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Advocacy is the bridge. Storytelling is the guide.

2016 April 19

Alanna Savage is communications senior specialist for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health. 

Youth from the FCI Program of MSH in Mali performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Laldonde)

Last year, youth in Mali–with support from FCI–performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Lalonde)

“In 509 days, my country will go to the ballot box, and I will be running for office in Kenya,” announced Stephanie Musho, a law student and staffer at a global health non-profit. Ms. Musho made this bold statement while speaking on a panel of young African women leaders during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March.

“But first, I have to tell you a story about what it means to be a woman candidate,” she sighed. “I’ve worked hard for my campaign. I’ve met with constituents and partners to get their support and raise money. I approached two potential contributors, who were men, and they said ‘With a body like that, you shouldn’t have any problem raising money.’ I knew what they were insinuating, and I can’t believe this is still happening. But I’m not going to let that stop me.” read more…

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Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty

2016 April 15

Shiko, 23, raises her five-year-old son in a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya. When she went to her first antenatal visit after noticing changes in her body, the nurse denied her services because she thought Shiko was too young to have a baby. Now, Shiko is a mentor of girls in her community. She wants to make sure they have access to sexual and reproductive health information and youth-friendly services, so they can make healthy choices that are right for them.

Hannah, a health worker, provides non-judgmental sexual and reproductive health services to the young people who come to her clinic. Many of the youth she sees are pregnant, have sexually transmitted infections or want contraception.

How can we meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty?

Experts highlight opportunities to improve the health of youth living in impoverished conditions and call for stronger, integrated health services to meet the needs of young people in an increasingly urban Africa.

Featuring FCI Program’s Melissa Wanda (Kenya), the video was funded by USAID and produced by African Strategies for Health (ASH) partners, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

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Misoprostol For Postpartum Hemorrhage – A Life-Saving Technology for Maternal Health

2016 April 11
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Shafia Rashid is Senior Technical Advisor for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.

Available since the 1980s, the medicine misoprostol was initially marketed to prevent stomach ulcers. Health professionals eventually discovered that misoprostol also stimulates contractions of the uterus, making it useful for a number of maternal and reproductive health conditions, including postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), induction of labor, treatment of miscarriage, and induced abortion (alone or in combination with mifepristone). Misoprostol is stable at room temperature, available in pill form, and inexpensive. Because of these advantages and misoprostol’s wide availability in many countries, health providers began using misoprostol off-label—in a way not specified on its registration—with differing regimens and routes of administration, and in the absence of evidence-based clinical guidelines. read more…

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Wilson Center Event | After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns

2016 April 8
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This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) blog.

WC-Dialogue-After-Mexico-City-Before_Copenhagen-768x384

We are excited to announce the upcoming policy dialogue, After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns, on Wednesday, April 13 in Washington, DC. This dialogue is part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center. read more…

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Advocating for better health of women, newborns, children, and youth: FCI Program of MSH

2016 March 31
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By Julia Marion and Rachel Hassinger

Julia Marion is a communications coordinator and Rachel Hassinger is an online communications specialist at Management Sciences for Health. This article originally appeared on MSH.org.

Photo by Catherine Lalonde

Photo by Catherine Lalonde

Amy Boldosser-Boesch recalls feeling fortunate to have interned with Family Care International (FCI) when studying for her Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. Founded in 1986, FCI was the first international organization dedicated to maternal and reproductive health. Little did she know, in those early days of her career, that she would one day lead the organization.

“I’ve been so honored to be a part of FCI and its long record of saving women’s lives,” says Amy. “FCI launched and led the global Safe Motherhood movement, hosted the first Women Deliver conference, was founding co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, and so much more—it’s really an incredible history of impact.” read more…

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A new chapter for FCI’s lifesaving mission!

2016 March 31
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Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Senior Technical Director for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH). To receive updates in your inbox from the FCI Program and other MSH programs, please subscribe here.

Photo: Catherine Lalonde

Photo: Catherine Lalonde

A lot has happened since we first announced, a couple of months ago, the exciting news that a new chapter has begun for FCI’s mission to save women’s lives!

Now a part of Management Sciences for Health, the FCI Program of MSH has hit the ground running. read more…

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New research calls for a different approach for misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage

2015 November 13
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Shafia Rashid is senior program officer for the Global Advocacy program at Family Care International.

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH)—excessive, uncontrolled bleeding during or after childbirth—is the leading cause of maternal death around the world.  Despite this, the condition is almost entirely preventable and treatable. In some parts of the world, women give birth at home or in health facilities lacking the essential supplies and equipment to manage PPH and other life-threatening complications.

Wherever a woman decides to give birth, she needs access to life-saving, uterus-contracting drugs, called uterotonics, for the prevention and treatment of PPH. The recommended uterotonic, injectable oxytocin, requires cold storage and technical skill to administer, making it difficult or impossible to use in many rural and low-resource areas. Misoprostol is a safe and effective uterotonic and a good alternative in community settings since it doesn’t require refrigeration or administration by a professional.

miso4pack

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Maternal and newborn health in the hands of midwives

2015 October 21
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Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Interim President and CEO at Family Care International. This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of a series for the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference, October 2015 in Mexico City.

The year 2015 has been one of dramatic movement for global maternal and newborn health—from the end of the Millennium Development Goals to the beginning of a universal and even more ambitious global agenda. The Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference is a key moment to examine how the Sustainable Development Goals will help ensure and improve quality of care, integration and equity. I’m pleased to see on the conference program a focus on midwives, a key partner in turning the conference themes and focus into a reality for women and their families everywhere.

