than 50 participants who came from around the world to dive deep into analyzing the challenges of, and opportunities for, integration. This group represented academics, NGOs, governments, multilateral organizations and more from global and national organizations. Country perspectives from Ecuador, Nigeria, Nepal, Mozambique and many others were discussed by the presenters, panelists and audience and gave us a better sense of the power of context and localized solutions to gaps in care. We strongly believe that to bring about meaningful and equitable integration, it is essential to understand and take into consideration the epidemiological and health systems’ realities and specific social contexts of countries and communities.Meeting participants discuss the challenges to and opportunities for increased maternal and newborn health integration and service delivery at the local, national and global level. Photo: Ian P. Hurley/Save the ChildrenPerhaps the most critical component of the meeting was to develop a list of actions that the maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectiveness. Among critical actions, participants saw team-based quality improvement processes, co-location of services, functional referral systems, and simplified and unified maternal and newborn health (MNH) data collection and use, as important steps that countries could take to more effectively deliver quality and equitable care for women and newborns. The group also called for donors and technical cooperation partners to support MNH integration-oriented implementation research to build convincing evidence for policymakers and to align their investments and technical support with national strategies, taking a country-centric approach. The final action item list included well over 60 steps. The just released final report delves deeper into what these are.The SNL program and the MHTF are committed to the pursuit of quality and equity in maternal and newborn care, and seek to increase collaboration in the delivery of integrated approaches of care. The rich and honest discussion that took place among those gathered in Boston is only a beginning. We hope you will join us in this ongoing effort to find ways to most effectively provide services to mothers and their families. In the end, we must keep the patients at the center and work to achieve better outcomes for them.This post originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network Blog.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on February 17, 2015August 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)Join the Secretariat of Health of Mexico and 15 other convening partners in Mexico City, October 18 to 21, for a landmark technical conference to discuss strategies for reaching every mother and newborn with high-quality health care.Who should attend? The conference will have a technical focus, highlighting approaches and lessons from programs, policies, research, and advocacy for improving both maternal and newborn health. We welcome participation from stakeholders at all levels including: program managers, policymakers, researchers, donors, clinicians, technical advisors, advocates, and representatives of professional organizations.How to join?Abstract submission will open in March 2015. For more information, including updates on open registration, please sign up for the conference mailing list or visit www.globalmnh2015.org.Why now? 2015 is a critical milestone in international development. The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals; the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals; and the launch of an updated UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health under the Every Woman Every Child movement will provide the framework for the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference 2015. Our gathering will offer the first opportunity for the global maternal and newborn health communities to engage in technical discussions together and strategize how to meet the new goals and translate international commitments into concrete action.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 2, 2015August 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 Maternal Health Task Force works to build a strong maternal health community. That strength starts with you! Here are a few opportunities that you may find helpful in your career.Global Public Health Course, 10 weeks starting March 2nd, 2015: This course, developed by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) a member institution of the SDSN, will focus on various aspects of public health from infectious diseases to NCDs, from health systems to big data, all while placing health as central to the broader framework of sustainable development. The course comprises of video lectures posted every week, reading material, quizzes and an interactive discussion forum, which an be completed at the student’s convenience. Faculty of the course include Prof. K. Srinath Reddy (President, PHFI), Dr. Richard Cash (PHFI/Harvard School of Public Health), Prof. Vinod Paul (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), Mr. Rob Yates (Chatham House), and others. Further details about the course, including the course structure, requirements and syllabus can be found on the website. For any questions regarding the course, please email the course team at email@example.com.Because Tomorrow Needs Her, March 4th, 2015, 7:30 pm EST: A special webcast marking the launch of a multimedia campaign highlighting the efforts of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to provide accessible, high-quality health care to women and girls around the world. Because Tomorrow Needs Her is a collection of first-hand accounts from MSF aid workers — midwives, OBGYNs, physicians, nurses, and counselors — who have treated women and girls in a host of different countries and contexts over the past two decades. To find out more, visit the event page and the website or follow us at #TomorrowNeedsHer.Putting Mothers and Babies First: Benefits Across a Lifetime, Webcast: Last week, experts gathered to discuss the important intersections between women’s and newborn health and what integrating these two fields looks like practically. Panelists included Ana Langer with the MHTF, Joy Riggs-Perla with Saving Newborn Lives, Alicia Yamin with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and Kirsten Gagnaire with Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action. In case you missed the live webcast, read a summary and watch the video at The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Share this:
Other notable workshop presenters included: Alh Sani Umar Jabbi, a representative of the Sultan of Sokoto; Dr. Kayode Afolabi, director of the reproductive health division in the Federal Ministry of Health; Dr. Kamil Shoretire of TSHIP-USAID; Dr. Okoli Ugo, the project director of NPHCDA SURE-P MCH; Dr. Moji Odeku,country team leader of the NURHI project; Ansa Ogu, the director of health planning, research, and statistics at the Federal Ministry of Health; Emmanuel Otolorin, the country director of Jhpiego; and Dr. Kole Shettima, country director for the MacArthur Foundation.Sources: National Demographic and Health Survey, United Nations, White Ribbon Alliance, Population Council, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health. Photo Credit: Schuyler Null/Wilson Center.This post originally appeared on the New Security Beat.Share this: Posted on February 20, 2015June 12, 2017By: Katrina Braxton, Program Assistant, The Wilson Center’s Maternal 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)“Nigeria’s population is only two percent of the world population, but we contribute about 10 percent of the maternal mortality,” said Oladosu Ojengbede, professor and director of the University of Ibadan’s Center for Population and Reproductive Health. [Video Below]Despite efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 – reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters compared to levels in 1990 and achieve universal access to reproductive health – Nigeria has seen only modest improvements to maternal health, said a panel of experts participating in both Abuja and Washington, DC in a live video conference supported by the Maternal Health Task Force and UNFPA, on December 17.The simulcast event was preceded by a day-long policy workshop in Abuja with 40 participants from a wide array of stakeholders, including the ministry of health, development partners, NGOs, traditional leaders, health organizations, and the media.Results from Nigeria’s most recent National Demographic and Health Survey indicate the maternal mortality ratio stood at 576 per 100,000 live births in 2013, compared to 800 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003 – a 52 percent decline since 1990. Through roundtable discussions, participants identified five key factors to Nigeria’s maternal mortality that must be addressed to accelerate progress.Five Central ChallengesThe first roundtable, led by Dr. Chris Agboghoroma, secretary general of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, identified quality of care as a critical area for improvement. “The quality of care in most public and private facilities varies significantly from poor to near excellence,” he said. This inconsistency causes women to lose confidence in health services and leads some to refuse services altogether. To improve quality, said Agboghoroma, Nigeria needs dedicated departments in the ministries of health with motivated staff to enforce standards in training institutions.The second roundtable focused on the provision of integrated services. Dr. Hadiza Galadanci, an obstetrician and gynecologist consultant, said the lack of skilled health care providers, poor infrastructure, and lack of commodities, like family planning, makes it difficult to provide integrated services for women at health facilities. She called for the full involvement of traditional and religious leaders and a more comprehensive curriculum for health workers. Workers should not only be trained in reproductive health services, family planning, or maternal health as individual specialties; they should be able to treat any woman that walks into a facility with a need, she said.Dr. Adesegun Fatusi, provost at Obademi Awolowo University, spoke for the third roundtable. He identified social determinants – such as poverty, child marriage, home delivery without aid or use of a skilled birth attendant, and cultural or religious opposition to family planning – to be consistent contributors to poor maternal health outcomes. There must be macroeconomic, “pro-poor” policies within the health sector that specifically address the poverty rate and provide social protection for the most vulnerable, he said. In addition, stronger legal provisions that protect against child marriage, engaging community leaders, and prioritizing education within households and throughout communities, especially for girls, is required to change social norms, said Fatusi.The fourth roundtable focused on knowledge gaps and research needs. Efficient data collection, reporting, and funding allows for the interpreting of maternal health trends and translation into policy, said Dr. Oluwadamilola O. Olagun, a project manager with the White Ribbon Alliance. In Nigeria, an estimated 38 percent of deliveries take place in health facilities, which means over 60 percent take place outside a facility. A mechanism for collecting maternal health data from all delivery points is therefore essential, she said.Often, there is also a disconnect between research findings and implementation, which delays progress. More government involvement is needed in research projects and the benefits of these findings need to be better articulated to the government, said Olagun.Ojengbede spoke for the fifth roundtable, which focused on policy. For maternal health policies in Nigeria to be more successful and sustainable they require political commitment and incorporation into legal frameworks, said Ojengbede. The ministries of justice, health, and civil service organizations working on maternal and child health play an important role. They must support legislation on the state and national levels to ensure accountability and implementation, he said, rather than relying on ad hoc efforts led by third parties.“Fertilizers to Improve the Fruits of Our Labor”“It is evident that Nigeria does not lack expertise or insightful discussions,” said John Townsend, vice president and director of reproductive health at Population Council, serving as a discussant in Washington, DC. “However, the issue of moving intervention to scale and getting services to people still needs to be addressed.”The importance of execution was well noted by workshop participants. Galadanci called for more comparative research that shows which programs are working in different states to determine which should be expanded. Ojengbede pointed out that Nigeria’s response to the Ebola crisis was very efficient; it created a national sense of emergency which spread awareness quickly. Likewise, the perception of maternal health must be changed so improving conditions for women and children is seen as a national duty for all.Ojengbede expressed optimism about the outcome of the workshop and Nigeria’s ability to tackle these important issues. “The government and fellow participants both 100 percent agree that the recommendations from this dialogue will be applied like fertilizers to improve and increase the fruits of our labor,” he said.Dr. Wapada Balami, director of the family health department in the Federal Ministry of Health, said the recommendations would be forwarded to the Honorable Minister of Health, who will set up a committee to advise him on the meeting’s results. “This will help in shaping reproductive, maternal, and newborn health policies in the country.”Event Resources:Presentations from AbujaPhoto GalleryVideo ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Editor’s note: Need help with your board? Check out these free webinar recordings from of our recent Virtual Conference: Learn to Love Your Board.Break ups are awkward, painful, and uncomfortable. Whether it’s a professional partnership or a personal or romantic relationship, it’s never easy to part ways. This is also true when it comes to “breaking up” with your board members. Have you been in this position before? Are you in it right now? Maybe you’re thinking, “My board member is giving his or her time (and in most cases, money). I couldn’t possibly ask him/her to leave. I’m just so thankful he or she is involved.”Yes, your board members are volunteers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t hold them to certain expectations. So, what do you do when you have a board member who isn’t performing up to their fullest potential? Here’s a roadmap to help you navigate this complex situation:First, consider what a board member thinks his or her job is. Does the board have a clear job descriptions? Did you have conversations with each board member about their specific roles and responsibilities? If not, consider re-setting expectations as your next step. Review the board’s job description with your governance committee. If it’s missing any mention of fundraising or giving as a duty, suggest language that clearly states the type of gift you would like each board member to commit as well as the fundraising activities you are asking them to do. Then, develop a system to track and hold them accountable for these obligations.At a recent AFP conference, one presenter shared a report card that her organization uses with its board. It is shared privately at each board meeting and gives a “grade” for each board member’s specific duties during the fiscal year. It’s a really great tool for motivating board members and increasing their accountability.If the job duties are clear, this is probably a matter of your board member over-promising and under delivering. That means, it’s time for some tough love. Take a deep breath, exhale, and go with me on this one.Set some time to meet one-on-one with the under-performing board member. If you’d like to bring your board chair, that’s fine. Start the conversation with a sincere thank you for his or her service. Acknowledge that you understand that board leadership is a significant commitment of time and resources, and you appreciate his or her willingness to be involved.Then, share the job description and walk through the key role you need the board to play in governing and leading your organization. Point out the specific area where the board member hasn’t been meeting expectations and ask him or her if there are things you as staff could do to make his/her job easier. This is the point where you just stop and listen. How does the board member react? What does he or she say regarding his or her performance?Use your best judgement and determine if things will change after this conversation. Do you envision this board member making this position a greater priority, or is he or she the type that just can’t fit this commitment in his or her life now?If you think things will change, agree with the board member on next steps. If it’s the latter, you may consider saying something like, “It sounds like you have a lot of demands on your time, and this role may not be the best fit for you now. We need to fullest commitment of each member to lead, govern, and advocate for our work, and we understand if you are unable to fit this into your other demands.” Then, you may offer other ways for him or her to still stay involved, like serving on a committee, or as an honorary member in some way.There’s no easy way around this conversation. But it’s an important one. I think you’ll find it will make it easier for a board member to step down gracefully.Click here to download the recordings from our recent Virtual Conference: Learn to Love Your Board.
CLOSING EXAMPLE:Imagine your fundraising offer, in a nutshell, is to donate a meal that costs you less than $2.00.Your specific, simple, emotional, rewarding, leverageable, urgent, actionable appeal works like this (I’ve offered a few variations to show there’s no one right way to do this, but you’ll succeed if you include all the compelling elements):Your $2.00 gift will feed Joe a hot nutritious Thanksgiving dinner in the company of caring friends. Please give before Monday to reserve Joe’s place. Donate a $2.00 meal before next Monday so Joe gets a hot, nutritious Thanksgiving dinner in the company of caring friends this Thursday.The choice is yours. Joe can be cold, alone and hungry this Thanksgiving. Or warm and fed, in the company of a caring community. It all depends on you.Give the gift of a nutritious, hot Thanksgiving dinner, served in the company of friends. Just $2.00 received by Monday will reserve a place for Joe.Specific problem – You can show a photo of it. Donor can easily visualize the impact.Simple solution – Your reader is asked to do one thing. S/he doesn’t need to know all the reasons that bring Joe, and folks like him, to your mission. Or how you provide the meal. Or what ancillary services you provide (though you may hint at that in noting Joe will be “in the company of friends”). Offer up the information about additional support services you provide in your future donor communications.Emotional need – Fulfills human urge to help/make an impact; to connect with others.Reward – Feels good to help a real person. Now. Implication is that when you help someone in your community it makes the community betterLeverage – Good deal. Inexpensive. Fed someone, and then led to other “ripple effects” (implication Joe will get not just nutrition, but also other supportive care).Deadline – Feed someone a holiday meal, at a time people can feel very depressed and alone.Call to action – Do it now, here’s how, and it’s easy.Ready to Create Your Own Irresistible Fundraising Offer?Simply include these seven elements and you’ll be ahead of the game.And remember to keep it simple and focused.Black and white is good when it comes to offering options to join you (or not) in your mission. Your donor should think “Yes, I’ll help” or “No, I won’t help.”And, since your offer is so clear and compelling it would be unthinkable for them to say “no.”Right? 1. Specific ProblemSomething you can visualize happening. Or not happening. Not something broad and generic like “support our cause.” If you’ve had success in the past with a generic appeal, I understand. That can work, especially with folks who already ‘get it,” but that limits your reach and appeal. To expand beyond folks who already love you requires greater specificity. And, to be frank, when you’re more specific you’ll secure larger gifts. So stop leaving money on the table and describe a specific fundraising goal and cost to achieve what you propose.ACTION TIP: If you know it costs $20/month to feed a senior, I’d like to know that. In fact, in deciding how much I should give, I need to know that! It might cause me to give $240 to feed a senior for a year. If you just ask me to “support our senior nutrition program with a gift of any amount,” I may just give you $25.#NFGtips: Before you send out any appeal, make sure your donation page makes it easy for donors to give.2. Simple SolutionSomething capable of being easily grasped by your audience. Not all the underlying complexities. Your fundraising offer is not a place to educate your donors. Or try to explain them into giving. Don’t feel compelled to expound on every nuance of what you do. Or every piece of the puzzle. Get right to the most important part of what you do. The demonstrated outcome.ACTION TIP: Donors simply want to show you they care. They want to make the happy ending come true. They want to see themselves as heroes. Giving becomes a reflection in the mirror of who they are: compassionate, generous, values-based people. Donors will give when they’re persuaded that doing so is an excellent expression of who they are. If you want to tell the rest of the story (and you should), do it after the fact. In your thank you letters, emails and year-round communications. By the time next year rolls around, they’ll have a whole story bank in their minds and hearts, and will likely give even more passionately.Think of your fundraising offer as lighting the first spark. Then let your stewardship communications over the ensuing year fan the flames. 7. Call to ActionAsk early and often. Think about the single, most important thing you need to communicate; then tie your opening to your reason for writing as quickly as possible. It may be only thing your prospect will read before deciding whether or not to continue reading, or simply toss you into trash.ACTION TIP: Make your ask explicit. Spell it out in black and white. Force a decision with introduction that triggers an “I’ll help/I won’t help” decision.Every morning Jim dreams of getting onto a basketball court again. But his war injury means this will never happen. Unless you help.Isabelle dreams of being 1st in her family to go to college and ‘make something of herself.’ Instead she’ll probably get a minimum wage job right out of high school. Unless you help.Offer multiple ways to give (e.g., via remit piece and envelope; link to your website; telephone number). Make branded giving pages user-friendly and mobile responsive. Assure the landing pages include the campaign-specific call to action. Begin with “YES! I’ll help _________.” This seals the deal and helps the donor feel warm and fuzzy about their decision to help. 4. Donor BenefitsHuman beings always ask themselves: “What’s in it for me?” Always show your donor what the benefit will be if they give. Remind them they’ll feel really good. Studies show merely contemplating giving releases “feel good” dopamine. Everything about giving –thinking and doing –is good for us!ACTION TIP: Tell prospective donors giving will save a life… lead to a cure… offer a resource for them and their children… make their community a better place. You can also add in benefits like tax deductions, inclusion in a giving society and even token gifts (like invitations to free events, being entered into a raffle to win something, etc.). Perhaps one of the biggest benefits you can offer is to make your donor feel like a hero. 3. EmotionalPeople give when their hearts are touched. Usually from ONE compelling story. Often from a photo that depicts this story, accompanied by a compelling caption. A zingy, succinct opening line can help as well.ACTION TIP: Come up with something memorable and “sticky” with which folks can easily connect. Usually the best way to do this is through storytelling. Don’t make it an educational lesson or intellectual exercise. Something people will struggle to remember. People don’t give because of the fact that 27,000 people in your community are hungry. Or 200,000 birds are soaked in oil and can’t fly. They don’t give to statistics. They don’t give with their heads. They give when something tugs at their heart strings. One hungry child. One oil-drenched, grounded bird. One wrong they can believably right with their gift. 6. DeadlineStrike while the iron is hot. You’ve worked hard to trigger folks’ emotions. Don’t let them put off giving until a future time, when their ardor may have cooled. Offer deadlines.ACTION TIP: Create a sense of scarcity. No one likes to lose out on a good deal. Matching grant deadline. Doors about to close deadline. People waiting in line deadline. Year-end tax deduction deadline. Even if you can’t find a natural “scarcity” deadline, give some kind of deadline like: “Do it by next Monday.” 5. LeverageOffer the donor a “good deal” – show them how they get a bigger bang for their buck than may seem to be true at first blush. People love to S-T-R-E-T-C-H their dollars.ACTION TIP: Describe how their dollar goes further than they might imagine. One meal provided in the third world will seem relatively cheap. One dollar given that will be matched dollar-for-dollar due to your matching grant is alluring. One dollar given that has ripple effects, helping not just the recipient, but their entire family, is tempting. How to Create a Nonprofit Fundraising Offer That Can’t Be Refused Do you know what the 40/40/20 rule is? It’s something long preached by direct mail experts, and it reveals that the key to success with your fundraising appeal is not the thing most nonprofits spend the greatest amount of time on.Alas, it’s not the “creative.”Here’s how the “40-40-20 Rule” goes:40 percent of a direct mailing’s success is dependent upon the list; 40 percent of the success comes from the offer; and 20 percent of the success is due to the creative.40 – Mailing list (audience you’re talking to)40 – Offer (what you’re asking audience to do)20 – Creative (words, pictures, fonts, colors and design)Today we’re going to talk about the offer. Because if you don’t make it clear and easy for folks to take the exact action you desire, then the rest of your mailing has little purpose.7 Compelling Fundraising Offer Essentials
Editor’s note: Want more email fundraising tips? Join us on Tuesday, September 26 at 1pm EDT for a 30-minute webinar, #NFGTips: Your Email Strategy for Year-End. Can’t make that time? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording. Click here to save your spot!In my last article I discussed the importance of getting all your year-end ducks in a row.Today we’re going to take a quack at assuring your year-end email series gets opened and acted upon.A quack at it?Yes! Because I’m guessing you don’t have your ducks lined up to make this year’s email appeal worth all your effort. What do I mean? I mean the majority of folk receiving your email will simply hit ‘delete.’ And that’s just not going to pay your bills.You need to get all your email duckies in a row. And I know exactly which three are missing.I’ve been in that duck pond. I know where your world-wide webbed feet are taking you.You’re painstakingly wordsmithing the appeal message… agonizing over just the right tag line… angsting over which photo is the most compelling… meticulously crafting your killer call to action… thoroughly assuring your donate button link is working… worrying about your colors and type face… and distressing about how you’ll measure your results. All essential things. But your email is still going to drown.Yup. Your poor little email is just a sitting duck for that delete button.Unless… you shift some of your energy to three simple, yet too often overlooked or back-burnered, things: The “From” line The “Subject” line List segmentationLet’s Start with the “From” LineThis is arguably the most important part of your email. According to a Constant Contact study, 64% of people open emails because of the organization it is from; compared with 47% of people opening emails because of what’s in the subject line. To avoid having your precious email wind up in the trash bin, you need to use the ‘Just Ducky! ’ Rule. And the ‘From’ line is at the heart of this rule. Let me explain.When folks see an email from you in their inbox you want them thinking “That’s just ducky! An email from _____. She always has something interesting to say.”Whose emails do you open first? Chances are good that when you open your email box a majority of the messages are of little interest to you. You don’t know who they’re from, they look like junk, or they’re coming from someone who doesn’t interest you enough to compel you to open their message. If you have time, maybe you will. If you don’t, maybe you’ll hit “delete.”Who the email is from is often what motivates people to open it. Your email should come from a person or brand your targeted reader knows, trusts and, ideally, likes. Often this will be the E.D. It could also be another beloved staff member or lay leader. Even when you have a trusted brand, you’ll likely get a better response from the person at the brand. People give to people, not institutions. If you’re not sure about this, it’s certainly something worth testing!Don’t duck out on this responsibility, please. Think about who the email is coming from before you begin to write. Don’t leave it until the very end. Too often no one thinks about it; then the IT person or the administrative assistant is assigned to “launch” the email. Typically they do one of two things: (1) simply launch the email from a corporate account, or (2) innocently ask “Who’s it coming from?”The first is not so good, because it’s a thoughtless approach. The second is not so good, because it’s an afterthought (and I’ve seen more than one occasion where the appeal was delayed because it took awhile to find a signatory or to create a new “from” email account that would work).Put a feather in your cap by planning ahead so that when your reader opens their inbox they exclaim: “Just Ducky!”Let’s Make your Subject Line a Real Firequacker!The subject line is the window into your message. 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone (Source: Convince and Convert).To be a great e-mallard you’ve got to give the reader a reason to open the email. Waddle you gonna do about this? You’re gonna make your subject line one or more of these things: urgent; intriguing; exciting; specific; useful; compelling; emotional, shocking or funny (even daffy). That’s what it takes to get folks flocking to you.Here are a few real examples:Four pounds, that’s what’s up This led to email about how a food bank client had gained weight after receiving nutritious food at an on-site pantry at her senior apartments.) Intriguing/FunnyAbandoned by budget cuts, they’re counting on usThis led to e-appeal to fund home care for seniors who were losing critical lifeline services due to budget cutbacks). Urgent/SpecificWhy the cheerleaders shaved their heads This led to a message from Indianapolis Colt’s coach Chuck Pagano, who was battling leukemia. Shocking.Get into your donor’s head as much as you can, and try to make it about the donor rather than your fundraising goals. For those who’ve given in the past, how about a simple: Did you forget you made this possible? This also has the subtle psychological benefit of reminding them they already did something. (Remember, one of Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence is “commitment and consistency.”). Compelling. Specific. Intriguing.Is it all over between us?This was suggested by grassroots fundraising guru Kim Klein. Emotional. Compelling.You have only a few seconds to capture attention. Subject lines with less than 50 characters have open rates 12.5% higher than those with 50 or more, and click-through rates are 75% higher. So generally plan to keep your subject line to 50 characters or fewer.For more inspirations, check out some holiday email subject lines here. If you happen to use MailChimp they have a free tool to test the strength of your subject line. They also help you add emoji’s, and they suggest words that will negatively affect your open rates – You may be surprised – two of them are: ‘Help’ and ‘Reminder.’You can find a whole duck boat-load of ideas – many of which are as good as they’re quacked up to be — in 200 More Email Subject Lines from End of Year Fundraising. Just avoid those that could be coming from any nonprofit (e.g., “Just 48 hours left” is not great. “48 hours left to rescue drowning ducks” is better).But don’t mislead. That will make you a dead duck. Folks don’t mind being teased a little, but they don’t like being lied to. If folks open your email, but then see it’s not at all about what you promised, they’ll toss you right out.While we’re at it, consider your pre-header. That’s an extra tool to convince your subscribers to quack open your email. What is it? It’s the snippet of text at the top of your email (or a link to the online version) that your subscribers see first, sometimes even before they open the email. Because even if you get your email open, studies show that 51% will delete your email within 2 seconds of opening it. Aargh!Most email clients display the pre-header right after the subject line. This means if you’re using images, you absolutely must include an ALT description of the image for those folks (most) whose images are blocked. Talk to your IT folk if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And keep in mind the typical inbox preview pane will only show 30 to 40 characters (the typical mobile device shows around 15 characters). So make your lead-in count.Segmentation can Make or Break your Campaign.Imagine you’re an animal rescue agency. Half of your supporters love dogs; half love cats. Wouldn’t it make sense to devise tailored messages for each segment?The same holds true for folks who gave big gifts vs. small ones. And folks who gave for the first time vs. ongoing donors.You want to tweak your appeal slightly to show people you know them.You also want to customize your asks (and your donation landing pages) to match the language in your appeal.The more specific and targeted you can be, the better.Once you get these three things nailed – “From” and “Subject Line” plus List Segmentation – getting your email opened will be like water off a duck’s back.Hasn’t this been pun? Want more email fundraising tips? Join us on Tuesday, September 26 at 1pm EDT for a 30-minute webinar, #NFGTips: Your Email Strategy for Year-End. Can’t make that time? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording. Click here to save your spot!
