The Changemakers community has big ideas for improving the quality of and access to health care around the globe. From using technology creatively to giving children a leadership role in preventive care, solutinos abound. Hundreds of innovations from around the world are here on Changemakers.
Some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, working in the field of maternal health, are Ashoka Fellows who will host and mentor one of the winning Young Champions from a nine-month collaboration called the Young Champions of Maternal Health Program.
A total of 16 youthful changemakers from around the world will be selected to be Young Champions, based on the strength of the ideas and solutions they submit to the Healthy Mothers, Strong World competition on Changemakers.com.
Since July 2007, APS Kendra, a free birthing clinic in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, has been offering 24/7 reproductive health education and family planning services to underserved women in urban communities. Thousands of expecting mothers have received affordable health services, round-the-clock care, and dedicated attention from expert nurses.
The website Maternova.net, one of two early entry prizewinners in the Healthy Mothers, Strong World competition, promotes technologies for maternal and neonatal health such as a solar-powered headlamp that provides ample light for night deliveries, or a calibrated bag that measures blood loss during labor. Maternova provides simple solutions with transformative possibilities for developing communities by shedding light on the latest technologies and giving professionals a go-to site for inspiration.
For a year now, Nick Pearson has been preparing the launch of his first model, mobile maternal health clinic in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where 100,000 women give birth each year. Most deliver at home with an unskilled birth attendant or go to a public facility where conditions are often appalling.
“Our ambition is to change the way maternity care is provided for the more than one million poor women giving birth each year in urban East Africa,” said Pearson, the founder of Jacaranda Health. “We aim to become the largest provider of affordable maternity care in the region, and more importantly raise the standard of care among other private and public providers.”
Rather than dying of rare diseases, “pregnant women In hospitals around the world are dying of things we already know how to treat," said obstetrician Dr. Laura Stachel.
“I can’t go on with my life and not work on this. I had no idea how bad it was, and many others didn’t know either. I feel it is my job to become the voice for these women, because this kind of situation shouldn’t be allowed.”
I realized that all my years of clinical experience were useless in a situation where there was no light to perform a delivery or surgery, and no phone system to call a skilled doctor.
Amanda Phillips (below) was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child when she suffered a miscarriage while living and working in a small village in India. On a rainy night, Phillips had to be carried on a stretcher to the nearest health clinic, located three hours away, only to find that the doctor was asleep, the medical instruments were not sterilized, and no one took her vital signs.