Posts Tagged maternal and child health

Off the Grid: A Dispatch from Burundi

Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 10:17 am

By Jennifer Weiss, Health Advisor, Concern Worldwide US

I started my work in Burundi around a year ago. Before I visited the country, I remember my colleague describing Burundi to me. “It’s off the grid,” she said.

Jennifer Weiss forgoes the van and continues her journey cross the rickety bridge on foot.

The comment struck me as odd. I assured her that I had lived in Africa before and was more than prepared for the work that lay ahead.  I couldn’t possibly understand what she meant by “off the grid.”

I quickly learned. Burundi, despite its geographic proximity to Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, countries with growing economies and booming tourism industries, is heartbreakingly poor. In fact, Burundi is one of the world’s five poorest countries. I knew this statistic before departure. However, it wasn’t until I arrived in Burundi’s capital city of Bujumbura that I completely understood my colleague’s description. While in other capitals there are new businesses and construction, in Bujumbura there are none to be seen. When I asked a friend of mine who had been in Burundi in the ‘80s to explain how the capital had changed since then, she frankly responded: “It hasn’t.”

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A New Commitment to Food Security from G8, but Empty Promises Remain

Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 7:58 am

By Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide

Tom Arnold with Beverly Oda of the Canadian International Development Agency and Etharin Cousin of the UN World Food Programme

I have just returned from a whirlwind visit to Washington, DC and Chicago, where I participated in a number of events around the G8 and NATO Summits focused on food and nutrition security.  Among so many world leaders and high-level representatives from civil society and academia, I felt a sense of critical mass beginning to form in the fight to end global hunger.

It’s a feeling I’ve had before – perhaps not this strong – only to be disappointed when promises went unfulfilled.  We must keep calling our leaders to persevere, especially those in the G8, to ensure that does not happen this time.

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Addressing preventable deaths in Malawi

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 9:56 am

Some 12 percent of all children in Malawi do not survive to celebrate their fifth birthday. Photo: Concern Worldwide

I have arrived in the Concern office in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi. The goal in the next week is to gather as much information on the current health situation of mothers and children in Malawi, and develop a program strategy about how to address the problems.

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How our youth health volunteers have transformed lives in Haiti

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Typical scene in informal slums of Haiti. Some 42 percent of Haitians had no access to clean drinking water even before the earthquake. Photo: Megan Christensen, Concern Worldwide

I arrived in Haiti the end of 2009, when the earthquake had not yet devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince. Initially, I was intimidated by the robust presence of the United Nations police and peacekeeping forces. But, according to Concern’s Haiti staff, the UN presence had played a major role in stabilizing this island nation and improving the security situation for the people living here.

At that time, Haiti’s streets were vibrant and full of life and despite the many challenges people seemed happy and hopeful about a more prosperous future.

According to reports from my colleagues in the field, that resilience has not been hampered by the recent disaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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Initiating Concern’s “Pro-Sante Child Survival Project”

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

I am en route to Niamey, Niger’s capital city, and from there I will continue on to the Tahoua region, where Concern works. I am travelling to help set up a new five-year Child Survival program that we are undertaking in collaboration with the government of Niger. The program will deliver child health and nutrition services in a rural area. Read the rest of this entry »

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Visiting Concern-run health program in Haiti – Sandra Feeney-Charles

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
Mother and Child participating in Concern's CMAM program in Haiti

Mother and Child participating in Concern's CMAM program in Haiti

As I walk from crib to crib in the hospital, not trusting myself to speak for fear I will cry, I think of my own two girls, and how by a twist of fate they could be lying in one of these beds – hooked to an IV – being fed milk from a cup.  I spent just 48 hours in Haiti, but this was my far the single most difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five Hours Away Mothers Are Still Dying During Childbirth

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 4:23 pm

In Cite Okay neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, poor sanitation and water quality have been a major threat to the health of the community. Concern has been working with local organizations, youth volunteers and health committees to clean up neighborhoods and promote clean, litter free environments.

In Cite Okay neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, poor sanitation and water quality have been a major threat to the health of the community. Concern has been working with local organizations, youth volunteers and health committees to clean up neighborhoods and promote clean, litter free environments.

It is difficult to imagine that just 700 miles from United States soil, mothers are still dying in childbirth and children continue to pay the ultimate price for contracting such preventable diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

For Haitians, the health situation is the worst in the western hemisphere. To make matters worse, the country is threatened by extreme weather conditions including major hurricanes and tropical storms that are destroying infrastructure and uprooting livelihoods. Read the rest of this entry »

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