Although it’s unclear exactly how the new tax law will impact charitable donations, nonprofits can’t afford to wait and see. Many nonprofits are now thinking of new ways to attract and retain donors to ensure that funding stays consistent.According to research by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, the average donor retention rate in the U.S. after the first gift is around 45 percent. Without a focused effort to convert those one-time donors to regular, loyal supporters, nonprofits may struggle to generate enough new donations to reach their fundraising goals.If tax reform isn’t a big enough reason for your organization to create a donor experience that will keep supporter relationships thriving, here are three others to consider.It’s more expensive to attract a new donor than to retain one.Bringing in a new donor requires a series of steps. You have to raise awareness, build trust, make an emotional connection, and facilitate the process of actually making the first gift. These steps take time and can be expensive to implement. To retain donors, on the other hand, you simply need to keep the donors engaged with you and your work by focusing on their experience with your organization.Marketing costs alone eat up between 5 and 15 percent of a nonprofit’s total budget. Add to that your fundraising expenses, and you quickly realize how much your organization could save if you could convert the 55% of donors who only give once into regular supporters.Committed donors will give to multiple projects.If a donor is committed to supporting one of your programs, that person will likely want to give toward multiple projects within the program, or even to related programs. Loyal donors are already sold on the trustworthiness and effectiveness of your organization. They believe in your ability to use their donations to effect real change; so it’s easier to deepen the relationship and increase the amount or frequency of their giving.As you communicate with these donors and share the impact of their most recent donation, you can use that opportunity to introduce them to other areas of your program that might interest them.Regular donors will share insights that you can use to attract new donors.While it’s impossible to read the minds of prospective donors to know what moves them to give, you can gain insight from your regular donors that effectively gives you that superpower. Talk to your loyal supporters and listen to what they tell you. What initially attracted them to your organization? What gives them the confidence to continue supporting your work? What gets them excited about a particular program? What do they like your organization to share with them? What aspects of your charitable programs would they like to see firsthand? What experiences have made the biggest impact on them? The answers you receive to these questions will provide you with the information you need to improve your regular donors’ experience and to attract new donors.Planning and creating a donor experience that grows relationships and causes donors to increase their support takes time and energy. Take heart. The benefits your nonprofit sees will be worth many times over the resources you put into it. Organizations that focus on retaining donors as well as acquiring new ones will also be better positioned to weather the changes that come as a result of the recent tax reform. You’ll have confidence that your programs will remain funded and thriving.Learn why the donor experience is vital to a successful organization and how to implement an effective donor experience program by downloading this white paper “A Better Donor Experience: Is it the Cornerstone of Donor Loyalty?”
According to M+R’s Benchmarks Study for 2018, monthly giving revenue increased by 40 percent. A monthly, or recurring, gifts program builds a community of loyal, engaged donors; while simultaneously providing the regular income you can depend on.Recurring gifts are also the best prevention against lapsed donors. Someone who commits to a regular gift to your organization is with you for the long haul.By the NumbersFollow this step-by-step checklist to keep your monthly donors connected and engaged.Customize your online giving page to reflect your monthly recurring gifts program.Make the giving process obvious, easy, and transparent.Feature your donate button prominently on your website and include a link in all of your online outreach.Provide the option to choose monthly giving in every ask, appeal, and campaign in order to help donors realize giving more is possible.Add impact labels to monthly giving levels to illustrate what a gift can do.Create a special membership program to foster a sense of belonging.Design a special thank you and stewardship program for monthly donors.Include updates on your monthly giving program in your annual report, newsletters, and on your organization’s website.Plan a dedicated monthly giving campaign to target donors who may be more likely to give on a monthly basis.Develop ways to upgrade monthly donors to new giving levels over time.Track your progress and measure which methods are most successful in creating new monthly donors.Share results, stories, and updates on the impact of your recurring donors.Download our eGuide, “How To Enhance Your Donor Engagement,” for more on how to engage your donors.
We’re thrilled to announce that Network for Good has been named one of the Top 100 Impact Companies by Real Leaders.Business As a Force for GoodThe Real Leaders Top 100 Impact Companies is the first-ever listing of companies making a positive impact and growing by doing good. Each company featured embraces a vision of business that proves companies can thrive as a force for good.“We’re honored to be featured on the inaugural list of Real Leaders’ Top 100 Impact Companies,” said Network for Good CEO Bill Strathmann. “Our fundraising software has helped thousands of small nonprofits across the country raise $2.5B so far… and we’re just getting started. We want to unleash generosity on a massive scale and believe in leveling the digital playing field so small nonprofits can better engage consumers with easy-to-use donor management and communications software. What’s our Impact? Generosity Unleashed.” Since 2001, Network for Good has helped over 125,000 nonprofits raise over $2.5 billion in donations. We’d love to work with you to achieve your mission. Ask us how we can help your nonprofit. And the winners are…Real Leaders, Big Path Capital, and B Lab created a list of vanguard businesses dedicated to improving the world. Each company’s “Force for Good” score was determined by reviewing their revenue, growth rate, and B Impact assessment score.“The Real Leaders 100 list is the first ranking of positive impact companies in North America and leverages the engine of capitalism for great profit and great good,” said Michael Whelchel, Managing Partner, Big Path Capital.The 100 winners will be celebrated at a formal event in April at the Momentum (MO) Summit in Asheville, North Carolina.Be a part of the 125,000 nonprofits who have put Network for Good’s vision to work for them. Find out how we can support you today!Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
Planning a donor acquisition strategy is similar to planning any other campaign. Start off by reviewing your previous efforts and results. What worked? What didn’t? Your data is a great guide to determining new donor goals.Step 1: Review your current data.Use your donor management system to track information on your current donors and what campaigns attracted their attention and inspired them to give. Find ways to adapt that messaging to reach people unfamiliar with your organization.Look at both your quantitative and qualitative donor data. What trends and patterns do you see? Where did your current donors come from? What motivates them to give? Seek out similar people to grow your donor base.Pro Tip: If you don’t know why your current donors contribute, you may want to hit pause on your acquisition campaign and focus on donor cultivation and retention instead. No point finding new donors only to lose the ones you already have.Step 2: Make a plan based on your findings.Once you’ve reviewed your data, develop a strategy that integrates your development and communications departments. Three essential questions to answer as you plan your approach:How will you research prospects?What’s the best way to approach them?How will you track progress and measure success?An integrated communications strategy involves direct mail, email blasts, social media, and even advertising if it’s in your budget. The purpose is to increase brand awareness and recognition. That way, prospects will recognize you across channels.Step 3: Perform targeted outreach.Now it’s time to get the word out. An awareness campaign is the first touch in donor prospecting. People can’t give to your organization if they don’t know you exist.Amplify awareness by harnessing the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your positioning in online search results.Google AdWords and social media ad campaigns are great ways to capture active donors and amplify awareness online for a small fee. Promote an individual tweet or boost a Facebook post to increase followers or website traffic.Step 4: Keep it simple.It may seem obvious but make it easy to donate. Incorporate these key methods into your online donation process.Feature a donation button prominently on your website.Make your online donation page visually appealing and easy to find and navigate.Clearly identify various donor levels and their respective benefits.Highlight a suggested giving level on your donation page.Encourage monthly giving.Make sure your donation page is secure and mobile-friendly.Include your Charity Navigator or GuideStar rating for additional credibility.Begin engaging donors immediately following their donation with a thank you message on your online donation confirmation page.Invite donors to share their support on social media and join your email list.Incorporate these steps into your next acquisition campaign and see the difference for yourself. For a deeper dive into acquiring new donors, download our eGuide, New Donors: Getting the Ungettable Get.Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
For 61 years, Better Health (a Network for Good customer since 2017) has addressed the unmet healthcare needs of Cumberland County’s low-income residents through education, referral, and assistance. Since 2015, Executive Director and CEO Amy Navejas has managed a small team of ten staff. Though they are small, they are mighty—that small staff touched over 7,000 people in 2017.Caring for a communityOriginally, Better Health filled emergency medications for individuals in need. Over time they evolved to meet the needs of the community; aiding with things that strain a low-income person’s financial reserves, such as emergency dental extractions, eyeglasses, and travel to the larger North Carolina hospitals.“We don’t want anybody to have to choose between food and rent and a critical medical need.”In the 1970s, Better Health launched an education-based diabetes program to help clients manage their disease along with their doctor. Through the program, a patient can get their blood sugar and blood pressure checked; take classes; and even borrow wheelchairs, walkers, and other medical supplies from Better Health’s 1,000+ donated items.Dedicated to patients of all ages, Better Health also helps families with children who are significantly obese create a wellness program. The entire family attends the program together. By providing a safe outlet where children can become physically fit and adopt more healthy lifestyle habits, the entire family learns better health and fitness.“I wear many, many hats.”On any given day, you’ll find Navejas writing or reporting on a grant, reviewing program updates from staff, managing the organization’s financials, and of course lots of meetings—board meetings, committee meetings, fundraising meetings, community meetings.But she hadn’t always planned on becoming a nonprofit CEO. A law school graduate, Navejas switched careers after the birth of her first child.“To be a great attorney you have to bring home boxes and boxes of files every night and pour over them to prepare for court. I watched my firm’s senior partners arrive before all the other staff and leave well after dark. I wouldn’t want to do that any other way in order to be completely prepared for clients. After my daughter was born, I realized that schedule wasn’t conducive to the kind of family life that I wanted to have.”From a young age, Navejas’ parents and grandparents instilled in her a passion for helping others. She followed that passion to Carolina Collaborative Community Care, and when the opportunity at Better Health came up, she jumped on it.“I love it here. There are always challenges and I love working through hurdles, making progress, and finding creative solutions. Sometimes a client walks through our doors, deeply in need, and they don’t expect us to be able to help because everyone else they’ve gone to has said no. We try to find a way to say yes, not a reason to say no. The relief I see on their face when I tell them they’ll be taken care of is all the motivation I need.”Passion for the missionWhen it comes to leading a nonprofit, Navejas relies on her small but mighty staff. The single most critical factor she looks for in a team member is someone who has that passion and that connection with the mission.“It’s all about finding the right people. If someone has the passion and the work ethic, they can be trained and do well. Being such a small organization, that makes a big difference. Our staff has made a huge impact. Better Health excels at what we do because our staff is so dedicated.”Women in Philanthropy is an ongoing blog series in celebration of Women’s History Month, featuring some of the incredible women Network for Good has the pleasure to work with.Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
Sources: CARE, European Union Training Mission – Mali, John Snow, Inc., International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, TRIAL, UNHCR.Photo Credit: The Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, November 2012, courtesy of Brian Sokol/UNHCR.This post originally appeared on the New Security Beat.Share this: Posted on February 25, 2015June 12, 2017By: Katrina Braxton, Program Assistant, The Wilson Center’s Maternal 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)Accessing maternal health care is already a challenge in many countries, and when conflict erupts or a disaster strikes, it can get even worse, leaving millions of women on their own while at their most vulnerable, said Ugochi Daniels, chief of humanitarian response for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Women and girls also become more vulnerable to violence during times of crisis, she said, by virtue of nothing but their gender. [Video Below]Daniels and other experts discussed efforts by humanitarian agencies to better address maternal health and gender-based violence in crisis settings at the Wilson Center on November 20, supported by the Maternal Health Task Force and UNFPA.Providing a baselineMore than one third of maternal deaths world-wide occur in crisis settings, said Janet Meyers, deputy director of health policy and practice at the International Medical Corps. During an average humanitarian emergency — famine, conflict, extreme flooding, etc. — you can expect approximately four percent of the population to be pregnant; that’s a lot of people with different needs than your average beneficiary, she said. Furthermore, health facilities are usually destroyed, transportation is limited, community members are unaware of services, and donor services are limited.“At the beginning of a crisis, we can’t do everything, we can’t do cancer screenings, it’s not appropriate we don’t have time,” said Sarah Chynoweth, an independent consultant for sexual and reproductive health in emergencies. “We have to choose and decide which activities we’re going to focus on.”To help guide these decisions, a World Health Organization working group has developed a field manual and what’s called the “Minimum Initial Service Package,” or MISP. The MISP outlines steps to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with reproductive health problems. The five main objectives of the MISP, said Chynoweth, are to organize responding organizations and facilitate sexual and reproductive health coordination between them; prevent and manage sexual violence; reduce HIV transmission; prevent maternal and newborn death and disability; and begin laying the groundwork for implementation of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services down the road.An interagency working group of humanitarian organizations also packages essential commodities into prepared emergency reproductive health kits, which can provide condoms, clean delivery kits, post-rape treatments, and other equipment to thousands. The kits typically serve a population of 100,000 to 300,000 for a period of three months and even “enable you to set up an emergency maternity ward if need be,” said Daniels.Erasing rape from warPreventing gender-based violence during an emergency is perhaps even more difficult than providing basic health services. It is well known that incidences of sexual and gender-based violence escalate in times of crisis and displacement, said Danaé van der Straten Ponthoz, a legal advisor for the Swiss organization TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), which advocates on the behalf of victims of genocide, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity.The first line of defense is to engage men and boys. “Raising awareness about gender-based violence and the rights it violates are good tactics, but they are not the most effective techniques,” she said. Instead, she suggested programs that encourage good behavior in young boys and men by reinforcing their role as protectors of their mothers, daughters, and sisters.It’s also important to engage with any relevant military and peacekeeping forces, not only as critical partners in prevention and protection, but because they are perpetrators in some places, said van der Straten Ponthoz.Last year, as part of the European training mission in Mali, van der Straten Ponthoz was sent to work with government forces in hopes of reducing human rights violations. “Out of the six battalions that have been trained so far in Koukikoro, none of them have committed human rights violations,” she said. Van der Straten Ponthoz recounted the personal account of a Malian soldier’s thoughts on rape before and after training. “Rape is the beauty of war,” he told her without reservation at the beginning of 10-week training period; afterwards he said, “I will treat every woman with respect like my mother and sisters.”More male engagement is needed and more military personnel need to be trained on gender-based violence, said van der Straten Ponthoz. “There is no single answer to this issue which is very complex, and it requires a response both on the prevention and the accountability level.”Empowering women against vulnerability in conflictThere are practical things humanitarian organizations can do to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls though. It’s important to segregate latrines by gender in camps and have locking doors, said Chynoweth, and keep in mind where women are likely to have to go to collect firewood.Availability of certain medicines are especially critical to women and girls. A signature intervention for UNFPA is their provision of “dignity kits” to NGOs and partners, which include essential supplies for hygiene and survival such as whistles, flash lights, underwear, maternity pads, and tooth paste. “This has been a really key intervention with regard to protection [and] sanitation,” said Daniels, “but it’s also really important as an entry point to attract them so we can engage them and begin to talk to them about how they can protect themselves during emergencies, and [provide] basic information that they’ll need to take care of themselves during pregnancy and childbirth.”Access to resources like post-exposure prophylaxis to minimize HIV transmission, emergency contraception, and psychosocial care services for rape victims need to be consistently available as well. “Women and girls have fled. A lot of times when they’re fleeing they don’t bring their contraception and don’t have access to it, especially emergency contraception,” said Melissa Sharer of John Snow, Inc.The long tail of ebolaThese are immediate needs, but “disasters are becoming more and more protracted,” said Daniels. “If the woman or the girl survives the first week or two weeks of the disaster, the next thing that she’s contending with is trafficking, forced marriage, a teenage pregnancy, or female genital mutilation; therefore, we can’t just do our classic humanitarian interventions.”To adapt, a recurring theme among the panelists was the need for responding organizations to provide integrated health services – not just responding to HIV/AIDS or malaria, for example, but being able to respond to any need a woman or girl has. The devastation wrought by Ebola in West Africa is a case in point, said John Welch, a chief clinical officer of Ebola response with Partners in Health.“Before this outbreak, only 50 percent of women in Liberia had access to skilled birth attendants,” Welch said. “The estimate is now that’s down 30 percent.” Similarly, access to prenatal care and malaria treatment was 40 and 50 percent before the crisis, but has now dropped to 25 percent. Welch recently returned from Liberia where he worked to strengthen and open new Ebola clinics. He recounted first-hand the collapsing health system and available services for pregnant women.Women face a greater risk of contracting Ebola because they are the caretakers, the ones ensuring their family members are buried with dignity, said Welch. Consequently, “70 percent of Ebola patients are women.” Due to fear and vulnerability of exposure, many health clinics are understaffed and “safe delivery is virtually impossible.” Pregnant women who are not infected are also dying, as the symptoms of labor complications, like pre-eclampsia, are similar to those of Ebola and a lab test could take days, by which time the woman will be dead, said Welch.In this way, Ebola is devastating the health system and putting thousands of women at risk. Over the next 12 months, an estimated 800,000 women are expected to deliver in West African countries affected by Ebola, Welch said. It will take the integrated efforts of ministries of health and humanitarian agencies to restore health systems – and strengthen them, “so we don’t have to see this again.”Building resilienceUNFPA is usually the lead organization to facilitate services and help organizations integrate sexual and reproductive health services during crises. In 2008, when Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, UNFPA coordinated with partners to provide reproductive health kits and rented boats to provide transportation for emergency obstetric care, said Chynoweth. “The reproductive health response after Cyclone Nargis was the best I have ever seen. It was absolutely incredible,” she said. “We have so much we can learn from them, in terms of coordination, working with partners, [and] linkages with development actors.”But that story is sadly the exception. Women and girls often go lacking during even the most visible disasters, said Chynoweth. Four months after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there were women going into labor without access to clean delivery kits and far from the nearest hospital, thanks to funding shortages, lack of trained health care workers, and delays in supplies.Responding more effectively requires more community involvement and awareness, said Chynoweth. “We can’t just fly in, provide services, and expect people to come,” she said. “We need women, and girls, and communities to be involved in the programs that affect their own lives.” This is especially true in conflict settings where preventing gender-based violence is a main priority, like the Middle East.With Ebola in West Africa and conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan, “what we faced this year, has really led to a need for us to evolve or revolutionize the way we respond in emergencies,” said Daniels. As crises become more prolonged, humanitarian organizations must begin paying more attention to setting up health systems to help women and girls not only today, but tomorrow as well.Event Resources:Sarah Chynoweth’s PresentationUgochi Daniels’ PresentationJanet Meyers’ PresentationMelissa Sharer’s PresentationPhoto GalleryVideo ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on May 11, 2015October 26, 2016By: Saundra Pelletier, CEO, Woman Care Global & EvofemClick 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)I am thrilled to have a discussion about the need for better metrics and measurement for establishing best practices on correct use of maternal health supplies. As organizations focus on global maternal health, we need to evaluate provider practices and use of health supplies in the countries where we work. How are we going to address the gaps without first determining what the gaps are? Are providers short on supply? Do providers choose not to use certain products because of storage requirements? Are providers trained properly on the health supplies they’re being encouraged to use?At Woman Care Global, we use an approach called medical detailing to support providers in the correct use and advocacy of women’s reproductive health supplies. Medical detailing is considered one of the few interventions capable of impacting provider performance. The core theory of medical detailing is to use support and training through frequent contact with providers to develop customized interventions to improve healthcare outcomes. Trained representatives visit medical practitioners regularly to determine the individual provider’s needs, motivations and barriers around the use of medical devices, products or services.We have utilized, and had success with, medical detailing for a program we pioneered called Maximizing Provider Healthcare Performance™, or MAX for short. MAX representatives visit over 300 healthcare providers in Kenya and South Africa to gather information about the care being given to patients. The information is collected on tablets in the field and uploaded. Through a research partner, that data is analyzed to pinpoint which specific interventions lead to enhanced care. The representatives then follow up with each provider to implement the customized interventions indicated in each situation. They also share the provider’s own analyzed data with them each quarter, in order to provide a measurement of changes in service delivery, and to identify and discuss any gaps that may have resulted in decreased performance. The whole aim of the MAX program is to raise the bar on quality care delivery.Now, I can happily talk strategy and create a bunch of flow charts about how the program works, but I want to emphasize one crucial element to the success of medical detailing. We have found the interaction between our MAX medical detailing representatives and the healthcare providers is the predominant determinant of success with both changing provider practices and collecting accurate data. Yes, the representatives are there to gather data, but they also take the time to talk, walk and drink tea with the clinicians we’re trying to reach. These interactions happen very naturally out in the field where trust and true partnership are developed over time. In an era of big data and analytics, we should never underestimate the impact of taking a minute to have a cup of tea and the value of engaging people. On a personal level, I am encouraged by programs that layer emotional intelligence and solid business practices. I am also truly and deeply encouraged by programs that take the first step and recognize that each subsequent step is meaningful.