News Roundup: Maternal health steals the show at Davos, tough news out of India and Nepal, and more

Girls rule at Davos — A session at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, titled The Girl Effect, called attention to the plight and importance of adolescent girls in developing communities and countries. The event was followed by the “Important Dinner for Women,” hosted by Wendi Murdoch and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, which focused on the improvement of maternal health around the world. Sarah Brown, wife of England’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown, gave a speech on the results of her white ribbon campaign.

Maternal mortality soars in Nepal — 2,000 women die every year in Nepal due to pregnancy-related complications (281 women out of every 100,000 live births). According to UNICEF, basic obstetric and hygienic health care could prevent death in an overwhelming number of these cases. A fourth of fatalities result from high-risk abortions.

India records highest mortality rate in South Asia — A new study shows that 136,000 mothers and mothers-to-be die in India every year, the most by far of any South Asian country. The leading cause of these tragedies: Unskilled birth attendants.

Canada borrows best practices from Cuba — A report authored by Canadian senator and physician Wilbert Keon says that the country stands to learn a lot about maternal health care and childhood development from its Caribbean neighbor. Cuba is known for providing support services to mothers starting at conception and lasting for years after they give birth

Tele-health promotes safe birth in Zambia — In Zambia, where the shocking maternal mortality rate tops 72 percent, an information technology system called Tele-Health is gradually being adopted in health clinics to ensure safer deliveries. Tele-health allows doctors to communicate with and provide care through traditional birth attendants.

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