At this crossroads moment in global development, it’s a travesty that the countries burdened with 92% of the world’s maternal and newborn deaths have only 42% of the world’s midwives, nurses and doctors. Even though we have the medicines and the technology to make sure no woman or newborn dies from preventable causes, a person’s place of residence often still determines whether–and how–she will live or die. This is simply unacceptable. Fortunately, skilled midwives can prevent up to two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths, and in doing so can turn around health care in their communities, according to UNFPA’s State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.

Burkinabé midwives gather to discuss advocacy for supportive midwifery policies using data from the State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.

Burkinabé midwives gather to discuss advocacy for supportive midwifery policies using data from the State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014.

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VIDEO- Countdown to 2015: A decade of tracking progress for maternal, newborn, and child survival

2015 October 20
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This new video looks at the past and to the future of Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations to stimulate and support country progress towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Countdown launched its last report of the MDG era—a final accounting of progress and remaining gaps in the 75 countries that have more than 95% of all maternal, newborn and child deaths—at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.

FCI is proud to be the co-lead communications and advocacy partner in Countdown to 2015.

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A Decade of Tracking Progress for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: Lessons from Countdown to 2015 for monitoring and accountability in the SDG era

2015 October 20
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By Zulfiqar A. Bhutta and Mickey Chopra

Zulfiqar Bhutta, of the Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children (Canada) and Aga Khan University (Pakistan), and Mickey Chopra, of The World Bank, are co-chairs of Countdown to 2015. This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of a series for the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference, October 2015 in Mexico City.

‘Ten years from now, in 2015,’ said the opening line of the first Countdown to 2015 report, published in 2005, ‘the governments of the world will meet to assess if we have achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the most widely ratified set of development goals ever, signed onto by every country in the world.’

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Interview with Salimata Sourgou, Burkina Faso program assistant

2015 October 13
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Salimata Sourgou comes from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She joined FCI as an administrative assistant in our office in Ouagadougou, and since last year, she has worked as a program assistant on the Mobilizing Advocates from Civil Society (MACS) project, which brings together civil society organizations and equips them with skills to be effective advocates. We spoke with her ​​about her work as a member of the FCI Burkina Faso team.

Photo by Catherine Lalonde

Photo by Catherine Lalonde

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Discovering advocacy successes through participatory evaluation

2015 October 8
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By Catherine Lalonde and Kathleen Schaffer

Catherine Lalonde is the senior program officer for the Francophone Africa program, and Kathleen Schaffer is the senior program officer for the Anglophone Africa program.

This post is the second in a blog series on the evaluation of FCI’s multi-year advocacy project, Mobilizing Advocates from Civil Society. Find the first post here.

Evaluating advocacy is far from simple. Advocacy is not straightforward, as advocates often need to readjust strategies to influence decision-makers when government leaders and policies change. So it’s often difficult to attribute a policy success to a specific advocacy effort. We are grappling with these challenges firsthand as we evaluate our advocacy project Mobilizing Advocates from Civil Society (MACS).

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Reflections on evaluating advocacy

2015 October 7
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Catherine Lalonde is the senior program officer for the Francophone Africa program.

Saving the lives of women and children around the world is a team effort. It takes the voices of community and religious leaders, health professionals, concerned citizens, young people, and impassioned activists to effect change. Prioritizing women’s and children’s health requires sustained advocacy.

Yet, determining whether certain advocacy efforts are actually achieving desired results—evaluating an advocacy program—is challenging. Through the evaluation of our Mobilizing Advocates from Civil Society (MACS) project, which brings together civil society organizations and equips them with skills to be effective advocates, we are reflecting on what it means to evaluate advocacy.

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My journey to Tres Islas

2015 October 6
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By Alexia Escóbar

Alexia Escóbar is the National Coordinator for FCI-Bolivia.

In April, I journeyed by boat along Bolivia’s Ichilo River to a remote community of the Yuracaré people. I hoped to better understand how pregnant women from these poor indigenous villages travel to the nearest health facility–located an hour and a half away—for the skilled care they need. During our trip to Tres Islas, colleagues from UNICEF Bolivia and I discovered that these women face not only transportation difficulties but also many other barriers in accessing culturally respectful, high-quality health care. read more…

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Addressing youth and disability: Policies of social inclusion, gender equality, non-discrimination and prevention of sexual violence

2015 September 30
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By Ariadna Capasso and Maria Faget

Ariadna Capasso is senior program officer for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) program, and Maria Faget is LAC regional adviser on youth and adolescents.

The rights and needs of persons with disabilities are too often neglected, violated or ignored. This is manifested in acts of discrimination, emotional abuse, and physical and sexual violence, especially among adolescent women. Fifteen percent of people—close to 1 billion–around the world live with a disability, and 80% of them live in developing countries. Many women with disabilities, including adolescents, face unacceptable discrimination. Around 68% of women with a psychosocial disability will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18. Women with disabilities often see their right to make decisions in regards to their fertility and motherhood curtailed, through practices such as forced sterilization and limited access to family planning methods. These practices are often the result of generalized stereotypes and lack of cultural sensitivity towards disabilities.

Centro de Formación, AECID (Spanish Cooperation)

Centro de Formación, AECID (Spanish Cooperation)

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