“I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen KellerTeaching providers how to properly use and advocate for health care products is a small task with big potential. Each woman helped will benefit and she will bring those incremental gains back to her family and her community. And that in itself is great and noble.This post is part of the blog series “Increasing access to maternal and reproductive health supplies: Leveraging lessons learned in preventing maternal mortality,” hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition/Maternal Health Supplies Caucus, Family Care International and the USAID-Accelovate program at Jhpiego which discusses the importance and methods of reaching women with lifesaving reproductive and maternal health supplies in the context of the proposed new global target of fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 births by 2030. To contribute a post, contact Katie Millar.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on October 22, 2015October 13, 2016By: Sandeep Bathala, Senior Program Associate, Maternal Health Initiative, Wilson CenterClick 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)Maternal mortality causes 56,000 deaths every year in India, accounting for 20 percent of maternal deaths around the world. Women who are born into the lower castes or are tribals – India’s indigenous groups – are especially likely to lack access to quality health care. Over 40 percent of these women also belong to the lowest wealth quintile.An investigation of 29 birth-related deaths in one hospital in the Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh revealed that 26 of the women were tribals, explained Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India, at a Wilson Center event.Abhishek Kumar of the India Health Action Trust and International Institute for Population Sciences said that scheduled tribes and castes make up 25 percent of India’s population and disparities within such a large social group should be expected. However, progress on improving antenatal care and medical assistance at delivery has been slowest for lower caste and tribal women, especially those living in the northern, central, and eastern regions of the country.Only the richest of the rich scheduled castes/tribes are benefiting from caste-based government programs, economic development, and expanding maternal and reproductive health care services, said Kumar. He suggested further investigation is needed into individual factors such as economic and educational status to determine why the most egregious disparities continue.More research is required to understand factors associated with the lack of access to health services between and among social groups in what will soon be the world’s most populous country.I have heard successful stories of scaling up quality and equitable maternal and newborn health programs across the world over the past few days. 1,000 of us from over 75 countries are poised to apply the lessons we learned to catalyze commitment and accelerate maternal and newborn health within the post-2015 development framework.I hope to learn more about how to reach the most vulnerable women and newborns before the next Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference. Effective approaches to improve equitable care must continue to be given priority. To hear about programs described at the conference that have increased adolescent’s access to quality care that is affordable and accessible; addressed supply side issues; provided incentives for providers and users; partnered with the private sector; or entailed innovative community-based solutions, check out Crowd 360 digital hub. This week has been so enlightening.Sandeep Bathala is reporting from 2015 Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City for the Wilson Center, Maternal Health Task Force, and UN Population Fund.Photo: “Mother and child” ©2007 Mike Reys, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on August 24, 2016August 24, 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)Join the Ariadne Labs team for Implementing Checklists for Quality Improvement: Best Practices Along the Implementation Pathway – “Engage”, the second webinar in their interactive webinar series dedicated to sharing lessons learned in checklist implementation for quality improvement.Ariadne Labs has developed tools including checklists for childbirth, surgery, and serious illness that have resulted in measurable improvements in patient care, and are now being adopted by private sector partners, governmental organizations, and health systems worldwide. The first webinar held in June 2016 presented the Safe Childbirth Checklist and Implementation Pathway and featured Dr. Leonard Kabongo, an obstetrician and quality improvement champion from Gobabis, Namibia.The second webinar in this series will explore the first step of the Implementation Pathway, ‘Engage’, and lessons learned in effectively preparing to implement. This webinar will also feature Dr. Rosemary Ogu’s experience implementing the Safe Childbirth Checklist in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.This webinar will share best practices in:Ensuring buy-in and identifying relevant stakeholdersEstablishing an implementation teamAdapting the ChecklistDate: August 26, 2016 from 10-11am (EDT)Access the webinar—Missed the first webinar in the series?Read our summary post: Lessons Learned from Implementing the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist.Watch the first webinar.Download the slideshow.Join the BetterBirth Community.Learn more about the launch of the checklist and the Safe Childbirth Checklist Case Study in Namibia. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: For more information on Safe Childbirth Checklist implementation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.Download the Safe Childbirth Checklist and Implementation Guide in English, French or Spanish here.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 2, 2016May 23, 2017By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, 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)Last week, experts in maternal health convened at the Wilson Center to mark the recent launch of The Lancet Maternal Health Series, discuss its implications and brainstorm how to translate findings into improvements for global maternal newborn health. The dialogue, What Next? Putting The Lancet Maternal Health Series Into Action, was part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center. Panelists included authors of the series as well as leaders in maternal health policy, advocacy and practice.Lynn Freedman, event moderator and Director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD) and Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, opened the discussion by stating that the series proposes a vision of maternal health for the next era: Every woman, every newborn, everywhere has the right to good quality care. To achieve this imperative, the speakers called for the following five actions:Address diversity and divergence of maternal health.While global maternal deaths have decreased in the last quarter century, maternal deaths due to a wide range of indirect causes – ranging from asthma to obesity – have increased, which represents the growing diversity in maternal health. Furthermore, the burden of poor maternal health is far from equally distributed, which indicates increasing divergence. As Clara Calvert, Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, identified, as of 2013, the pooled maternal mortality ratio (MMR) for the 10 countries with the highest levels is 200 times greater than the ratio for the 10 countries with the lowest MMRs. To improve maternal health for every woman everywhere, we must address the range of underlying causes of maternal morbidity and mortality (diversity) as well as the disparities among and within populations (divergence).Reach vulnerable women in all contexts.One of the key takeaways from the series is the “too little, too late and too much, too soon” framework, which outlines two extremes in maternal health: ‘Too little, too late’ is absent, delayed or inadequate care often linked to insufficient resources such as staff, supplies, medicines or training; ‘Too much, too soon’ represents medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth that often results in unnecessary interventions. As Suellen Miller, Director of the Safe Motherhood Program and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, explained, we often associate maternal health care that is ‘too little, too late’ with low-income settings, but women in all settings are susceptible to receiving inadequate care. As Suellen highlighted,“Vulnerable women exist in every country… What we found is that ‘too little, too late’ also exists in high-income countries, middle-income countries and anywhere there is diversity, vulnerable women or marginalized populations.”Similarly, while the practice of ‘too much, too soon’ is considered an issue in high-income areas, over-medicalization of childbirth is a growing problem in middle-income countries as well. In fact, the world’s highest cesarean rate is in the Dominican Republic (58.9%), followed by Brazil (56.7%) and Egypt (51.8%).Prioritize quality, equity, resilience, financing and local evidence.As Marge Koblinsky, Independent Consultant, Maternal and Child Health, explained, the global maternal health community must come together to respond to the series’ call to action. This means ensuring high quality maternity care, promoting equity through universal health coverage of maternal health services, strengthening health systems, guaranteeing sustainable financing related to maternal and perinatal health and increasing the accessibility and use of local data. As Laurel Hatt, Health Finance Lead at Abt Associates, emphasized, “We need to shift the paradigm and focus on how better quality actually promotes better efficiency; investing in poor quality is the biggest waste of money.”Engage more deeply at the local level.According to Kathleen Hill, Maternal Health Lead, Maternal Child Survival Program, “If we want a system that delivers the right care for every woman, every time, [we must prioritize] the performance of a local system.” While focusing on targets and metrics related to global maternal health is immensely important, we cannot neglect the local actors on the ground. We must work with providers at the district and community levels and develop strategies to improve adherence to evidence-based guidelines and measure progress in context-appropriate ways.Put women at the center of their own care.Improvements in maternal health begin with listening to the women who receive care. As Elena Ateva, Maternal and Newborn Health Policy and Advocacy Advisor at the White Ribbon Alliance advised, we must ask women how they experience care and what they would recommend for improvements. According to Elena, “When we do this, the most amazing thing happens – these women become their own advocates!” Elena relayed stories of women who faced challenges, including lack of privacy and accessibility, while delivering in health facilities in Uganda. As Elena stated, “The voices of women, families and communities must be the starting point, not the afterthought, when we prioritize efforts at the local or national level.”Missed the dialogue? View the webcastRead more from The Lancet Maternal Health Series on the MHTF blogAccess resources from The Lancet Maternal Health SeriesCheck out the social media discussion below and join the conversation using #MHDialogue and #MaternalHealthNow.Photo Credit: Lancet Series, courtesy of the Wilson Center Maternal Health InitiativeShare this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 28, 2016January 6, 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)The Lancet Maternal Health Series published in September 2016 contains six papers highlighting the importance of improving access to high quality maternal health care for all women across the globe. In paper 5, “Next generation maternal health: External shocks and health-system innovations,” Kruk and colleagues discuss how social, political, environmental and demographic changes will influence the future of global maternal health and highlight key health system innovations with potential for large impact.External shocksThe authors review a number of rapid societal and health system changes or “external shocks” that are anticipated over the next two decades, focusing on those that they believe will have the greatest influence on maternal health.Rise in domestic health financingIn the coming years, external donor funding and international aid for health financing is projected to decline, and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in particular will need to boost domestic financing. Despite evidence that spending on health is a wise investment, many countries lack the political will to allocate sufficient resources. The vast majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, designate less than 15% of their national budgets to health. While initiatives such as the Global Financing Facility offer hope for continued financial investment, LMICs will need to prioritize maternal health to improve access, utilization and quality of care.Shifts in governance for healthUnder the Millennium Development Goals, maternal health was a stand-alone goal. Now that the world has transitioned to the Sustainable Development Goals, maternal health is just one focus area within the broader goal to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.” Continued prioritization of maternal health is crucial given this broader framework. Furthermore, there has been a trend towards fragmentation in governance and financing related to maternal health: For example, the introduction of related initiatives focused on newborns, adolescents, family planning and nutrition, while important, may complicate priority setting and dilute funding for maternal health programs. Ensuring the synergy of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health efforts will amplify collective impact.UrbanizationAccording to the United Nations, about 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Fifteen years ago, 39% of births occurred in urban areas; The authors project that in 2030, that figure will rise to 52%. Urbanization carries a number of benefits for pregnant women including reduced travel time to health facilities and a higher ratio of well-trained providers to patients. However, the rich-poor gap can be even larger in cities compared to rural areas. Additionally, many families move from rural areas to urban slums, where quality of care and people’s overall health status tend to be poor. To respond to the effects of urbanization, countries will need to strengthen their health systems and prepare for higher demand for services in cities.EmergenciesInfectious disease outbreaks, armed conflict and natural disasters due to climate change create a double burden by increasing the demand for health services and decreasing the capacity of health systems to provide those services. Pregnant women and children are disproportionately affected by such humanitarian crises. One study found that the maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that recently experienced armed conflict were 45% higher than those that did not. Following the Ebola virus outbreak, maternal mortality has risen dramatically in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, whose current MMR is approximately 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births. More recently, the Zika virus has created unique challenges related to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Health systems must become more resilient to ensure that women and children receive the care they need during emergencies.Health-system innovationsUniversal health coverageThe goal of universal health coverage (UHC) is to ensure that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, receives essential health services without suffering financial hardship. UHC has the potential to improve maternal health by expanding coverage of maternity services, as well as access to care for chronic illnesses, non-communicable diseases and other conditions affecting women before, during and after pregnancy. Countries including Mexico and Rwanda have improved poor women’s access to health services by instituting national health insurance programs. However, the authors astutely point out that access alone will not improve outcomes: Quality of care is also critical.Behavioral economicsEvidence from behavioral economics illustrates the power of psychological factors in driving decision-making. People do not always make informed, rational decisions, especially those experiencing the daily stresses associated with poverty. Public health professionals can help address this challenge by implementing programs that encourage people to make better decisions about their health. Strategies include using a default choice, framing information differently and providing economic incentives such as cash transfers. Such programs need to be rigorously evaluated in diverse contexts.mhealthMobile health or “mhealth” is a relatively new field that leverages the growing accessibility of cell phones around the world, even in low-resource settings. Many countries, communities and health facilities have integrated mhealth into patient education interventions, data collection systems and performance-based payments for providers. Additional research evaluating the effectiveness of such programs is needed to better understand how these strategies can help improve maternal health.—Read summaries of other papers in The Lancet Maternal Health Series.Subscribe to get the MHTF blog delivered straight to your inbox.Share this:
Morocco2% (1992)16% (2011) Dominican Republic20% (1991)56.4% (2013) 4. Iran: 47.9% (2009)4. Timor-Leste: 1.7% (2009) 10. Italy: 38.1% (2011)10. Gambia: 2.5% (2010) 1. Dominican Republic: 56.4% (2013)1. Niger: 1.4% (2012) Egypt4.6% (1992)51.8% (2014) Posted on January 25, 2017January 30, 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)Read Part 1 here.Trends over timeIn 1990, roughly one in 15 babies on the planet was born via cesarean section surgery. In 2014, one in five babies was born via cesarean. The rates have increased dramatically over the past few decades in most regions, with the fastest growth taking place in North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. There is substantial variation within regions, with certain countries experiencing more rapid increases than others. Highest National Cesarean RatesLowest National Cesarean Rates ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Romania7.2% (1992)36.3% (2011) 7. Colombia: 43.4% (2012)7. Nigeria: 2% (2013) Considering data and measurement limitations is important when interpreting trends. Currently, there is no standard, internationally-accepted classification system to measure and monitor cesarean rates, which presents challenges when attempting to make comparisons between locations or time periods. Despite this limitation, though, available data illustrate a clear upward trend in most parts of the world.Wide geographic variationThe highest cesarean rates are mostly found in middle-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia, while the lowest rates are found in sub-Saharan Africa. National cesarean section rates vary widely, ranging from less than 2% of births in Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Niger and Timor-Leste—where many women do not have access to safe cesareans when they need them—to greater than 40% in Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Maldives, Mexico and Turkey. CountryPrevious Cesarean Rate (Year)Current Cesarean Rate (Year) 5. Turkey: 47.5% (2011)5. Burkina Faso: 1.9% (2010) There is also wide variation within countries depending on location. For example, in the United States, facility-level cesarean rates ranged from 7.1% to 69.9% in 2009. Similarly, cesarean rates in China ranged from 4% to 62.5% in 2014 across provinces.Read Part 3 here.Graphs and adapted tables from Betrán et al. The increasing trend in caesarean section rates: Global, regional and national estimates: 1990-2014. PLOS One 2016; 11 (2): e0148343.—Read a statement about the prevention of primary cesareans from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.Share this: 8. Maldives: 41.1% (2011)8. Guinea-Bissau: 2.3% (2010) China4.4% (1990)36.2% (2011) 3. Egypt: 51.8% (2014)3. Ethiopia: 1.5% (2011) 6. Mexico: 45.2% (2012)6. Madagascar: 1.9% (2013) Mexico12.4% (1987)45.2% (2012) Colombia16% (1990)43.4% (2012) Georgia3.8% (1990)36.7% (2012) Turkey8% (1993)47.5% (2011) 2. Brazil: 55.6% (2012)2. Chad: 1.5% (2010) 9. Uruguay: 39.9% (2012)9. Guinea: 2.4% (2012)
Posted on March 7, 2017March 31, 2017Click 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 Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) at the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks expert insight into two key areas: defining maternal death and clarifying skilled attendant at birth. Please read and share the following requests from RHR:Request for comments on the revision of definitions of maternal deathsThe identification of deaths during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period is a critical prerequisite for measurement of maternal mortality. However, in practice, the documentation and certification of maternal deaths and the accurate attribution of the cause of death has been an ongoing challenge.WHO/RHR invites comments on the utility and clarity of the proposed definitions of maternal deaths in the draft paper “Proposed revision of definitions of maternal deaths” from WHO Member States and other stakeholders.Please see the full call for comments for more details. Submit comments to email@example.com by 30 April 2017.Request for comments on the draft statement and background paper on skilled attendant at birthThe critical progress indicator, explicitly adopted by the Sustainable Development Goal and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, 2016-2030 agendas is the “percentage of births delivered by skilled attendant at birth.”WHO/RHR invites comments on the draft statement and the background paper related to the draft statement.Please see the full call for comments for more details. Submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April 2017. Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Photo: Midwife Zainab Manserray, who runs a clinic in Sierra Leone. Courtesy of Abbie Traylor/H6 Partners.“Midwives play a vital role in the health care of mothers and babies,” said Samara Ferrara, a midwife from Mexico, at the Wilson Center on February 27. But in many parts of the world they face a confluence of stressors that make working conditions miserable: low and irregular pay; harassment and disrespect from both patients and doctors; and little supplies, training or say in the policy dialogue about maternal health.While there is never any excuse for abusing patients, such conditions can lead to poor quality of care for mothers and newborns, as well as burn out among midwives themselves.Starting in 2014, the World Health Organization, International Confederation of Midwives and White Ribbon Alliance, with support from USAID, began a first-of-its-kind global survey of midwives to gain a greater appreciation of the challenges they face.After surveying 2,470 midwives from 93 countries, they published the results in Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Realties. In total, more than a third of those interviewed said they experienced harassment, lack of security or fear of violence. Fifty eight percent felt they were treated with respect, said Mary-Ellen Stanton, senior maternal health advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health.“This report is not just about problems; the midwives have identified solutions, and we need to look at them carefully and see what can be implemented,” said Stanton.Burnout and over-medicalizationIt’s hard to overstate the importance of midwives to maternal health outcomes, said Frances Day-Stirk, president of the International Confederation of Midwives. According to the UNFPA’s 2014 State of the World’s Midwifery Report, out of the 73 countries that account for 96 percent of maternal deaths worldwide, only 4 had the potential midwifery workforce to deliver essential interventions.There is growing evidence that midwives help reduce maternal mortality rates in a number of ways, including by assisting with family planning and distributing reproductive health services, providing prenatal consults and attending births and leading community-based interventions to educate women about normal birth processes and prevent complications. Some call this the “midwife effect.” Investing in midwifery and listening to midwives can result in a 16-fold return on investment, according to the World Health Organization.But not every health system is embracing midwives. Twenty years ago, almost half of all births in Mexico were attended by midwives; now the rate is down to two percent, said Ferrara. Most births are now attended by physicians in private clinics and “over-medicalization” is the challenge. From 2006 to 2012, almost 50 percent of births in Mexico were planned or emergency cesarean births, a high rate for such a major surgery than can have significant effects on the mother and newborn.In Malawi, Nancy Kamwendo, a national coordinator for White Ribbon Alliance with more than 10 years of experience working in the midwifery field, said the problem is not enough midwives to meet demand. Even in the best districts, the ratio of childbearing women to midwives may be more than 800 to 1 (the World Health Organization recommends a ratio of 175 to 1). In addition, midwives work on average more than 58 hours a week, Kamwendo said, go months without being paid and operate in unsafe conditions that require them to travel long distances.“You can find one midwife at a health center,” Kamwendo said. “This one midwife will have to provide family planning care, antenatal care, labor delivery, postnatal care, neonatal care – one person, 24 hours.”A matter of voiceThe report emphasizes that when midwifery is sidelined as “women’s work,” its value is diminished, midwives face moral distress and burn out and the quality of their care declines.Some two-thirds of the global health workforce are made up of women, and on a certain level the challenges facing midwifery – professional, socio-cultural, economic – are deeply rooted in gender inequality, said Fran McConville, technical officer of midwifery for the World Health Organization.“It has to do with women’s status in society,” she said. “We have, frankly, a very big job to do around gender, power, politics and money and how those…things come together and link to undermine the health and wellbeing of women and newborns, as well as the midwives who are caring for them.”With this context in mind, one of the major goals of the survey was to give voice to midwives, tabulating their perspectives on issues such as vulnerability to physical and sexual assault, infrequent and inadequate wages and hierarchies of power in which midwives are not respected by senior medical staff. The sheer number of respondents is proof of a clear desire to share their stories, said Day-Stirk.Midwives have frontline experience that should be incorporated into the policymaking process, said McConville. “It strikes me that in all of these organizations, maternal and newborn health has been huge for decades, but the people doing the talking are not actually the people caring for women and newborns in the normal sense.”Ferrara said that as a midwife, the experiences shared in the survey rang true to her. “That’s the way we feel, and it has not been expressed in an official way before,” she said. “I think that’s a very big step to come forward and to listen to midwives’ voices.”Getting to appreciation and leadershipGetting more midwives into decision-making positions is the ultimate solution to the disconnect between demand and action, said McConville. Providing better education and training would attract talented and ambitious young people. Strengthening communication networks between midwives, meanwhile, would amplify feedback from young midwives so concerns can be taken up by senior midwives.McConville also recommended government and non-government organizations working in maternal health address at least two of the overlapping professional, sociocultural and economic barriers identified in the survey.Organizations like the World Health Organization have become more sensitive to the challenges around midwifery, balancing concerns about quality of care for patients and quality of life for midwives. And reports like Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Realities and The Lancet Maternal Health Series have helped people understand how to talk about it.In some middle and high income countries where over-medicalization is a problem, Ferrara said the challenge is helping people understand the added value of having a midwife present over a surgical or non-attended birth. “We have come to a point that we realize that it’s not enough to survive birth,” she said. “We want the best experience for mothers and babies, and we know that midwives can provide the kind of care that we want for future generations.”“My hope is that the midwifery profession will receive as much respect as possible, commensurate with what they are providing for women and their families,” said Stanton, “that we will raise the attention of the professionalism of midwifery to get the positive appreciation from women, from communities, from their employers and from policymakers.”Event Resources:Photo GalleryVideo This post originally appeared on New Security Beat.–Read a summary of the “Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Realities” report on the MHTF blog.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 16, 2017June 21, 2017By: Nancy Chong, Intern, Maternal 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)
Posted on March 28, 2017July 5, 2017By: Francesca Cameron, Program Assistant, the Wilson Center’s Maternal 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)Achieving the next generation of maternal health goals in India, which accounts for almost 15 percent of maternal deaths around the world each year, will require innovative new approaches to stubborn problems.“We have gone through the low-hanging fruit,” said Aparajita Gogoi, national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance India, to a room full of maternal health experts in Mumbai in February. “We have reached a saturation point and will plateau unless we address quality in a broader sense.”Gogoi addressed 45 researchers, practitioners, and advocates from across India, and a few from beyond its borders, at the new Mumbai outpost of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of a two-day workshop organized by the Wilson Center and Maternal Health Task Force.In a country as sprawling and diverse as India, improving maternal health outcomes may seem like a daunting task. Yet, the country nearly achieved the ambitious Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters from 1990 to 2015, with a decline from 556 deaths per 100,000 live births to 174.The new target of the Sustainable Development Goals, which took over for the MDGs in 2016, is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 and reduce national mortality rates by at least two thirds from 2010 baselines. Doing so in India, while addressing the bevy of other maternal health-related SDG targets, will require a greater focus on equity.Aggregated national data obscures steep differences across socioeconomic lines, said experts. Not to mention, the mortality ratio alone does not provide a complete picture of the state of maternal health, leaving out quality of care and morbidities, among other challenges.Unanticipated ChallengesOne notable improvement during the MDG era in India was the increase in institutional deliveries. As of 2013, 83 percent of children were delivered in institutions. Workshop participants largely attributed this to the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) programs.Launched by the National Rural Health Mission in 2005, JSY is a conditional cash transfer program that offers financial incentives for pregnant women to use maternal health services and give birth at a medical facility. Also implemented by the National Rural Health Mission, the ASHA program trains rural women to act as liaisons between expectant mothers and the public health system, guiding them through the process and answering questions.According to workshop participants, though, too many poor women with little education – the targets of the JSY program in particular – are still being left behind. These women do not always receive payments, they said, due to administrative lags, and many are not able to travel to a health facility even if they do, thanks to poor roads and distant hospitals.Women in urban areas face different access challenges. As explored in a similar workshop convened in New Delhi by the Wilson Center, Maternal Health Task Force, United Nations Population Fund, and Population Foundation of India in 2013, India is urbanizing at a rate that is overwhelming many municipal governments. According to the minister of state for urban development, 60 percent of the population will live in cities by 2050. A dearth of quality, affordable, and accessible health services often greets women moving into informal settlement areas, exacerbating existing socioeconomic disparities and creating an “urban disadvantage.” Safety is also a major concern for urban women, who may have a theoretically short trip to the nearest clinic but must pass through dangerous areas, as well as find child care, said workshop participants.Furthermore, some women do not want to give birth in a hospital due to experiences with and perceptions of poor quality of care and disrespect. Many workshop participants expressed concern that moving from home deliveries attended by traditional birth attendants to institutional deliveries, without a proportional investment in health infrastructure and workforce training, has turned facilities into “factories.”“You want women to receive good quality care wherever they deliver,” said Dipa Nag Chowdhury, deputy director of the MacArthur Foundation’s India office. To deliver “patient-centered” maternity care that respects women’s choices, Chowdhury suggested developing more practical guidelines for care in low resource settings; developing more research proposals exploring equity issues; collecting more disaggregated data; and creating patient feedback mechanisms. Training more midwives could ensure that women who deliver at home also receive high quality care.Innovating to Put Women at the CenterThe good news is that researchers, advocates, and practitioners all over the country are rising to the challenge of designing and implementing interventions that are patient-centered and cognizant of the sociocultural determinants of health.In the west-central state of Maharashtra, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Maharashtra University of Health Sciences are working with medical colleges to dispel myths from textbooks and improve “gender sensitization and awareness” in the curriculum.Anuja Gulati, UNFPA’s state program coordinator for Maharashtra, described textbooks filled with sexist myths such as “spinsters, childless married women, and those who have not suckled their children” are the usual sufferers of breast cancer. UNFPA created a chapter for medical textbooks that includes modern information about maternal health as well as other related issues like gender-based violence and sex-selective abortion.Other organizations are working directly with patients. The Foundation for Mother and Child Health is setting up “pregnancy clubs” run by local women. During meetings, expectant mothers share knowledge about sex, nutrition, and health services among a trusted group of people, helping to ensure that no mother is left behind.The White Ribbon Alliance has developed a tool that allows women to call a toll-free line to report on the quality of care they received during labor and delivery at a facility. The project has been piloted in Jharkhand, a state with a maternal mortality ratio of 219, and women have been eager to participate, said Gogoi. Thus far, 73,000 women have made reports.Preliminary results indicate that women measure quality of care in terms of timeliness, respectful care without abuse (maintaining comfort, privacy, and confidentiality), and cleanliness of the facility, she said. One unanticipated finding was that it’s important to many women that hospitals have food, since they may have to spend several days there. The White Ribbon Alliance used the feedback to generate a patient satisfaction dashboard that they then took to hospital managers.Changing the HeadlinesSeveral workshop participants agreed on the importance of participatory feedback and community engagement. Moving from a strictly medical approach, focused on clinical interventions, to a community health approach is necessary to close the remaining maternal health gaps across this sub-continent. In many cases moving beyond low-hanging fruit will require addressing women’s interactions with their environment, culture, religion, and social networks.Such a change requires political will, and there’s considerable work to be done on that front, said Dr. Beena Joshi from the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health.Before recent state legislative assembly elections, many candidates prepared manifestos on health but none mentioned women’s health, primary care, or the continuum of care, she said. Meanwhile, the lead story of The Times of India on February 13 was “Space Odyssey: India Plans Trips to Venus, Mars,” reflecting a national excitement over India’s surging space program. When women are dying every day from giving life here on Earth, what do these silences say about our priorities, asked Joshi.Getting better data to government officials, empowering women as advocates, and combatting systemic sexism are the best ways to save mothers and newborns and change the headlines.Event Resources:Photo Gallery (Maternal Health Task Force)This post originally appeared on New Security Beat.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 4, 2017May 9, 2017By: Cassandra Morris, Program Officer, Gender and Reproductive Health, HealthBridge Foundation of CanadaClick 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)In recent decades, Vietnam has had remarkable success in improving maternal health, with the maternal mortality ratio declining 64% between 1990 and 2013. While this decline is impressive, the national figures obscure the persistent health inequalities that exist between the Kinh ethnic majority and Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups. Ethnic minority women are far more likely to deliver without the assistance of a skilled birth attendant (SBA) and face significantly higher rates of maternal mortality.For Vietnam’s ethnic minorities, their cultural preferences and traditions surrounding childbirth are often portrayed as obstacles to the uptake of maternal health services. One cultural preference that is viewed as a barrier to receiving maternal health care is the use of traditional birthing positions. During facility-based delivery, women in Vietnam (as in many countries) are expected to lie on their backs, in the supine position, to deliver their children. The supine position allows the attending health care professional to have a better, unobstructed view of the birth.Providing women-centered careThe optimal position for labor and delivery from a medical perspective has been studied extensively. While there are slight advantages and disadvantages to both supine and non-supine positions, the evidence does not support the routine use of the supine position. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the routine use of the supine position as a practice that should be eliminated.In 2016, WHO released “Standards for Improving Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Health Facilities,” which recommends that health professionals encourage women to “adopt the position of their choice during labor.” Despite these recommendations, many countries and health facilities around the world continue to dictate the routine use of the supine position for childbirth. In Vietnam, the National Standard Guidelines on Reproductive Health were recently updated in an effort to improve quality of care. However, these new guidelines continue to prescribe that women lie on their backs on a delivery table during childbirth.Mandating the supine position constitutes a failure to provide a person-centered approach to maternal care as it prioritizes convenience for the SBA over the comfort of women giving birth. For some of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups, this policy can also be culturally insensitive. A preference for traditional non-supine birth positions has been well-documented among several of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups.Respecting women’s preferencesIn northern Vietnam, research among Thai and H’mong women highlighted the importance of traditional non-supine delivery positions. H’mong women described delivering in a sitting or squatting position, aided by the use of a low birth stool. Traditionally during labor and delivery, Thai women maintain a kneeling position while grasping a strong woven cloth – called a pieu – that is suspended from the ceiling.In the South Central Coastal region, research among the H’re and Bana groups found that women unanimously preferred to deliver in their traditional non-supine positions, which were considered more convenient and comfortable. In addition to their own experiences during labor and delivery, women expressed a belief that giving birth in the traditional position makes the infant stronger.Preferences and traditions around the time of delivery are diverse among ethnic minority groups in Vietnam. Some customs require more ingenuity or resources—for example, those that involve the use of fire. However, there are many customs that can be adapted relatively easily to ensure culturally sensitive facility delivery, including traditions surrounding placenta burial, male involvement at birth and religious practices.Providing high quality care requires utilizing evidence-based policies that respect the cultural practices, preferences and needs of ethnic minorities. Positioning cultural preferences as a barrier to overcome represents a continuation of assimilation policies directed towards ethnic minorities. If, instead, the challenges of providing culturally sensitive maternal health services are viewed as the barrier, then the responsibility is shifted towards the health sector to provide higher quality, respectful and patient-centered maternity care.—Learn more about respectful maternity care.Access publications and news articles about maternal health in Vietnam.Share this:
Posted on April 10, 2017September 15, 2017By: Yvette Efevbera, Doctoral Candidate, 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)Fatimatah* was forced into marriage by her family at the age of 16. She described not wanting to marry: “I told him, ‘No, I do not love you, and I do not want that this is my husband. For now, I am going to pursue my studies, and even if I am going to marry, it is not with you. I do not love you.’”But she was already three years older than the age at which her sister was married, and her family said she had no choice. Fatimatah ran away from home, hid at neighbors’ houses and tried to finish her schooling, but was eventually forced to return home, where her family had already celebrated the traditional marriage.Married life for Fatimatah was physically and emotionally painful. Her husband was poor, and she was forced to find ways to earn money for her own livelihood; she still has scars on her head from carrying buckets of water and candies to sell over four miles a day. Her husband regularly beat her and threw objects at her, causing chronic back pain, headaches and sinus infections. Fatimatah suffered from three miscarriages that went untreated and is now told she cannot have children. She described her ailing physical health and overall wellbeing as consequences of her marriage.Unfortunately, Fatimatah’s story is not hers alone. Globally, one in nine girls marries before age 15, and about one in three marries before age 18. The majority of these child marriages occur in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In Guinea, a West African country recently devastated by the Ebola epidemic, more than 50% of girls marry early, despite that the legal minimum age of consent for marriage in Guinea is 18 years old.As Fatimatah’s case illustrates, early marriage puts young girls at risk of developing numerous negative maternal and reproductive health outcomes including early pregnancy, reduced contraceptive use and poor birth spacing. Studies have also found poorer maternal health-seeking behaviors among child brides, such as fewer antenatal visits and lower odds of deliveries with skilled birth attendants.Women who marry early may also have lower decision-making power and autonomy in the household, another pathway through which early marriage affects health. Like Fatimatah, young brides may be at increased risk of experiencing domestic violence. One study found that women who married before the age of 18 in India were almost twice as likely to have reported ever experiencing intimate partner violence in their married lives than those who married as adults. In addition to physical consequences, these interactions directly led to stress and depression, as described by Fatimatah, ultimately affecting socioemotional wellbeing.Risk factors for early marriage, as well as poorer maternal health outcomes, may be linked to education and poverty. In the African context, early marriage has accounted for up to 28% of school dropouts in some countries. Girls with primary education or no education are more likely to marry early compared to girls with secondary education, and secondary school attainment has been documented to be disrupted by the marriage, as illustrated by Fatimatah’s case. When girls are not able to complete higher levels of education, their opportunities to find employment and earn income are reduced. Lower income and education may affect maternal knowledge, behavior and accessibility to resources. Moreover, a mother’s education not only affects her own health, but also that of her children. Recent evidence from across sub-Saharan Africa illustrates that through reduced wealth and education, early marriage negatively affects early childhood development, creating an intergenerational cycle.When asked to share any positive experiences from her marriage, Fatimatah responded, “Yes, there were positive things: suffering. The suffering that I suffered there. It is that which gave me the courage to become what I would be tomorrow, or what I am today.”In some ways, her story might be considered a success. Her parents, fearing for her life, removed her from her marital home after five years. Her knack for entrepreneurship and her perseverance to study enabled her to make enough money to complete secondary school, national exams and eventually university. She was also able to start her own small organization and is now in a role that allows her to guide and council other young women.So what we can learn from Fatimatah’s experience? Child marriage cannot be viewed or treated exclusively as a human rights issue. The public health community must also address it from the perspective of maternal and women’s health.*Name changed to protect the identity of the participant. **Fatimatah’s interview is part of a larger qualitative study on child marriage, health and wellbeing in Guinea led by Yvette Efevbera. Most sincere thank you to Fatimatah for sharing her experiences, to numerous Guinean friends and colleagues who supported and encouraged this research and to Dr. Paul Farmer, Prof. Jacqueline Bhabha and Dr. Günther Fink for academic advising.—Access resources related to global adolescent sexual and reproductive health.Learn more about child marriage from UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on April 26, 2017April 26, 2017Click 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)While maternal mortality is declining in many parts of the world, underlying conditions affecting maternal health—such as diabetes in pregnancy—are often under-prioritized. Please tune in on 28 April for the first webinar in a three-part series, Diabetes in Pregnancy: An Epidemic Holding Back Progress, hosted by Women Deliver.The series will present the emerging evidence base, highlight promising programs and equip the maternal and newborn health communities with tools to spark greater action for addressing diabetes in pregnancy.In Part 1: Examining the Evidence, learn about the prevention, screening, treatment and management of diabetes in pregnancy to improve the health of women and newborns.REGISTERDetails28 April 2017 | 9:30am EDTSpeakersDr. Ana LangerDirector, Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public HealthDr. Gojka RoglicMedical Officer, Diabetes Unit, World Health OrganizationDr. Anil KapurChairman of the Board, World Diabetes FoundationDr. Hema DivakarConsultant Obstetrician and Medical Director at Divakars Hospital, Bengaluru, IndiaModeratorDr. France DonnayResources —Stay tuned for updates on the MHTF-PLOS Collection, “Non-Communicable Diseases and Maternal Health Around the Globe.” Infographic: Diabetes in Pregnancy ➔Infographic: FIGO Initiative on Diabetes in Pregnancy ➔Policy Brief: Improve Maternal and Newborn Health and Nutrition ➔Policy Brief: Ensure Access to Comprehensive Health Services ➔ Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 29, 2017December 20, 2017By: Samia Khatun, Project Manager, Global Safe Motherhood Projects, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)Click 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 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for a reduction in global maternal mortality to fewer than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. Achieving this target will require specific attention to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which is estimated to cause more than a quarter of maternal deaths worldwide. The burden of PPH is even higher in certain regions: In Eastern Asia and Northern Africa, more than 35% of maternal deaths are attributable to hemorrhage.A relatively basic set of interventions can dramatically reduce the rates of PPH, including skilled care before, during and after childbirth, active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) and, in many cases, administration of uterotonics. The preferred uterotonic of choice is oxytocin, which is delivered to the mother by intravenous injection immediately following delivery. Where oxytocin is not available, storage conditions are inadequate or health workers are not trained to administer it safely, misoprostol is currently the best alternative. Unlike oxytocin, misoprostol tablets do not need to be refrigerated or administered with a syringe, which can make it a more viable option in low-resource settings.In 2012, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) produced guidelines for the prevention and treatment of PPH with misoprostol along with a chart detailing recommended dosages of misoprostol when used alone for a variety of gynecologic and obstetric indications. In June 2017, FIGO released an updated chart informed by recent scientific evidence and developed through consultation with maternal health experts.The chart, divided into stages of pregnancy, outlines recommendations for dosages and routes of administration for misoprostol use for several indications including medically induced abortion, clinical management of miscarriage, cervical preparation for surgical abortion, fetal death, induction of labor and management of PPH. The chart has been endorsed by the FIGO Prevention of Unsafe Abortion Working Group and the FIGO Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health Committee.Some of the changes to this updated version include the addition of alternative routes for misoprostol administration and the introduction of secondary prevention of PPH. A group of experts agreed that secondary prevention of PPH is a strong, alternative approach to universal prophylaxis because it involves medicating far fewer women (only 5-10%), thus risking fewer adverse effects and substantially reducing costs.While the development of the dosage chart and its dissemination are critical steps in reducing the global burden of PPH, further work is needed to ensure that misoprostol is included in national essential medicine lists, high quality misoprostol is available—particularly in low-resource settings—and that health workers are trained to administer it safely.For more information, please contact Samia Khatun.—Download different versions of the new FIGO misoprostol charts in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.Learn more about the updated FIGO guidelines.Read about barriers to misoprostol use in developing countries.Access resources related to the maternal mortality targets under the SDGs.Share this:
Posted on September 29, 2017September 29, 2017By: Michael Ezeanochie, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, NigeriaClick 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)Shortages in the availability of well-trained health workers have been well documented in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Even in cases where there are relatively large numbers of health care providers, inadequate pre-service and in-service training, suboptimal proportions of different clinical specialties and a lack of strong health system support remain major challenges to providing high quality maternity care.The question therefore arises: How do developing countries facing severe shortages in well-trained, equitably distributed health workers ensure access to high quality maternal health care for all women?Perhaps the most logical long-term solution is to invest more resources into the expansion of training capacity to meet the health needs of the population. However, amid widespread poverty and competing needs for scarce resources, as well as migration of health workers across geographic boundaries, this may not be attainable for most developing countries. There are several other potential solutions that may be feasible in the short-term, which are currently being tested in Nigeria.The Midwives Service SchemeThe National Primary Healthcare Development Agency launched the Midwives Service Scheme in 2009 to expand skilled birth attendance to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality, especially in rural communities. Since 2010, more than 2,600 midwives have been recruited and deployed to over 650 rural primary health centers across Nigeria. The program incorporates training of midwives and medical officers to improve the quality of maternity care while strategically adding to the health workforce.West African College of Surgeons training program and curriculaLessons learned from the Midwives Service Scheme partly stimulated the development of other innovative strategies involving redistribution of the health workforce to rural areas. For example, the Faculty of Surgery, West African College of Surgeons revised its training program and curricula in 2016 to include a mandatory six-month “rural posting” for senior trainees before their exit fellowship exams. It is expected that this will make senior health workforce team members available in underserved communities to work with and mentor non-specialist physicians in the provision of maternal health services.The Volunteer Obstetrician SchemeSimilarly, the Volunteer Obstetrician Scheme (VOS) was launched in Nigeria in July 2016 as an initiative of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Primary Health Care Development Agency. Under VOS, experts in obstetrics and gynecology who work in referral hospitals volunteer to commit some of their regular work hours in designated lower level health facilities where they treat patients and provide in-service training. This program gives experts in obstetrics the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with caregivers working at community-based and primary health care centers.What is next?Nigeria, like many other developing countries in Africa, is confronted with severe health workforce shortages, but the resources needed to expand training capacity for health workers to meet the needs of the population are not readily available. Therefore, it is necessary to explore innovative solutions that maximize efficient use of the available health workforce, including redistribution to vulnerable communities. Programs like these could help to ensure equitable access to maternal health services with skilled providers. Rigorous research is needed to evaluate the effects of these interventions.Have you tried these strategies in your country? If so, tell us about it!—Read other posts from the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)’s Global Maternal Health Workforce blog series.Access resources related to the global maternal health workforce.Are you interested in sharing your perspective on the MHTF blog? Read our guest post guidelines and send us an email with your idea.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on October 25, 2017October 25, 2017By: Catharine H. Taylor, Vice President, Health Programs Group, Management Sciences for Health; Dai Hozumi, Senior Director, Health Technologies, Management Sciences for Health; JoAnn Paradis, Strategic Communications Advisor, Management Sciences for 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)Advances in health technologies have reshaped the lives of communities, families and individuals, undoubtedly contributing to better health outcomes around the world. For the most vulnerable populations, technology may significantly improve access to preventive, diagnostic and treatment services and help increase demand for greater quality care. Yet, despite their potential, new technologies can also add new challenges, risking potential gains in quality, safety or cost. Particularly in settings where health systems are weak, the introduction of technological interventions requires thoughtful execution.Take the case of ultrasound technology. Used during routine antenatal visits, ultrasound scans have the potential to change the scenario for many pregnant women who face complications. If combined with proper skills, knowledge and quality-assurance, this technology could help identify high risk pregnancies and establish an accurate gestational age in order to improve obstetric care. Many low- and middle-income countries are seeing a rapid introduction of this technology into their health systems, accelerated by a dramatic rise in demand that has been driven in part by medical staff, local advertising, falling prices and a greater availability and range of ultrasound devices.Yet ultrasounds are not proven to lead to better outcomes for women and newborns in low-income countries, and without the proper focus on their introduction and use, we risk the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems and expose women and newborns to unnecessary technological interventions. That’s why, just last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued recommendations on antenatal care endorsing one scan in early pregnancy in low-income countries alongside guidance for staff training and proper use of this technology.The realities on the groundWe recently visited a health center in the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, which had just introduced an ultrasound machine for antenatal care. Like many others, the doctor at this health center was looking to take advantage of this imaging technology to provide better care to his patients. Despite the guidelines calling for only one ultrasound scan in early pregnancy, a woman we met proudly shared with us four photographs she obtained through repeated scans, even though there were no abnormalities or issues identified throughout her pregnancy. We’ve encountered instances like these in several countries, bringing into question essential governance aspects including the right policies, oversight and mechanisms for evidence-based decision-making, and highlighting potential ethical issues around the use of this technology. Was the doctor equipped with the right skills or understanding behind the proper use of ultrasound? Were there additional unnecessary costs and burdens for the woman and her family, who may have been lulled into a false sense of security that repeated scans would ensure a better outcome for mother and baby?Given the WHO recommendation and the ubiquity of ultrasound devices, the real question becomes: How do we ensure health systems are robust enough to effectively and safely take advantage of this technology?There appear to be major gaps in policies, planning and oversight to support the introduction of ultrasound technology, especially outside the more specialized hospital setting. At Management Sciences for Health we support governments in their efforts to build strong adaptive systems that meet the needs of the populations they serve. The case of antenatal ultrasound highlights three specific issues:Adequate procurement and a strong supply chain: Our experiences in helping governments improve procurement and supply chain management highlight critical issues that affect how technology takes root and delivers on its potential. Ultrasound technology has advanced to allow for different types of imaging and functionalities, ranging in price from USD $2,000 to $15,000. Determining which one meets the specific needs of a local health system requires thoughtful procurement policies and effective distribution and placement. In addition to regular supplies such as jelly, paper towels, printers, etc., the processes and costs required to maintain the accuracy and sensitivity of the ultrasound equipment, including servicing malfunctioning machines, must be carefully considered within health systems – and these are influenced by the machine specifications. Of course, power supply requirements are also important considerations for health centers that frequently experience electricity outages and voltage fluctuations.A well-functioning referral mechanism: Because the effectiveness of this intervention relies on the ability of screened women to seek care depending on the screening results, it is also essential for a functional referral system to be in place. Health workers and sonographers must be able to support informed decision-making, and women with high risk pregnancies must be able to reach the referral hospital – one which must be equipped to handle the level of care that screening indicates, including emergency obstetric and newborn care. The value of the ultrasound screening is diminished when this is not in place, or when women are unable to cover the additional costs of transportation and hospital care and treatment. As illustrated in a study published recently on the implementation of ultrasound technologies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these challenges represent enormous barriers for the most vulnerable populations.Strong governance for health: As a screening tool, the ultrasound depends on a process or a decision-making algorithm that allows health workers to adequately act on the information gathered. Nurses and midwives – the cadres who might typically perform this intervention at health centers – must have the policies, consistent training and ongoing supervision to use the technology, analyze the results and take appropriate actions. These elements, and a sound system of quality assurance and data management, will protect the health of women and newborns and prevent health workers from misdiagnosing patients.Above all, to realize the power of technology in any setting, but most importantly in low-resource countries, we must understand their specific circumstances, and support governments to establish appropriate policies, good governance and ethical standards as a foundation for appropriate use of technology. This requires structural changes within the health system and partnership with businesses involved in the manufacturing and selling of ultrasound devices. Only then can we ensure that ultrasound technology – or any technology – delivers on its promise.This post originally appeared on Next Billion Health Care as “The Complex Truth of Health Tech: Why Greater Ultrasound Availability Doesn’t Always Benefit Patients.”Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 1, 2017January 2, 2018By: Staff, Maternal Health Task ForceClick 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 Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) is pleased to announce the launch of the fifth MHTF-PLOS Collection, “Non-Communicable Diseases and Maternal Health Around the Globe.” Read the open access papers that have been published in PLOS One as part of the collection so far:Maternal cancer and congenital anomalies in children – a Danish nationwide cohort studyCharacteristics of women age 15-24 at risk for excess weight gain during pregnancyInterventions to treat mental disorders during pregnancy: A systematic review and multiple treatment meta-analysisMaternal depression and anxiety disorders (MDAD) and child development: A Manitoba population-based studyAssociations between quality of life, physical activity, worry, depression and insomnia: A cross-sectional designed study in healthy pregnant womenImplementation of a diabetes in pregnancy clinical register in a complex setting: Findings from a process evaluationMaternal BMI and diabetes in pregnancy: Investigating variations between ethnic groups using routine maternity data from London, UKMetabolic markers during pregnancy and their association with maternal and newborn weight statusImpact of maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain on neonatal outcomes among healthy Middle-Eastern femalesPlease join the MHTF tomorrow, 2 November at 10:00AM ET for a live-streamed panel discussion to mark the launch of the collection. Tweet your questions to @MHTF using #MHTFPLOS.Additional papers will be added to the collection in the coming months. Subscribe to stay updated.—Learn more about the MHTF-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health.Read the MHTF Quarterly highlighting issues related to non-communicable diseases and maternal health.Share this:
Posted on January 12, 2018January 12, 2018By: 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)An estimated 2.6 million stillbirths occur every year across the globe, but many of them are not counted, reviewed or reported. The Every Newborn Action Plan proposed a target for reducing global stillbirths during the Sustainable Development Goal period from 18.4 stillbirths per 1,000 births to 12 or fewer stillbirths per 1,000 births by 2030. However, inaccurate reporting and inconsistencies with definitions are key challenges for tracking progress and achieving this target.In a recent systematic review, Reinebrant and colleagues examined the reported causes of stillbirth globally, revealing substantial data gaps.What are the causes of stillbirth?The authors reviewed 85 reports—28 from low-income countries (LICs), 20 from middle-income countries (MICs) and 37 from high-income countries (HICs)—containing data on nearly 490,000 stillbirths.Based on a subset of 33 nationally representative reports classifying roughly 250,000 stillbirths, the most commonly reported cause across all settings was categorized as “unexplained,” and many were listed as “other unspecified condition.” Other leading reported causes included antepartum hemorrhage, infection and hypoxic peripartum death. The relative proportions of these causes varied across high-, middle- and low-income countries.Data discrepanciesClassification systems and definitions for stillbirth varied substantially among regions. For example, while most LICs used 28 weeks’ gestation as a parameter for stillbirth, the majority of HICs used 20-24 weeks. This discrepancy makes it difficult to compare stillbirth rates across countries.The authors added,“Many countries, particularly those where the majority of stillbirths occur, do not report any information about these deaths. Where there are reports, the quality is often poor. It is important to improve the investigation and reporting of stillbirth using a standardized system so that policymakers and health care workers can develop effective stillbirth prevention programs. All stillbirths should be investigated and reported in line with the World Health Organization standards.”Identifying specific areas for improvement and interventions to address the global burden of stillbirth requires reliable data. Accurate, consistent and comprehensive reporting of stillbirths is essential for reaching the stillbirth target under the SDGs and is a reflection of a strong health information system.—Explore The Lancet series on ending preventable stillbirths.Learn about the World Health Organization’s efforts to help countries improve data collection on stillbirths.Are you working on preventing stillbirth globally? We want to hear from you!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 10, 2018August 1, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Mary Nell Wegner, Executive Director, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health Initiative; Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Vandana Tripathi, Deputy Director, Fistula Care Plus, EngenderHealthClick 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)Giving birth in low-resource settings comes with substantial risks to mothers and newborns. Women who experience prolonged or obstructed labor—in which the baby is blocked descending through the birth canal—and do not have access to high quality emergency obstetric and newborn care are at increased risk of developing obstetric fistula.The condition, an abnormal opening in the upper or lower female genital tract, leads to uncontrollable leakage of urine or feces. Many of these women have also had a stillbirth or developed other complications resulting from obstructed labor. Fortunately, obstetric fistula—a preventable condition that disproportionately affects the world’s poorest women—can be treated with skilled surgical care.Margaret, a 50-year-old mother of one, is among the women who received surgical fistula repair in Nigeria this year at a treatment center supported by the Fistula Care Plus project. In describing how she developed fistula, Margaret told staff, “After the doctor did a cesarean section and brought out my child, a few weeks later I could not control my bowel. I went back to the doctor … but he had no solution to the problem.”Iatrogenic fistula: A quality of care issueSurgery to treat obstetric fistula is often highly successful, but surgical error that occurs during other operations—such as cesarean section (c-section), hysterectomy or ruptured uterus repair—can lead to a similar condition: iatrogenic fistula.While the root causes of obstetric and iatrogenic fistula differ, both represent failures of the health system to provide women with timely, safe and appropriate care, and both have severe consequences.Women living with fistula experience unpleasant odor and wetness, often accompanied by pain, stigma, lack of autonomy and isolation. Many women with the condition must also grapple with poor mental health, relationship disruptions and economic challenges. Some women have reported pain, weakness and persistent stigma one year after fistula repair surgery.Fistula in any form has grave consequences for women as well as their children, families and communities. Evidence suggests that a growing number of genital fistula cases in low-income countries are being caused by surgical error, which means that more attention to iatrogenic fistula is urgently needed.While the exact global burden of iatrogenic fistula is unknown, the number of women with the condition appears to be increasing with the rise of obstetric and gynecological surgery around the world. In a study assessing nearly 6,000 women who underwent fistula repair surgery across 11 countries—from South Sudan to Afghanistan—about 13% of injuries were caused by surgical error. Recent reviews of fistula case records from three countries indicated large variations in rates—from 8% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to 27% in Bangladesh.Why is this happening?One of the main factors driving this trend is unsafe surgery. For surgery to be safe, it needs to involve a team of well-trained surgeons and other health care providers; a supportive health system; adherence to evidence-based policies and guidelines; access to anesthesia, essential drugs, supplies and equipment; hygienic conditions; electricity and a safe water source.But many health facilities in low-resource settings do not have some of the most basic resources, such as electricity and safe water. As Lauri Romanzi, project director of Fistula Care Plus, has said, “Nobody can work well, no matter how well-trained they are or personally motivated, when they don’t have an environment that works.”The role of rising cesarean section ratesAnother driver of the rising incidence of iatrogenic fistula is likely the growing pandemic of medically unnecessary c-sections.Researchers have been trying to understand what has been causing cesarean rates to skyrocket in so many countries and why rates between and among nations vary so widely—from less than 2% of births to greater than 40%. As this trend continues, more clinicians—especially those working in low-resourced facilities—will be confronted with conducting surgery under challenging conditions, possibly increasing the problem of iatrogenic fistula.Sustainable solutionsThere are three things we can do to reduce rates of iatrogenic fistula:Improve quality of surgical care. With the rapid expansion of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries must come improvements in quality of care. Advancing safe surgical practices for c-sections, hysterectomy and ruptured uterus repair is key to preventing more cases of iatrogenic fistula. The maternal health and safe surgery communities must collaborate to improve provider training, establish standardized surgical, anesthesia and obstetric criteria and routinely assess EmONC facilities for readiness and quality.Reduce unnecessary surgeries—such as c-sections—in the first place. In childbirth as in other health fields, averting unnecessary medical interventions is crucial. Strengthening the evidence base to support advocacy and empowering women to demand quality obstetric care are critical to prevent over-medicalization and, ultimately, reduce women’s chances of experiencing iatrogenic fistula. Additionally, providers themselves need support, through evidence-based guidelines for labor monitoring and clinical decision-making for delivery methods.Expand access to basic maternal health care. All women have the right to family planning to space desired births as well as quality midwifery services to reduce unnecessary c-sections and promote optimal birth outcomes.Standardizing classification and reporting of iatrogenic fistula is also necessary to better understand the scope of the problem, assess trends over time and respond effectively.Fortunately, Margaret accessed treatment and her iatrogenic fistula was repaired, but no woman should endure the pain and suffering of fistula—whether from childbirth or from unsafe clinical care. Surgeons and maternal health specialists must come together to ensure women’s access to health care that prevents and treats—but never causes—fistula.—This post was slightly edited and originally appeared on News Deeply | Women and Girls.Photo credit: Patients wait in a ward prior to undergoing obstetric fistula repair surgery at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala. AFP/Isaac Kasamani via Getty ImagesShare this:
Posted on March 1, 2018March 2, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, 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)Innovations in health care delivery are crucial to improving maternal health worldwide. Introduced in Northern Europe, Canada and the United States in the early 20th century—and now available in many areas around the world—maternity waiting homes (MWHs) provide a place for women at high risk of pregnancy complications to await labor and delivery near a qualified health facility. MWHs seek to reduce the distance to timely, high quality health care, which is often a major obstacle in the decision to seek care—especially for pregnant women living in rural areas. While the evidence on their effectiveness remains mixed, researchers have linked MWHs to reductions in maternal and perinatal mortality throughout Africa. Further research has explored the barriers that prevent use of MWHs as well as the factors that contribute to their uptake and success.Two open access studies recently published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth provide insight into MWHs through the lenses of women and other stakeholders. The first, a community-based cross-sectional study conducted in the Eastern Gurage Zone of Southern Ethiopia by Vermeiden and colleagues, explored factors associated with intended use of maternity waiting homes among more than 400 recently postpartum and pregnant women. The second, a mixed-methods, cross-sectional study in Zambia’s Luapula Province by Chibuye and colleagues, investigated both expectations as well as experiences of MWHs among women, community groups and traditional leaders. While the context of each study was distinct, the findings offer three keys to unlocking the full potential of maternity waiting homes around the world.Improve community knowledge and gain supportVermeiden and colleagues found that less than 10% of approximately 400 recently postpartum and pregnant women had prior knowledge about MWHs. This is consistent with previous findings. In Kenya, for example, researchers found that about a quarter of women they interviewed knew about the existence of a MWH two years after it was constructed.As outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) more than two decades ago, community and cultural support is a crucial element in the success of MWHs. In Zambia, support from community groups—including Safe Motherhood Action Groups, Neighbourhood Health Committee members and faith-based organizations—played a major role in the development, construction and operation of MWHs, as well as communication between the community and health staff.Address quality of care issuesAs with any service along the continuum of maternal health care, MWHs must meet women’s needs in a dignified, respectful environment. Even when the concept of MWHs is accepted and valued, poor quality of care can deter women from using them. Women and community groups in Zambia expressed the need for better infrastructure, services, food, security, privacy and transportation:“When I delivered last year, I went home immediately […] it was impossible to keep myself clean without water in the maternity ward and maternity home despite the midwife advising me to stay until the following day.”–Woman who gave birth at a rural health centerGiven that MWHs serve as a point of referral for nearby health facilities, efforts to improve quality of care must extend beyond the MWH itself. According to WHO, MWHs “…cannot function effectively in a vacuum. Rather, they are a link in a larger chain of comprehensive maternity care, all the components of which must be available and of sufficient quality to be effective and linked with the home.”As Vermeiden and colleagues articulated, it is vital to address the needs of the whole health system:“If the Ethiopian health care system is incapable of absorbing an influx of women for childbirth, encouraging women to use MWHs could lead to more women receiving substandard care, which may backfire on Ethiopia’s attempts to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.”Adapt to context and make it sustainableWorking with the local environment and culture is critical to the uptake and success of MWHs. In rural Ethiopia, for example, former traditional birth attendants have been trained to refer women to maternity waiting areas. In rural Liberia, collaboration between traditional midwives and skilled birth attendants along with the use of MWHs was associated with increased facility-based births and decreased maternal and perinatal death.Considering the health system structure and capacity is another fundamental element of success. Chibuye and colleagues found that most participants remained skeptical that women would pay for services at MWHs because the health system services for reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health are free of charge in Zambia. Securing funding from governments and other sources as well as establishing strong partnerships are also key to ensuring sustainability of MWHs.As Vermeiden and colleagues emphasize, “MWHs alone will not reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity; they are merely a tool to increase the number of women who are able to access care.” Efforts to gain community support and engagement, improve quality of care and leverage local context can help ensure that MWHs are effective in linking pregnant women to timely, life-saving services.—Learn more about maternity waiting homes>>Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 4, 2018May 4, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, 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)The Maternal Health Task Force’s Kayla McGowan recently had the pleasure of interviewing Saraswathi Vedam, Principal Investigator, Birth Place Lab, and Associate Professor, Division of Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia about her innovative study assessing the integration of midwifery across the United States (U.S.).KM: Your recent study, Mapping integration of midwives across the United States: Impact on access, equity, and outcomes, published in PLOS ONE took a first-ever look into the status of midwifery care in the health system and birth outcomes in every U.S. state. What drove you and your team of epidemiology and health policy researchers to conduct this research?SV: The idea for the AIM Mapping study started at a multi-disciplinary meeting we had back in 2011, the Home Birth Summit, where we had leaders from all kinds of perspectives, including clinicians—doctors, midwives and nurses—as well as health administrators, liability specialists, insurers, policymakers and researchers. Most importantly, we had an equal representation from consumers themselves and consumer advocates, so we had the whole system in the room—everybody for whom these issues of birth place have relevance. We realized that we were really talking about the whole maternity care system. There were many cross-cutting themes wherever people delivered.KM: And what came out of that meeting?SV: We found that a key challenge to delivering high quality care was the degree of integration, meaning the degree of communication and collaboration and systems that facilitated smooth transition from one setting to another or one provider to another or one system to another—that’s where the areas of disconnect, disarticulation and sometimes conflict often were.Our team—consisting of research, regulation/licensure and consumer experts—believed that if we could first define what we meant by integration, then we could start to see if there was a connection between model of care and outcomes.KM: Your team ranked each state according to the Midwifery Integration Scoring System (MISS), which measured scope of practice, autonomy, regulations and other indicators related to midwifery regulation, to get an evidence-based picture of the level of access to midwifery care in the context of state health systems. What were some of the states with both high and low scores? Were there any regional trends?SV: We found that there was a range of state integration scores from 17-61, but the total possible score was 100 points, so no state in the U.S. got a really high score. Across the states, Washington, New Mexico and Oregon had higher scores, while South Dakota, Alabama, North Carolina had the lowest scores. You can find an individual state score by looking at their report card on the website for my lab.As for regional trends, it depends on the outcome that you are looking at, but in general, the highest quartile of scores and optimal outcomes were in the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, New York and some places in New England. Generally speaking, the Southeast had the lowest scores and worst outcomes, but again, it depends on the outcome you are interested in.Midwifery Integration Map – Access and Integration Maternity Care Mapping (AIMM) StudyKM: What were the most important findings related to MISS scores and maternal and newborn health outcomes? Was any of this surprising?SV: The findings line up with international data (from The Lancet Series on Midwifery and Cochrane systematic review of midwife-led care). The U.S. is later to analyze this and has lower utilization of midwives as part of the health system compared to other high-resource countries. Other high-resource countries in which midwives have a more active role in the health system benefit from better outcomes. Studies have shown that when midwives are part of the system, there is a clear trend toward increased cost-effectiveness, and fewer interventions. Very serious outcomes such as preterm birth and mortality also seem to reduce, and it seems to be true whether or not you are looking at low-risk populations.Our findings are not surprising considering what has been shown for midwifery care globally. It’s not a big surprise to see that there were higher rates of breastfeeding, lower rates of preterm birth, lower rates of cesarean sections or induction, higher rates of spontaneous vaginal delivery and lower rates of neonatal mortality in states where integration of midwives was high.When you look globally, when midwives are involved in the care, everybody benefits, including those with moderate or greater risk factors for complications. It’s not that midwives are necessarily better at providing acute care, it’s that the model of care allows for more relationship-based care and more continuity. People tend to have more of a longitudinal relationship with care providers and are more likely to share information that allows for prevention or treatment. It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not midwives or doctors or midwives or specialists or family doctors or obstetricians—when everybody collaborates, when everybody is part of the system offering care, both outcomes and experience improve.KM: How might better integration of midwives in the U.S. address persistent racial disparities in maternal health—in which African American women experience a two to four times higher risk than white women for both maternal and infant mortality?SV: We realized that integration of midwives is not the whole story with respect to health disparities, so we looked a little further. Maternal and fetal wellbeing are affected by a complex set of inter-related factors, so, since. there has been a lot of discussion in the literature and press about the differential increased rates in adverse outcomes that African American families are experiencing in the U.S, we decided to focus on race. We found that states that reported higher rates of black births were also the states with poorer birth outcomes and lower integration. We wanted to discover how much of those differences in outcomes were accounted for by race alone, and how much of those differences could be accounted for by the degree of integration. After controlling for the effects of race, we found that about 38% of variance in outcomes could be accounted for by race alone. An additional 10-12% of the improvement in outcomes could be accounted for by the degree of integration of midwives. That is, if midwives were part of the system, outcomes such as preterm birth, neonatal mortality and breastfeeding improved by an additional 10-12%. It doesn’t tell the whole story, but it tells an important part of the story.KM: The study found that states with higher MISS scores had a greater concentration of midwives per state and higher proportions of midwife-attended births across settings. How might states with lower MISS scores adapt to follow this model?SV: Midwives want to practice to their full ability, so many are going to set up practices in places where they are able to do that autonomously. States that have lower integration scores and concomitant low density of midwives could maybe look at developing local midwifery education programs as well as looking into their statutes and regulations—and their interpretations—to see how those are creating barriers to practice and access across populations.KM: Findings from this study also informed an interactive map providing data on midwifery integration, as well as density of midwives, and access to midwife attendants across birth settings by state. What are the next steps in implementing these findings and tools?SV: We encourage people to explore the interactive map and state report cards to understand the impact of regulation in their own communities. We hope that this analysis will help to inform initiatives to improve access to and integration of all maternity providers across settings.It’s important to consider that regulations are constantly changing, and these tools are based on statewide data. The AIM Mapping Study findings can support evidence-based development of a regulatory and practice environment that supports interprofessional collaboration, and consequently better health for families.KM: What are the implications for maternal and newborn health in the U.S.? Are there any key takeaways that can be applied to maternal and newborn health in other areas of the world?SV: The key implications are that access to midwifery care has to be part of the conversation whenever we are looking at maternal and newborn health outcomes anywhere in the world. By applying the International Confederation of Midwives’ standards on a country-by-country basis, along with the MISS scoring system, we’ll start to understand how we can better utilize midwives to address some of the most challenging problems in maternal and newborn health.—Read the full paper: Mapping integration of midwives across the United States: Impact on access, equity, and outcomesTools[Video] Mapping Collaboration Across Birth SettingsState Report CardsInteractive MapShare this:
Posted on May 21, 2018May 22, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, 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)Amid persistent low coverage and poor quality of antenatal care (ANC) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)—and with recent guidelines from the World Health Organization calling for high quality ANC as well as more antenatal contacts—innovative approaches to delivering health care during pregnancy are needed. High quality ANC is not only vital to optimizing health during pregnancy, it also serves as an important touchpoint in the lives of women and families and can promote the use of health services in the future.Research in high-income countries has shown that compared to the traditional one-on-one model of ANC, group ANC—in which several women, typically of similar gestational age, gather for physical assessment, education, skill-building and peer support—can offer positive health outcomes such as decreases in preterm delivery, increased prenatal knowledge, higher rates of breastfeeding and higher engagement in care. CenteringPregnancy®, the model of group ANC for which the most evidence exists, was established to meet clinical guidelines for ANC in the United States. As such, most of the available evidence on group ANC comes from high-income countries and more research is needed to explore the feasibility, acceptability and effects of group ANC models in LMICs.A “generic” model of group ANC for low-resource settingsTo address this gap in evidence, researchers have begun exploring group ANC models in low-resource settings. A recent systematic review and evidence synthesis by Sharma and colleagues analyzed existing literature on group ANC in LMICs and extracted common attributes of models used to date in such settings. They synthesized descriptive data from group ANC experiences in 16 low and middle-income countries—derived from nine published papers and 10 key informant interviews—to develop a composite “generic” model of group care for LMIC settings. It outlines fundamental components that are consistent across all settings, as well as flexible components that may be adapted based on context. Standard components include providing a physical assessment during the group session, facilitating discussion to cultivate learning and peer support and incorporating self-care activities by women. The “generic” model includes 90-120-minute sessions with a group of 8-12 women of similar gestational age facilitated by the same two leaders (including one health care provider) for the duration of the program. Flexible components, such as the number of sessions and session content, may vary depending on the local guidelines and setting.As the authors note,“Several components of the ‘generic’ model aim to empower and support women. For example, engaging in discussion and shared care with other women of similar gestational age helps to normalize the experience of pregnancy and gives women a voice for knowledge sharing and a sense of community for support. The group format also fosters self-efficacy and social support for pregnant woman by creating a forum for participants to build skills and confidence, share experiences and resources and socialize with one another.”Adapting the model in India: Methods and resultsTo investigate whether this model would be possible and accepted by community members in an urban low-resource setting, Jolivet and colleagues conducted a feasibility study in Vadodara, a city of around 1.2 million in India, with both providers and beneficiaries. The researchers adapted the model to include four sessions (three antenatal sessions and one postnatal care session) and reflect local clinical care standards. Conducted at three different types of facilities where ANC services are commonly provided—a private maternity hospital, a public health clinic and a community-based mother and child health center—they demonstrated one session of the model to doctors and auxiliary nurse midwives, and to pregnant women and support persons. Focus group discussions, interviews and a survey collected feedback on participants’ perceptions about the group model specifically about the physical assessment, self-assessment (in which women measured their own blood pressure and weight), peer support and education components of the model as well as potential implementation challenges and solutions.According to the authors,“Ultimately, both groups of participants saw group ANC as a vehicle for delivering more comprehensive ANC services, improving experiences of care, empowering women to become more active partners and participants in their care, and potentially addressing some current health system challenges.”Overall, participants reported feeling comfortable with the physical assessment, and providers found the self-assessments to be a “novel idea… [that] helped women pay more attention and develop a feeling of ownership of their health information.” Women were enthusiastic about the model, offering solutions to facilitate its implementation, such as conducting sessions in the afternoons to accommodate women’s schedules and grouping women by common language in addition to gestational age.Despite some initial skepticism about group participation and engagement, providers found that most women were attentive and more than willing to share information and experiences with the group. Providers also expressed that the group model could meet the goals of high quality ANC while allowing more time for counseling and learning in an interactive format. As one provider reflected, “I could see that they were happy playing games and learning. It is a better way of teaching.”The findings from these studies can help drive further research testing the effects of group ANC in LMICs. The generic model suggests how researchers and programmers might approach or design group ANC in their own low-resource setting, while the feasibility study is a key step towards making group ANC accessible to women in urban India.The experiences of group ANC in low-resource settings, while limited, are quite promising. Forthcoming research will provide more insight into the effects of the group care model on coverage of recommended ANC contacts, provision of care, health system efficiency and responsiveness and—notably—women’s experiences of care.—Read the studies in full:Group antenatal care models in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic evidence synthesisExploring perceptions of group antenatal care in Urban India: Results of a feasibility study—Have you conducted research or participated in group ANC? Send us your feedback!Learn more about antenatal care>>Read about developing an adapted group antenatal care model for global implementation>>Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on July 27, 2018July 27, 2018By: Merce Gasco, Senior Technical Advisor, John Snow, Inc.; Natalia Vartapetova, Senior Technical Advisor, John Snow, Inc.Click 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 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) held its annual clinical and scientific meeting in April 2018 in Austin, Texas. It was encouraging to see that woman-centered care and disparities related to health were part of this year’s conversation.In addition to disparities, the meeting addressed family planning services and postpartum contraception risk-management. Presentations and discussions centered around underlying causes and prevention of maternal mortality as well as the growing knowledge base and recommendations for cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment.The focus on women’s preferences, values and goals—such as shared decision making, preference-sensitive care and non-directive counseling—in addition to medical knowledge and evidence, prioritizes well-woman care and applies to emerging areas of work in low- and middle-income countries.Health disparitiesIn the United States (U.S.), the risk of pregnancy-related death for black women is three-to-four times higher than that of white women. As such, we were pleased that there was deep analysis of the social determinants of health by socioeconomic background, race and age. ACOG is a leader in developing guidelines and protocols in the U.S., and it is promising to see positive results in maternal outcomes and improvement in health services for women who continue to receive poor quality care. ACOG is now expanding its program and adapting its guidelines and protocols to address the specific issues found in low-resource settings, including rural and urban areas of poverty in the U.S.Family planning risk-managementWhen it comes to providing a contraceptive method to women, and adolescents in particular, ACOG encourages clinicians to consider the benefit of providing a contraceptive method immediately (preventing unintended pregnancy) and not to postpone contraception while waiting for test results or gynecological examination. If there are no evident contraindications, its new guidance suggests that providing contraception at the time a young woman asks for it is preferable. This is a significant step for women, and we hope providers adjust their protocols using these new recommendations.Postpartum family planningPostpartum family planning was emphasized as a way to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. There are a variety of options available. For example, as long-acting methods such as the intrauterine device (IUD) have become more acceptable for providers and women over the last few years, and postpartum insertion proven safe and effective, more obstetricians and gynecologists are being trained in the method. There has also been increased advocacy for the method, and insurance companies in some states are now covering the cost of a second IUD after the first is expelled postpartum.Postpartum hemorrhageAs previously stated, there are concerns related to the World Health Organization’s weak recommendation of the use of tranexamic acid for the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). ACOG supported treating PPH with misoprostol and oxytocin. The title of one of the sessions, Rethinking Postpartum Hemorrhage Management: The role of Simple Technologies in Expanding Access to PPH Management, emphasized continued use of proven treatments.We are pleased that ACOG continues to evolve on issues from social determinants of health to guidelines that meet women and girls’ immediate needs. The information shared at the ACOG meeting is very useful for agencies working to improve maternal health in the U.S. and globally.—Access key resources from the meeting>>Watch conference-goers discuss key takeaways from ACOG 2018>>Learn more about maternal health in the United States>>Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:  Are men ready to use thermal male contraception? Acceptability in two French populations: New fathers and new providers Male Contraceptive Development: Update on Novel Hormonal and Nonhormonal Methods Modeling the impact of novel male contraceptive methods on reductions in unintended pregnancies in Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States Potential impact of hormonal male contraception: cross-cultural implications for development of novel preparations Update on male hormonal contraception Beyond the Condom: Frontiers in Male Contraception RISUG: An instravasal injectable male contraceptive https://www.parsemus.org/projects/vasalgel/ Why We Still Don’t Have Birth Control Drugs for Men Stealthing: What You Need to Knowhttps://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03452111 Efficacy and Safety of an Injectable Combination Hormonal Contraceptive for Men https://arstechnica.com/features/2018/02/more-than-half-a-century-later-wheres-the-male-pill/ Dundee University researchers start work on male pill Male contraception: Another holy grail https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/parsemus-foundation/ Reproductive Motivation and Family-Size Preferences among Nigerian Men ‘Rape-Adjacent’: Imagining Legal Responses to Nonconsensual Condom RemovalShare this: Posted on October 18, 2019October 18, 2019By: Emily Gerson, Click 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)Disclaimer: While we recognize that not all people with male sex organs identify as men, we will be using the terms “men/male” to refer to people with penises and “women/female” to refer to people with uteri. We apologize for the cis- and heteronormativity that this promotes.Although it is impossible to become pregnant without contribution from a man, the contraception industry has virtually ignored their role in procreation, leaving their options stagnant in condom use, vasectomies, and the withdrawal method. Men who have female partners are frequently involved in conversations regarding birth control, but a man educating himself and encouraging his partner’s usage is wildly different from actual willingness to subject himself to the arduous administration methods and unpredictable side effects that come to be expected with contraceptives.Research has demonstrated that men are not opposed to using contraception if it means safer sex and a shared burden between partners. Male contraception could revolutionize family planning; combining it with female contraception could relieve worry from partners where a woman uses the pill, or similar contraceptives with high user error rates. Still, a lack of knowledge and research holds back progress, and attitudes towards male contraception vary based on location and contraceptive. For instance, 44% of men in Hong Kong expressed willingness to try a male pill compared to 83% of white men in Cape Town, and 32% of men in Edinburgh expressed willingness to try an injectable compared with 62% of white men in Cape Town.This is not to say that research has not been done on this regard. In fact, international research into the idea of male contraception began in the 1970s, and there are numerous male contraception options in very early stages of development, with several drawing more attention than others.So, what are some of the products being tested? From injectables to thermal underwear, methods with varying amounts of hormones (as well as non-hormonal methods) have demonstrated effectiveness, with the drawbacks mainly being unpleasant side effects and demanding means of execution.Hormonal methods Male hormonal contraceptives work by suppressing gonadotropins (hormones which stimulate the activity of the gonads) release from the pituitary, inducing the suppression of spermatogenesis (the development of mature sperm cells). Thousands of healthy men have enrolled in clinical trials of male hormonal contraceptives with a nearly universal return of steroid production and spermatogenesis function once the contraceptives are stopped.Large, international studies have demonstrated testosterone’s efficiency in suppressing sperm concentrations, while further research has found that testosterone alone is not as efficient as testosterone plus a progestin, both in the rate and extent of suppression of spermatogenesis.Testosterone clears quickly from the system when taken orally, and multiple doses per day is impractical, thus rendering the implementation of a male pill improbable. Hormonal injections are among the most widely researched male contraceptive options, and have been found to be extremely effective, with sperm function returning to normal after discontinuation. In a trial evaluating a testosterone injectable, 61% of the 44 participants who completed the 1-year exposure period rated the injectable as excellent or good and 79% indicated that they would use it if it were available.The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Contraceptive Research And Development Program (CONRAD) analyzed testosterone undecanoate (TU) and norethisterone enanthate (NETE) in a large efficacy study, however after mild to moderate mood changes were noted in some of the participants, an external safety review committee recommended stopping further injections before the planned end of the study. The most common mood change, found in 16.9% of participants, was categorized as “emotional disorder,” with 63 participants ranking the disorder as “mild,” two ranking it as “moderate” and zero as “severe.” The next most common mood change was mood swings, found in 4.7% of participants, with 16 participants ranking the mood swings as “mild,” three ranking them as “moderate” and zero as “severe.”  Although the side effects seem tame when quantified like this, one participant is thought to have taken their own life and another attempted to do so during the trial. WHO and CONRAD will not be moving forward in clinical trials, as there is no more funding available to retest another formulation.Other methods of delivery are also being tested. Nestorone, a transdermal testosterone gel, showed effective suppression of gonadotropins when used for 20 days. With no injections necessary, the gel would be widely accepted, and an encouraging trial showed that most failure was due to inconsistent or nonuse of products, not failure of product’s effectiveness. Nestorone is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials.Non-hormonal methods Perhaps the most recognizable non-hormonal method is RISUG, an injectable form of long acting reversible contraception (LARC) that began development in India in the early 1980s. RISUG has been in clinical trials for decades, with Phase 1 and Phase 2 published in 1993 and 1997, and Phase 3 in 2003. The longest duration of the RISUG bearer was over 13 years.Intellectual property rights to RISUG were acquired by NGO Parsemus Foundation in 2010. Parsemus used the RISUG technology to create Vasalgel, which claims to have a different polymer and formulation than RISUG. Parsemus has performed preclinical studies in rabbits and monkeys, and intends to begin trials in humans in 2020, although human trial start dates had previously been projected for 2018 and 2019. According to the Parsemus website, “The procedure is similar to a no-scalpel vasectomy, except a gel is injected into the vas deferens (the tube the sperm swim through), rather than cutting the vas (as is done in vasectomy). If a man wishes to restore flow of sperm, whether after months or years, the polymer would be dissolved and flushed out.” However, until drug companies choose to allocate funds to and put priority on testing Vasalgel, progress will be extremely difficult.Another fascinating non-hormonal option is thermal contraception. This is based on the notion that in human males, testicular temperature is 2-5 degrees Celsius lower than core body temperature, so when testicular temperature is increased, sperm output is reduced. Specific thermal underwear lifts testes closer to the body and warms them by 2 degrees Celsius. A French study found that males enjoyed that the underwear was natural and non-invasive but expressed concern over the need to wear it continuously.So, what’s stopping progress?Researchers have been playing around with the idea of male contraception for decades, but a lack of urgency surrounds the issue. Regardless of ample enthusiasm for the idea, the fact remains that pursuing male contraceptives like the ones described above would involve significant effort on the part of both male volunteers and the male-led pharmaceutical industry. Myriad hormonal and non-hormonal methods have been studied at least partially, but these studies receive little funding and almost no media attention, and abandonment and incompletion are rampant. Public access to male contraception requires completed and successful clinical trials, which in turn require significant funds and far more participants. Pharmaceutical companies have expressed little interest in male contraception, presumably because the complex drug would not become profitable for many years.Clinical trials that managed to amass the funding and subjects have been cut short due to side effects, such as mood swings, that are frequently associated with female hormonal contraception methods that millions use every day. Should men have to deal with the same side effects women do for the sake of family planning? Well, the flaws in female contraception, despite their use as an argument for leniency in male contraception development, also detract from funding towards male birth control, as better, more effective female contraception is also a public health goal. Sure, women endure severe adverse effects in the name of family planning, but they also have far more at stake, leaving them more likely to deem the side effects worth the risk.Organizations that fund contraception research and promotion are unlikely to divert all of their focus away from women’s health and onto men’s when there is still so much work to be done in achieving access to the family planning options already on the market. Yet, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation have both directed funds towards male contraception research. It’s important to note, though, that female contraception and its role in empowering women from low resource areas continues to be of higher priority.Further, male contraception would not eliminate, or even necessarily reduce, the need for female contraception. Even in a hypothetical near future where male birth control is cheap, safe, and accessible, for men to become the sole bearer of contraceptive responsibility the hypothetical future would also need to be one where women can trust the intentions of all men that they are sexually intimate with. Unfortunately, the latter concept proves to be elusive. It is impossible to tell if a potential partner has a long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), like Vasalgel, and a pill would be easy to lie about having taken. With their bodies, finances, and futures on the line, women might not trust that men are telling the truth. With the prevalence of “stealthing,” the act of secretly removing the condom without the knowledge of the partner, this is not an unfounded fear. Research has shown that men generally desire larger families than women do, and in many cultures women are left out of reproductive decisions. “Stealthing” is rooted in the patriarchal notion that man’s pleasure and his “right” to extend his bloodline justify violating a woman’s bodily autonomy. Covert male contraception could make the abusive behavior even easier. Men are not the only perpetrators of reproductive manipulation, however. Male contraception would grant agency to men who fear being coerced into fatherhood by a deceptive partner. They would not have to carry the child, but fatherhood is itself far too heavy of a responsibility to risk if one is not fully prepared.Though male birth control would not replace its female counterpart, significant interest has been gauged due to the anticipated benefits. While male contraception is unlikely to be publicly available any time soon, it is not yet a lost cause. Nestorone transdermal gel’s clinical trial is estimated to complete by 2021, and Parsemus is currently accepting donations to fund its research. Very recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allotted a grant of about $900,000 (£716,670) to Dundee University in Scotland for research into a male pill. The progress may be slow, but the science is there, and it is promising.
Going to watch the football on matchday is almost always an unforgettable experience, made even more special with the buildup of fan atmosphere, pre-match excitement – and, of course, the sheer magnitude and beauty of the stadium.Football boasts an incredible roster of impressive stadiums and grounds, and sometimes, the utter immensity of them can be overwhelming.Certain stadiums are as iconic as the clubs and teams that they host, with the England national team ‘s home of Wembley Stadium in London and Barcelona’s Camp Nou one of the most famous and historic in the world. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Goal rounds up the world’s biggest stadiums in terms of seating capacity, counting down from the top 20.Top 20 largest stadiums in the worldYou might be surprised to learn that the world’s largest stadium is North Korea’s Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, otherwise known as the May Day Stadium.North Korean officials claim that the stadium supposedly has a capacity of 150,000 people, but its real capacity is under 114,000. Even so, it is still the world’s biggest venue by a few thousand.The May Day Stadium’s first event was the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. It also hosted the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Pyeongyang.Other notable stadiums include Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia, followed by Barcelona’s home of Camp Nou.South Africa’s FNB Stadium, which hosted several 2010 World Cup games including the final, also makes the top 10, followed by California’s Rose Bowl and London’s Wembley Stadium. Rank Stadium Capacity Location 1 Rungrado 1st of May Stadium 114,000 Pyongyang, North Korea 2 Melbourne Cricket Ground 100,024 Melbourne, Australia 3 Camp Nou 99,354 Barcelona, Spain 4 FNB Stadium* 94,736 Johannesburg, South Africa 5 Rose Bowl 90,888 Pasadena, California 6 Wembley Stadium 90,000 London, England 7 Estadio Azteca 87,523 Mexico City, Mexico 8 Bukit Jalil National Stadium 87,411 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 9 Borg El Arab Stadium 86,000 Alexandria, Egypt 10 Salt Lake Stadium 85,000 Kolkata, India 11 ANZ Stadium 84,000 Sydney, Australia 12 MetLife Stadium 82,500 East Rutherford, New Jersey 13 Croke Park 82,300 Dublin, Ireland 14 Signal Iduna Park 81,365 Dortmund, Germany 15 Stade de France 81,338 Saint-Denis, France 16 Santiago Bernabeu 81,044 Madrid, Spain 17 Luzhniki Stadium 81,004 Moscow, Russia 18 Shah Alam Stadium 80,372 Shah Alam, Malaysia 19 Estadio Monumental “U” 80,093 Lima, Peru 20 San Siro 80,018 Milan, Italy *FNB Stadium became the largest stadium in Africa with a capacity of 94,736, though, its maximum capacity during the 2010 World Cup was 84,490 due to allocated seating for the press and other VIPs members.
Paris Saint-Germain have been fined €2,000 after their fans aimed an offensive banner at Neymar during their Ligue 1 win over Nimes.Neymar, 27, was targeted by fans during the 3-0 victory at Parc des Princes on August 11 amid growing speculation he wants to leave PSG.One banner urged the Brazil forward to leave the Ligue 1 champions, while another expressed dissatisfaction with his behaviour. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Chants of “Son of a bitch” also rang out in the stands among home fans incensed at the failure of the player to commit his future to the club this summer..The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) Disciplinary Committee announced sanctions on Wednesday, handing PSG a fine.”Behaviour of the supporters of Paris Saint-Germain: use of pyrotechnic devices and deployment of an offensive banner,” part of a statement read.”€2,000 fine for Paris Saint-Germain.”Neymar is yet to play for PSG this season amid reports he will return to Barcelona or join LaLiga giants Real Madrid.The saga is seemingly no closer to ending despite the transfer window closing on September 2.Neymar has scored 51 goals in 58 games since joining PSG in a world-record €222 million move two years ago.But he is yet to appear in the 2019-20 campaign after suffering an injury during Brazil’s preparations for the Copa America in June, as PSG kicked off their Ligue 1 defence with mixed fortunes. That 3-0 defeat of Nimes was followed by a humbling reverse at the hands of Rennes, who upset the champions 2-1 on Sunday.
Real Betis coach Rubi has joked he hopes Barcelona star Lionel Messi comes down with a cold ahead of his expected return from injury in La Liga on Sunday. Messi missed the Catalans’ season opener last weekend through a calf complaint, with Athletic Bilbao claiming a late 1-0 win in his absence. Much to Rubi’s dismay, the Argentine attacker has returned to full training and will likely play some part against Betis. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? While he accepts Messi could well start the contest, Rubi has his fingers crossed a flu might just strike him down and give his side one less thing to worry about. “I think Messi is going to play from the start. It’s what I think,” Rubi said. “I’d prefer Messi to have a cold, not an injury, but a cold so he cannot play. “We have to go with a point of courage but knowing that any player they put out will be good. “If you go with excessive respect you are losing 1-0. You have to be brave but not commit nonsense, because they will take advantage of that.” Betis began their La Liga campaign with a 2-1 loss to Valladolid having finished last season in 10th where they did claim a surprise 4-3 win over Barcelona in November. Rubi, who joined the club in June from Espanyol, was asked to weigh in Barca’s protracted pursuit of Neymar and declared it can only help the Catalans to have such a player. “I am nobody to say if Barcelona should sign Neymar or not, but I have worked with him and he is one of the five best in the world,” he said. “Having one of the five best in the world is wonderful.” While the Catalans remain in a transfer battle for the Brazilian, Ernesto Valverde will be hoping his side can bounce back quickly from their shock loss to Bilbao. Barcelona eased to the La Liga title last season, finishing 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid, and are now looking to claim the Spanish top-flight for a third straight season. With Atletico and Real Madrid both claiming wins in their opening games, this is the first time Messi has ever seen his side trail both by three points.
Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez says returning to play at the Santiago Bernabeu was a ‘unique feeling’ despite the team failing to grasp all three points.The 28-year-old started a Madrid match for the first time since May 2017 as Los Blancos drew 1-1 at home to Real Valladolid in La Liga action on Saturday.James spent the last two seasons out on loan with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who opted against triggering their purchase option and instead made a move for Philippe Coutinho. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The Colombia star looked poised to join either Atletico Madrid or Napoli, however, he has been reintegrated into the first team squad and played 57 minutes for Zinedine Zidane’s men in the Spanish capital.”Back at the Bernabeu after a long time,” James wrote on Twitter post-match.”It was a unique feeling. Thanks to the fans for the support.”We will continue to work in order to improve.”Después de un largo tiempo he vuelto al Bernabéu. Ha sido una una sensación única. Gracias a la afición por el cariño. Seguiremos trabajando para mejorar. pic.twitter.com/xaf0WMOeHI — James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) August 24, 2019 Despite the return to the starting side, Zidane said after the match that the Colombian was taken off as a precaution against injury. “James played a good match, he left the pitch because he was a little hurt and we prefer to not take risk,” he told reporters. “But he did a good job, especially in the first half.” Following a 3-1 opening weekend win against Celta Vigo, it looked as Real were headed for two consecutive wins when Karim Benzema put them 1-0 up with eight minutes to play. But Zidane’s side failed to deal with Real Valladolid’s response, as Sergi Guardiola equalised with a low shot under Thibaut Courtois’ body in the 88th minute. James was joined in the first team by another player who was previously expected to leave the club in Gareth Bale. Bale, who was tipped to head to China recently, played 90 minutes but couldn’t match his opening game performance against Celta, when he got an early assist for Benzema. James’ return to the Real first team comes after a previous season in which he made 20 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, scoring seven goals. He also scored seven league goals in 23 Bundesliga matches during the 2017-18 after helping Madrid to Champions League glory the season prior. Real will attempt to get back on the La Liga winners list with a trip to Villarreal on Sunday before the FIFA international break.
When Gabriel Jesus’s injury-time winner against Tottenham was ruled out by VAR, it not only robbed Manchester City of two points, it blighted the brilliant start the Brazilian badly needs.Jesus had already had a goal chalked off for a microscopic offside decision in the Premier League opener at West Ham. A winner against a title rival would have made up for that but, when VAR spotted the ball glancing Aymeric Laporte’s arm in the build-up, a late winner was dramatically ruled out for a second successive game against Spurs.City’s No.9 couldn’t hide his frustration, berating referee Michael Oliver, who stood stoically with his finger jammed in his ear. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? This is a big season for Jesus if he is to fulfil his potential as the long-term successor to Sergio Aguero at the Etihad.Aguero is now 31 and shows no signs of letting up his incredible strike rate, with last season his fifth in succession when he hit more than 20 Premier League goals. He has two already this campaign – ironically benefitting from a VAR decision when his missed penalty at West Ham was ordered to be retaken.But Aguero has two years remaining on his contract and hopes to return to his boyhood club Independiente when it runs out , and City will be already scouting potential candidates to replace him.Where any new signing will sit in the pecking order will depend on Jesus’s performance over the next few months.City have huge faith in the long-term future of Jesus, rewarding him with a new five-year contract in 2018 as the club moved to tie down the majority of their exciting young talent.“Gabriel is undoubtedly one of the best young forwards in world football,” director of football Txiki Begiristain commented at the time.He is still only 22 despite being a veteran of three league titles – two with City, one in Brazil with former club Palmeiras – a successful Copa America and a far less successful World Cup.And there’s an excitement amongst insiders at the club’s training ground that this is the season when Jesus will take the next step to becoming a star.His return comes on the back of leading the attack in his home country as Brazil secured their first Copa America for 12 years with goals in each of the victories over Argentina and Peru in the semi-final and final respectively.Previously he had started campaigns in difficult periods. In his first full season he returned to the miserable Manchester weather in August 2017 as a young man and without his close circle of friends and beloved mother Vera Lucia. It wasn’t until they arrived in mid-December that he was able to find his very best form.Another setback followed the next summer when he was singled out for criticism after Brazil’s dismal World Cup campaign when he failed to score. “I went to the World Cup as a key player and I ended up not scoring. It affects you,” he admitted afterwards. Despite that, he finished last season with a solid return of 21 goals and shone at Wembley in the FA Cup to help City to the third leg of an unprecedented domestic treble, scoring twice in the final against Watford and the only goal in the semi-final victory over Brighton.After reproducing that form at the Copa, there’s a buzz about the way Jesus has returned excited and energised with a feeling that he is fully ready to step out of Aguero’s shadow.Pep Guardiola played down a touchline tiff with the Argentinian after substituting him in the draw with Spurs but there’s no doubting that Jesus looked sharper and more dynamic as his replacement.For the first time since his very earliest days at the club, Jesus could claim to be the go-to striker for City’s trip to Bournemouth on Sunday.It was at the same venue in February 2017, just three games into his City career, when Jesus was justifiably picked as the No.9 while club legend Aguero cut a glum figure in the ugly Vitality Stadium dugouts.A blistering 4-0 victory away to West Ham the week before saw Jesus, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling match hard work with devastating speed and quality, just as Guardiola had demanded and Aguero had seemingly struggled to produce.But 15 minutes into that game at Bournemouth, Jesus hobbled off with a broken metatarsal that would keep him out for two months of the season and Aguero responded to Guardiola’s gameplan with possibly his best individual performances of his City career.Since then, Jesus has largely been the stand-in – a cover for injuries, cup ties and busy schedules.The Brazilian is happy at City, but not content to play back-up forever.”I want to be involved and I want to help my team-mates, respecting my manager,” he said in the summer. “But of course I’m hoping to get minutes.”Last season I didn’t play as much, but I expect and wish to play a little more, not to put pressure [on Guardiola], but on myself. Sometimes I don’t play as much as I wanted because of me. I have got to be strong and work hard. If I get the chance, I won’t let it go.”His happiness and determination has been picked up by coaching staff and he now feels more comfortable in Manchester being able to communicate in English as well as an expanded Portuguese-speaking influence at the club.If he is to convince Guardiola and the City hierarchy that he is ready to shoulder the load of being the top striker at a club intent on domestic domination and competing for Champions Leagues on an annual basis, this is the season.City have shown they are eager to use the transfer market to keep getting stronger and will do so again when the time comes to replace Aguero. Jesus is determined to prove that his successor is already at the club. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Portuguese prodigy Joao Felix can become ‘one of the best’, according to Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.Atletico beat Leganes 1-0 in La Liga on Sunday courtesy of a second-half goal from Vitolo, who was played in by €120 million (£109m/$134m) signing Felix for the decisive strike.Oblak heaped praise on the 19-year-old’s performance while hailing the team’s game management across a contest in which they survived 10 attempts on goal from Leganes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? “I knew he had great talent, great potential,” Oblak said of the Portugal international, who joined from Benfica in the recent off-season.”The club has made a lot of effort to bring him here and we all agree that they have brought a high-quality player and that he can become one of the best, for sure.”At the moment he is playing very well and hopefully he continues like this, giving us joy.”It was a complicated game. Any team will have problems here against Leganes. “Vitolo came on and scored the winning goal but in general the whole team played in the best possible way. We have defended well, we have suffered.”It is important to know how to suffer because you cannot dominate the whole game.”Atletico coach Diego Simeone echoed Oblak’s comments about Leganes, against whom he fielded a back three rather than his usual four.The approach paid off as Atleti ground out a second win in as many games.Simeone told reporters: “We needed to win and tried to do so in different ways. We changed things around and we won.”Leganes never allow you to relax – they’re very strong at home.”Atletico had 58 per cent possession during the match but struggled to convert than into attacking chances with Leganes having 10 shots to six and winning nine corners to four.Having also achieved a 1-0 result against Getafe on opening weekend, Atletico currently sit second in La Liga behind Sevilla – who hold a plus-one goal difference advantage.They are also ahead of Real Madrid (third) and Barcelona (ninth) and will be keen to maintain that advantage when they host Eibar at the Wanda Metropolitano on September 1.
Romelu Lukaku scored on his Inter debut as Antonio Conte’s reign began with an impressive 4-0 victory over Lecce at San Siro.Club-record signing Lukaku started up front on Monday with former captain Mauro Icardi left out of Conte’s squad amid continued uncertainty over his future at the club.Marcelo Brozovic and Stefano Sensi struck excellent goals in the space of four first-half minutes then Lukaku snaffled a rebound for his maiden Inter goal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Promoted Lecce’s day went from bad to worse when substitute Diego Farias rightly saw red for a terrible tackle on another new Inter arrival Nicolo Barella, before Antonio Candreva’s 84th-minute stunner from range.Inter, who had to replace Stefan de Vrij with Andrea Ranocchia after the Dutchman’s injury in the warm-up, took time to find their feet but scored the first goal of the Conte era in the 21st minute.Brozovic bent home a beauty from just outside the area and it was soon 2-0 thanks to another excellent strike, as Sensi scored on his first appearance.The midfielder, who joined Inter on loan from Sassuolo in July, advanced into space and arrowed a 20-yard drive into the bottom-left corner.Marco Calderoni thumped a shot just wide as Lecce briefly threatened early in the second half but a long-range Lautaro Martinez shot was spilled by debutant goalkeeper Gabriel and former Manchester United striker Lukaku reacted quickest to slot home the loose ball on the hour mark.Inter were cruising thereafter and Conte replaced Matias Vecino with Barella, who was the victim of an awful lunge that saw Farias dismissed in the 76th minute.Substitute Matteo Politano had a fine goal ruled out for Lukaku being offside, but Candreva added late gloss to the scoreline with a 30-yard thunderbolt that ripped into the top-left corner.What does it mean? Good signs for ConteInter are being widely backed as the most likely contenders to usurp Juventus thanks to the arrival of Conte – a three-time Scudetto-winning coach with the Bianconeri.He used his typical system of three at the back and although Inter initially showed signs of nerves they went on to dominate Fabio Liverani’s side, who almost certainly face a relegation battle after successive promotions.Lukaku finds early formHaving lost his place at Old Trafford last term, there were suggestions an old-school style operator like Lukaku could find himself left behind as elite European teams seek more mobile strikers to lead the line.But Conte has always preferred a strong “reference” point for his attack and Lukaku fits that billing, with the Belgium international impressing when he dropped deep to link the play and showing a poacher’s instinct to open his Nerazzurri account.Gabriel’s dream debut falls flatThere was nothing Gabriel could do about Inter’s first two goals, but any slim hopes of a Lecce fightback died when he pushed Martinez’s effort back into the danger zone. The former AC Milan keeper will not have happy memories of his return to San Siro.What’s next?Inter return to action on Sunday with a trip to Cagliari, who signed Radja Nainggolan on loan during the close season, while Lecce will hope for a fairer test of their top-flight mettle when they host Verona on the same day. read more
For a man not known for openly praising players, Jose Mourinho perhaps put it best when describing Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic. “I’ve wanted to say this for a long, long time,” the Portuguese began during an appearance on beIN Sports in March. “Rakitic is one of the most underrated players in the world.“He is a fantastic player at every level: he does defensive work on the right side to compensate for [Lionel] Messi, he runs miles. In ball possession, he’s fantastic. He’s simple. He’s effective.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Since moving to Camp Nou in 2014 from Sevilla, Rakitic has won four Liga titles, four Copa del Rey trophies and the Champions League – a collection of silverware that should demand respect. Yet, despite playing a key role in Barcelona’s recent success, the Croatian has been underappreciated by the majority of the Catalan faithful, and horribly mistreated by a select few.Though playing 54 games for the club last season in all competitions, scoring five goals and contributing 10 assists as a central midfielder, Rakitic has been deemed surplus to requirements by the Blaugrana board.In their desperation to re-sign Neymar, Barca are offering Rakitic as a makeweight.Of course, the 31-year-old is no stranger to being linked with moves away from Camp Nou. “I am used to seeing my name mentioned [in transfer stories] every season,” Rakitic said in July.”Since I got here, it has always been the same. I spoke with the club and with [Ernesto] Valverde and my idea is to stay here and its the club’s plan too, but I am open to everything.”Indeed, Rakitic is now ready to leave the Blaugrana, with the only stumbling block in relation to his move to Paris the length of the contract on offer. The Croat wants a four-year deal; PSG are presently only willing to offer him three years.He would be missed at Camp Nou, at least on the field.Happily pulling the strings in midfield as he allows the likes of Messi and Luis Suarez to shine, the midfielder has never looked for the limelight but deserves far more praise than he receives. Upon arriving from Sevilla, Rakitic very quickly proved his worth by playing a crucial role in Barca’s 2015 Champions League triumph, notably scoring the opening goal in the final against Juventus.From that point on he’s made himself one of the most reliable players at Camp Nou. While rarely stealing the show, Rakitic has rarely missed a game, playing over 50 matches each season, and, in the process, provided the side with a key point of stability following the departure of veterans like Xavi and Andres Iniesta.But despite becoming such an integral part of the Catalan’s side, Rakitic has somehow – along with Valverde – become the focus of Barca fans’ frustration with their side’s inability to add to their European Cup collection.Just after last season’s shocking semi-final capitulation at Anfield, when the Catalans blew a 3-0 first-leg lead over Liverpool, Rakitic was confronted by an angry group of ultras at his own home.The mob was upset that he had travelled with his family to a fair in Seville the day after the game. It was deemed symbolic of his perceived lack of commitment to the cause.However, despite his laconic style, Rakitic has never treated playing for Barcelona as anything other than a privilege.“I’ve had four and a half years here that have been so good,” he told GQ in April.“I’m part of the biggest team in the world and that makes me very proud. I love football. A lot. It still feels amazing to be able to play football every day and if you love something then you tend to be better at it. I would never describe football as a job because it doesn’t feel like a job.”But I also know that there’s a responsibility to play here, that people are looking at you every minute and that they want to know what you are doing. “Every player is different but I try to treat everyone the same. On a day-to-day basis, I come across other footballers and club staff and I try to treat all the same, from the security guard to Lionel Messi.”Rakitic once recalled his seven-month pursuit of his now-wife Raquel Mauri.The Croatian first spotted the Spaniard serving at a bar in Seville and returned every day for months in an attempt to convince her to go on a date with him. “I was drinking so much coffee it was ridiculous. I probably asked her out 20 or 30 times,” Rakitic wrote in The Players Tribune. “It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. It was harder than winning the Champions League, and it took nearly as long.”Ultimately, Rakitic eventually won Mauri over by improving his Spanish just to speak to her in her native tongue. The pair are now happily married and the proud parents of two daughters. That touching tale of perseverance had a happy ending. But Rakitic’s relationship with Barcelona’s fans looks set to end in a messy divorce.Even a quick look at his mentions on Twitter this week illustrates just how desperate the more unsavoury element of Barcelona’s online support is to see Rakitic gone.He does not deserve such vitriol. He has represented the club with great class. The same cannot be said of many of the club’s supposed supporters.Rakitic will be better off without them.
Chelsea’s Tiemoue Bakayoko has completed his medical and signed for his former club Monaco on loan with a €42.5m (£38m/$46m) option to buy. The 25-year-old attempted to impress new manager Frank Lampard in pre-season but he failed to make the required impact to return to the Blues first team. If Monaco pay the €42m fee at the end of the season, it would make Bakayoko their third most expensive signing of all-time, after just Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The Provincial club see the return of the powerful midfielder who broke through at the club and played 84 times. He played a major role in Monaco’s Champions League run of 2016-17 that led to the Blues paying £40m ($49m) to sign him that summer. However, he has quickly been deemed surplus to requirements by yet another manager after struggling under Antonio Conte and being loaned out to AC Milan under Maurizio Sarri. Bakayoko has played just 43 times for Chelsea and Kenedy could be the next first-team star to exit the club ahead of the European transfer window closure on 2 September. Paris Saint-Germain and Galatasaray both explored the option to sign Bakayoko on loan, but PSG opted to move for Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye for €35m (£32m/$39m) instead. Galatasaray were dismissed by Chelsea who are keen to see their asset regain his form on loan, and therefore increase his transfer value. After Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield United where 18-year-old Billy Gilmour debuted due to injury issues, Lampard spoke about why he let go of Bakayoko and Drinkwater in the circumstance. “Danny has been here for two years and hadn’t played many games. He was eager for his own benefit, which I felt was good for us,” Lampard said at Stamford Bridge. “Bakayoko similarly was here for one season, went on loan and going on loan again to try to bring himself back to where he wants to be. “If you want to talk midfield players we have got Jorginho, [Mateo ] Kovacic, [N’Golo] Kante, [Mason] Mount, [Ross] Barkley, Reece James coming back from injury who can play in midfield, Andreas Christensen who can play in midfield. I have to make decisions on the squad as a whole, that is my job.” Bakayoko is not going to be available for tomorrow’s Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg but he could make his debut against Marseille after the international break. Monaco are currently in 19th place after a poor start to the season where they have lost two of their first three games, drawing the other one.
Pep Guardiola has claimed that Manchester City could not afford to buy a replacement for Vincent Kompany, despite his team spending around £130 million ($158m) over the summer.City have something of an injury crisis at centre half after Aymeric Laporte went down with a knee injury Guardiola fears might be serious in Saturday’s game against Brighton.Central midfielder Fernandinho was forced into emergency service as John Stones was already absent through injury, though he is expected back after the international break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Club captain Kompany was allowed to leave at the end of last season to become player-manager at Anderlecht, and no direct replacement was acquired.Harry Maguire was Guardiola’s top target but the Spaniard said his team couldn’t match the price local rivals Manchester United ended up paying, reported as £80m, and would have to look internally for the solution to their defensive woes.“We could not buy like our opponents or what teams offered us or asked of us for these players,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager told the press.“Of course, we spent a lot two seasons ago, but last season one player, this season a little bit more so we could not pay the money wanted.“But we have an alternative and sometimes when that happens the team unites better and we are going to find solutions to that.“The club works incredibly well in all departments and sometimes we cannot afford it like other teams afford it and that is all.”City have assembled a very expensive squad in recent years and added several players over the close season.They acquired Rodri, Joao Cancelo and Angelino, but, although all are defensive players, none are centre-backs.Guardiola acknowledged his team’s depth, but said the club had told him he had a budget he could not exceed.“We pay a lot of money for a lot of players, that is why we have a depth of squad with huge quality, be we cannot [sign a central defender],” he went on.“The club tell me you have a limit, you cannot go forward. Maybe in the future, but not now, you cannot do it.“I say OK, you cannot do it so we cannot do it so we are going with what we have.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Inter striker Mauro Icardi has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a loan for the duration of the 2019-20 season.The loan reportedly includes an option for PSG to buy the 26-year-old Icardi for €65 million (£59m/$71m). This season, PSG reportedly will pay Icardi €8m, with a €2m bonus should they activate the purchase option in the deal. Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? If PSG do not activate the purchase option, Icardi would return to Inter on wages of €5m per season. Inter have also announced Icardi has signed a one-year extension on his contract, so if he does not join PSG permanently his deal with Inter will run through 2022. The Argentine’s future with Inter has been in doubt since February 2019, when he was stripped of his club captaincy amid reports of contentious contract negotiations between himself, his wife and agent Wanda Nara, and Inter.Icardi would not return until two months later, and though he finished out the season in the squad, he was not part of new Inter head coach Antonio Conte’s plans for the 2019-20 campaign.Inter were vocal about moving Icardi on, with links to Juventus, including a possible swap of Paulo Dybala mooted, while Napoli, Monaco and Atletico Madrid were also mentioned as possible landing spots in recent months.However, he will instead join PSG, where the Ligue 1 champions have been beset by an injury crisis ahead of the start of Champions League play.Star forward Kylian Mbappe suffered a hamstring injury in a late August match against Toulouse and was ruled out for at least four weeks.Striker Edinson Cavani was injured in the same match, having injured his right adductor in the victory.Former Stoke City striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Cavani, with the 30-year-old having netted three times for PSG in his two appearances since.However, with a September 18 showdown with Real Madrid in the Champions League awaiting the Ligue 1 champions, PSG have elected to bring in another proven option in attack.While PSG have suffered injuries in the early part of the campaign, they are set to welcome back star forward Neymar, who will stay at the club after Barcelona failed to agree a move for the Brazil star.Neymar has yet to feature for PSG this season, as uncertainty in his transfer situation have kept him out of the squad the past two matches.
Eden Hazard will prove to be a revelation at Real Madrid if he can translate his “extraordinary” Chelsea form to Spain, according to former Los Blancos striker Fernando Morientes.After years of speculation, Hazard joined Real Madrid in the close season in a €100 million (£88m/$112m) deal, seemingly replacing Cristiano Ronaldo a year on from his departure for Juventus.The 28-year-old arrives in the Spanish capital having scored 110 goals in 353 appearances for Chelsea, helping the London club win six major honours in seven years including two Premier League titles and two Europa Leagues. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The Belgium forward has not yet made his competitive Madrid debut due to a thigh injury but will be expected to lift a team that struggled last season and has started the new campaign in unconvincing fashion.Zinedine Zidane’s side opened the season with a win at Celta Vigo but have drawn their last two matches against Real Valladolid and Villarreal, with Hazard only able to watch on from the sidelines.Former Madrid forward Morientes is certainly expecting a lot from Hazard, believing the club’s latest ‘Galactico’ buy will be a big hit in his new surroundings.”I believe [he can be a revelation], given the relation between price and what we saw last year,” Morientes said at a La Liga event on Tuesday.”It is true there were some Liverpool players who were at a spectacular level but, for me, Hazard was by far the [best] Premier League player. The fact he came to La Liga, I think he has been an extraordinary signing.”It is not just because of the value added to our competition, but because he is player who created a lot of expectations.”Many recognised players were supposed to come to Madrid but, at the end, Hazard is the most notable. Everyone expects he can keep last year’s level, which was extraordinary.”Despite his injury, Hazard was initially named in the Belgium squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Scotland.However, after joining up with Robert Martinez’s squad and being assessed by team doctors he was quickly released from the squad along with his brother Thorgan, who has been struggling with a rib injury.
FIFA 20 is set for release later this month , with an exciting array of new features, playing modes and additions – such as controlled tackling and composed finishing.But one of the biggest talking points is the addition of several new celebrations that will also, with this iteration of the game including some fresh moves. The celebrations were first unveiled in EA Sports’ official gameplay trailer released earlier in the summer . Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Dele Alli’s famous viral challenge is one of the new additions, as is Mohamed Salah’s yoga pose and Roberto Firmino’s ‘eye patch’ celebration against Paris Saint-Germain. Samuel Umtiti’s 2018 World Cup semi-final strut and Antoine Griezmann’s ‘air guitar’ move makes an appearance, as does Richarlison’s ‘pigeon dance’.Goal has rounded up the new FIFA 20 celebrations below and how you can use them on both Playstation and XBox as well as PC Gamepad. Celebration Playstation XBox / PC Gamepad Swagger Hold R1 + Double Tap ▢ Hold RB + Double Tap B Knee slide Hold R1 Flick R ⇦⇦ Hold RB Flick R ⇦⇦ Eye patch Hold R2 Press R (R3) Hold RT Press R (R3) Pigeon Hold R1 Press R (R3) Hold RB Press R (R3) Challenge (Dele Alli celebration) Hold L2 Double Tap ▢ Hold LT Double Tap X V Run towards camera Run towards camera I can’t hear you Hold L2 Hold R ⇨ Hold LT Hold R ⇨ Scissors Hold L1 Press ▢ Hold L1 Press X Yoga (Mo Salah celebration) Press X (Signature) Press A (Signature) Nailbiter Hold R2 Hold R ⇧ Hold RT Hold R ⇧ Speed walk Hold R1 Flick R ⇨⇨ Hold RB Hold Flick ⇨⇨ Head slap Run towards camera & signature Run towards camera & signature Pigeon Hold R1 Press R (R3) Hold RB Press R (R3) Guitar dance Hold R1 Flick R ⇧⇧ Hold RB Flick R ⇧⇧ Power slide Hold L1 Spin R around Hold LB Spin R around Spinning frog Hold L2 Spin R around Hold LT Spin R around If you’re interested in figuring out how to do the viral Alli challenge yourself in real life, you can read our in-depth how-to guide here (be careful – it’s not as easy as it looks).
Alexis Sanchez does not regret his decision to join Manchester United but suggested he became frustrated at not being selected regularly for the Red Devils.The Chile international found himself struggling for form from the moment he completed a switch from Arsenal in the winter transfer window of 2018.Despite being a proven performer in the Premier League, Sanchez found it difficult to make his mark in Manchester and saw questions asked of his value on a lucrative contract. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Niggling knocks and an inability to adjust to the demands of his new surroundings have left the South American stuck on five goals in 45 appearances.That return has led to United sanctioning a loan move to Serie A giants Inter , with the plan being for Sanchez to rediscover his spark in Italy before another call is made on his long-term future.The 30-year-old forward told BBC Sport on the path his career has taken of late: “I’m very happy I went to Manchester United.”I’ve always said that. It’s the club that’s won the most in England.”When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic – I was happy there – but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.”I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”While remaining convinced that he made the right decision, Sanchez started just 31 of 77 possible outings for United and concedes that tactical tweaks left him frustrated at times.He added: “I think that I’m happy when I play for my national team.”I was happy at Manchester United too, but I’ve always said to my friends: I want to play.”If they would let me play I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d play 60 minutes then I wouldn’t play the next game – and I didn’t know why.”Sanchez is yet to take in a competitive outing during the 2019-20 campaign, having returned to United over the summer nursing an injury picked up on Copa America duty.He is adamant that he was ready for international duty, despite the lack of minutes under his belt, and is unsure as to why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to completely overlook him during pre-season and the opening weeks of the new campaign.Sanchez said: “I felt fine. I think I did well in the Copa America.”After that, it [not playing any pre-season games] depended on the coach to let me play. You need to ask him this question, not me.”
1 Comments Share your thoughts Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri will not face charges for a reported skirmish with a sheriff’s deputy in Oakland, Calif., after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship last June.The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office made the announcement on Tuesday, the day the Raptors unveiled the championship banner before their season-opening win against the New Orleans Pelicans.Ujiri had been accused of trying to access the court at Oracle Arena to join the postgame celebration without showing proper credentials and also hitting the deputy.The DA’s office said it met with Ujiri on Monday, capping a summer-long investigation that spread into the fall.“The District Attorney’s Office has determined that no criminal charges will be filed in the matter,” a statement read. “However, Mr. Ujiri attended a meeting with the District Attorney’s Office focused on matters that we believe merited constructive, structured mediation and conflict resolution and were better handled in a setting outside of the courtroom.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below. WARMINGTON: Raptors president Masai Ujiri owed apology, not charges ‘I respect authority,” Raptors’ Ujiri will let process play out Body camera backs up assault allegations against Raptors’ Ujiri: Sheriff Ujiri issued a statement that said he was happy the investigation is over.“I am extremely pleased with the decision,” Ujiri said. “While these past months have been difficult waiting for a determination on this matter, I understand the nature of the process and am appreciative of the efforts of all involved. I am happy that this is now behind me and I look forward to the task of bringing another championship to the City of Toronto.” Toronto Raptors
Here’s his updated top four:Ohio State BuckeyesAlabama Crimson TideGeorgia BulldogsOklahoma SoonersClemson and LSU are the two other main contenders for the College Football Playoff right now.Auburn, Florida and Wisconsin have all looked strong, too. The Tigers and the Gators will play in Gainesville this weekend. ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 31: TV/radio personality Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network speaks on air before the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum revealed earlier today that he does not have Clemson ranked inside his personal top four following the close win at North Carolina.The SEC guru is not high on the Tigers right now, though he admitted that they’ll end up making the College Football Playoff.“I would drop them out of the top four,” Finebaum said on SportsCenter. “Listen, the question is are they one of the four best teams in the country right now. They are not one of the four best teams. They will get to the Playoffs because they won’t see anyone of consequence, but they’re not better than Alabama. They’re not better than Ohio State. Then, you can look around and match them up against Georgia. No, they’re not better than Georgia either.”Finebaum has Ohio State at No. 1 following the Buckeyes’ blowout win at Nebraska.
CHESTNUT HILL, MA – SEPTEMBER 08: A general view of Alumni Stadium during the second quarter of the game between the Boston College Eagles and Holy Cross Crusaders at Alumni Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)The starting quarterback for the Boston College Eagles suffered what appears to be a significant leg injury.During a first-half scramble, quarterback Anthony Brown escaped the pocket and ran towards the endzone. Before encountering a Louisville defender, Brown attempted to juke and move to his right.As he planted his left foot into the ground, Brown’s knee appeared to buckle inward.Video of the play seems to suggest a significant knee injury. Anthony Brown makes a cut and picks up 14 yards on a QB draw two plays later, but immediately grabs his knee after the run.Replay doesn’t look good. Brown is getting looked at by trainers in the medical tent.*Remember, Brown tore his ACL against N.C. State back in 2017. pic.twitter.com/NqLtD2h0aA— Andy Backstrom (@AndyHeights) October 5, 2019Brown immediately went to the ground and grabbed for his knee. He was eventually helped off the field and into the medical tent by trainers for the team.Initial reports suggest Brown is likely done for the day and possibly done for the year. We don’t want to speculate, but non-contact knee injuries are never a good thing.Former walk-on Dennis Grosel took over at quarterback for the Eagles after Brown’s exit. Grosel found a rhythm early, hitting Korab Idrizi for a 10-yard touchdown pass.Before Brown left the game, he led Boston College to one touchdown drive and racked up over 200 yards of offense by himself.Louisville currently holds a 21-14 lead late in the first half.Stay tuned for the latest on the game and Anthony Brown’s injury.
LAWRENCE, KANSAS – OCTOBER 05: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners watches from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Oklahoma just had about as awful of a sequence as any team could have in the second quarter against Kansas. The Sooners went from a first-and-goal opportunity to punting on fourth down.Jalen Hurts had the Sooners in position to increase their lead before halftime. Unfortunately an offensive holding call pushed the offense back to the 17-yard line.Following the holding penalty, the Sooners ran a trick play that resulted in a loss of 25 yards.The original design was for CeeDee Lamb to receive the ball on a double reserve. Once the Jayhawks sniffed out that play, the speedy wideout lateraled the ball to Hurts. Kansas brought down Hurts around midfield to set up third and goal. On third down, Oklahoma was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.Here is the play that really hurt Oklahoma’s drive:Yikes…(via @KU_Football)pic.twitter.com/8BrCliqnr1— B/R Betting (@br_betting) October 5, 2019Lincoln Riley is one of the brightest offensive minds in football. There’s no denying that it’s an interesting play design, but the execution was poor.Oklahoma responded nicely on the next drive as Hurts connected on a touchdown pass to Lamb.Even though Oklahoma entered this game as massive favorites, the Big 12 powerhouse only leads Kansas by 14 points.The second half of action will be available on ABC.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 07: Reggie Bush, Joel Klatt and Kevin Burkhardt of Fox Sports speak during the Fox segment of the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 7, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) *** Reggie Bush; Joel Klatt; Kevin BurkhardtFOX college football analyst Joel Klatt has updated his personal rankings following Week 6 of the 2019 college football season.Week 6 featured a couple of notable results, with Michigan getting a big win over Iowa, and Florida taking down Auburn at home.Klatt has updated his top 10 following Week 6.The FOX analyst has Ohio State at No. 1. Ohio StateLSUAlabamaOklahomaGeorgiaClemsonWisconsinTexasNotre DameFloridaMy CFB Top 10 Wk61) @OhioStateFB2) @LSUfootball 3) @AlabamaFTBL 4) @OU_Football 5) @GeorgiaFootball 6) @ClemsonFB 7) @BadgerFootball 8) @TexasFootball 9) @NDFootball 10) @GatorsFB— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) October 6, 2019The official new top 25 polls will be out later today.The new Coaches’ Poll comes out at noon E.T. The new AP Poll comes out at 2 p.m. E.T.
[Related Article: ESPN Predicts Every Game Left On Iowa’s Schedule]“Love it or leave it!”Ricky Stanzi is our Honorary Captain | https://t.co/BATGBnk9C0#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/TTb9kcIcj3— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) October 10, 2019 The crowning achievement of Ricky Stanzi’s college career was his 2009 campaign. That year, Iowa went 11-2 overall and finished ranked No. 7 after beating Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. It was their highest ranked finish since 1960 and only their second 11-win season ever.Stanzi finished his college football career third in passing yards and touchdowns in Hawkeyes history.After his senior season, Stanzi was drafted in the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. However, he never threw a pass in five NFL seasons.He briefly revived his football career in 2017 with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, but was released in 2018. MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JANUARY 05: Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes leads his team onto the field against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)The Iowa Hawkeyes host the Penn State Nittany Lions in a crucial Big Ten showdown this weekend. To mark the occasion, Iowa has invited a special VIP to serve as the honorary captain.On Thursday, the Iowa football program announced that former starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi had been named honorary captain for the game. He was Iowa’s starter from 2008 to 2010 and set numerous milestones during his time with the Hawkeyes.Stanzi went 26-9 as a starter and was the first quarterback in Iowa history to win three bowl games as a starter.Incidentally, three of his 26 wins came against the Nittany Lions.
LAWRENCE, KANSAS – OCTOBER 05: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners watches from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Week 7 of the 2019 college football season should be a good one.The seventh weekend of the year features several big-time contests, including Oklahoma-Texas, LSU-Florida, Penn State-Iowa and Michigan State-Wisconsin, among others.The 2019 season has been lacking in high drama so far this year, but that should change on Saturday.Picks for the weekend’s top games are starting to roll in. ESPN college football guru Bill Connelly has unveiled his S&P predictions.Oklahoma 42, Texas 30 NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners warms up before the game against the Houston Cougars at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 1, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Cougars 49-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)Penn State 28, Iowa 22 STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 24: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions reacts after a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at Beaver Stadium on November 24, 2018 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)Notre Dame 34, USC 25 ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish takes the field with his team before the game against the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Clemson 40, Florida State 19 CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA – AUGUST 29: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers warms up prior to the start of the Tigers’ football game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Memorial Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)Wisconsin 29, Michigan State 17 NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 27: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball in the first quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)LSU 32, Florida 24 BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 14: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers throws the ball during a game against the Northwestern State Demons at Tiger Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)***[Related Article: ESPN Has 3 Top 25 Teams On “Upset Alert” This Saturday]You can view his full picks here.
The Red River Showdown is always one of the more intense rivalries in college football. It was certainly no different today, as Oklahoma and Texas got into a serious scuffle ahead of the game.Luckily, things didn’t escalate too far. The two teams had to be separated, but officials kept things from getting overly ugly.After the two teams were separated, the entirety of both teams were issued unsportsmanlike penalties. That meant that any player flagged for it during the game itself would be ejected.Referee Mike Defee than addressed the two teams’ captains at the coin toss and drove home the point that the game was going to be played with sportsmanship and he wouldn’t allow for it to get out of hand. Things were chippy, especially early, but ultimately the game was played without another major incident. Still, Defee was not happy with what transpired before the game.He was interviewed after Oklahoma’s 34-27 win in Dallas, and expressed his discontent.Big 12 referee Mike Defee to a pool reporter: “What happened out there is an embarrassment to everyone. It shouldn’t happen. At the end of the day, that’s why we did what we did.”(He added much more. See photos.) pic.twitter.com/YKBLhMzPSC— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) October 12, 2019From the report, via the pool interview:Q: Once you got to the coin toss, it seemed like you had had enough. Can you talk about how you addressed the captains and what your mindset was there?Defee: At the end of the day, I guess disappointment to a certain extent. We’ve got two of the best teams in the country, let alone the Big 12 COnference. This is the 115th playing of this great game and to have that kind of thing happen is disappointing. We can’t control that as officials. The primary responsibility of the officials is two-fold outside of just the playing rules. one is player safety and two is the integrity of the game. What happened out there is an embarrassment to everyone. It shouldn’t happen. At the end of the day, that’s why we did what we did and issued a warning. unfortunately you put that UNC (unsportsmanlike conduct) on everybody and any action that results in an additional unsportsmanlike results in a disqualification.We all like a fiery rivalry game, but it is good that things didn’t escalate beyond that.
YouTube/Colin CowherdMichigan State suffered an embarrassing 38-0 loss to No. 8 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. For a program and head coach that are so highly regarded, the Spartans simply weren’t competitive and looked completely outmatched.As a result, Colin Cowherd called out MSU and Mark Dantonio on Twitter.Check out what he had to say below.Michigan State gets smoked more than it should for a “good” program w a supposedly “good coach”— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) October 12, 2019 Ouch. But he may have a point.Dantonio is regarded as one of the top coaches in college football. But he has yet to help Michigan State fix its offensive woes.In one of the more confusing moves this off-season, Dantonio decided to retain his offensive staff. But he assigned them all to different roles.It clearly hasn’t worked.Michigan State ranks near the bottom of all major offensive statistical categories in the nation. Granted, the Spartans have played several very good defenses so far this season including Wisconsin’s and Ohio State’s.The Spartans managed to score just 10 points combined in those two games.Michigan State needs two more wins to go bowling this postseason. But it won’t be easy. The Spartans still have tough contests vs. Michigan and Penn State.Dantonio needs to figure out his team’s offensive issues if they hope to get back to contending.
The Illini will be giving up a home game for this one.Can’t spell Ireland without R E D❗️Who’s ready to jump the pond with @HuskerFBNation?🎟 + ✈️ packages below. #GBR— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) October 14, 2019Aviva Stadium opened in 2010. It can host gridiron football and has done so on several occasions. When outfitted for football, it can seat up to 49,000 fans.The 2021 game will be the fourth played at Aviva Stadium. Notre Dame and Navy faced off there in 2012, and will return for a rematch in 2020. In 2016, Georgia Tech beat Boston College in front of 40,000 fans. LINCOLN, NE – OCTOBER 01: Cheerleaders of the Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrate a score against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Illinois 31-16. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)The next two college football seasons will have an international flavor as several teams head to Ireland for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Notre Dame and Navy were already slated to play there in 2020, and now a pair of Big Ten teams have been added.On Monday, Nebraska announced that they would be heading to Aviva Stadium in Dublin to take on Illinois. The game will take place on August 28 during Week 0 of the 2021 season.Nebraska will be making its first-ever appearance in Europe, and only its second-ever game outside of the U.S. The last time the Huskers played overseas was in 1992 when they beat Kansas State in Japan’s Tokyo Dome.As for Illinois, it will be their first trip outside of the U.S. They were scheduled to play a game against USC in Moscow in 1989, but that game was ultimately cancelled.