Healthy Beginnings

Global Health News

August 2018

Healthy Beginnings

Patiwe is a proud mother of 4-month-old Laika. Photo credit: Tiwalere II Project/Malawi

Patiwe is a proud mother of 4-month-old Laika. Patiwe attributes Laika's outstanding growth to exclusively breastfeeding her for the first six months—a practice she learned about at a USAID-supported care group in her village. Photo credit: Tiwalere II Project/Malawi

The 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy through her child’s second birthday offer a tremendous opportunity to build healthier and more prosperous futures for both mothers and their babies. The damage done by malnutrition during the first years of a child’s life translates into a huge economic burden for countries, costing billions of dollars in lost productivity and avoidable health care costs.

By focusing on improving maternal and child health and nutrition and reducing disease during the critical first 1,000 days, USAID helps children grow into strong, productive citizens and promotes more stable, self-reliant societies.


7 Ways USAID Supports Breastfeeding

Women in the Bulambira community of Uganda participate in a breastfeeding attachment competition as part of a family life school meeting. Photo: Kate Consavage/USAID

Women in the Bulambira community of Uganda participate in a breastfeeding attachment competition as part of a family life school meeting. Photo credit: Kate Consavage/USAID.

In southwest Uganda, where rates of malnutrition are among the highest in the country, USAID has created family life schools. Led by Agency-trained community leaders, these schools convene men, women and children to discuss practices that boost nutrition, health and hygiene. Promoting breastfeeding involves more than educating new mothers; women need support from their babies’ fathers, health workers and peers.

“Before joining the group, I had heard of a common practice in the community of providing porridge right after birth, but the group taught us not to do this,” said Evas, a mother of two from the Rubanda District. “Instead, I only gave both my children breast milk for the first six months of their lives.”

Family life schools are just one way that the Agency promotes breastfeeding. USAID's breastfeeding efforts in 25 priority countries also include community video, radio talk shows, mother-to-mother groups for women in crisis settings, counseling and lactation support, training courses for health facility staff and data collection on breastfeeding rates. Read the full story.


From Infant to Toddler – The Role of Nutrition in Keeping Children HIV-free

This HIV-positive Kenyan mother gave birth to a healthy baby. Nutrition will play an important role in the baby’s health. Photo: Riccardo Gangale/USAID

This HIV-positive Kenyan mother gave birth to a healthy baby. Nutrition will play an important role in the baby’s health. Photo credit: Riccardo Gangale/USAID

Nutrition and HIV are cyclically related. When the body’s immune system breaks down as a result of AIDS, it can contribute to malnutrition and susceptibility to infection. Recognizing the critical role nutrition plays in HIV treatment, care and support, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and USAID are working with global partners and national governments to make nutrition services a routine part of national health care systems, particularly for infants.

The Agency’s prevention of mother-to-child transmission programming helps keep HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding mothers from transmitting the virus to their babies. The Agency partners with more than 16 countries to integrate nutrition assessment, counseling and support into national health care services, and its nutrition teams are working with other global partners to increase the number of children who remain healthy and HIV-free through their first two years of life and beyond. Read more about USAID’s nutrition program for HIV care.


Male Engagement Improves Breastfeeding Practices in Guatemala

Mileidy and her partner Lino with their 7-month-old daughter. Photo: Gilda Rivera/HIP+ Guatemala

Mileidy and her partner Lino with their 7-month-old daughter. Photo credit: Gilda Rivera/HIP+ Guatemala

Four months ago, Mileidy was having trouble breastfeeding her 3-month-old daughter. Her daughter’s irritability and frustration made Mileidy worry that she could not produce enough milk to feed her hungry baby. Luckily, Mileidy had a breastfeeding champion who showed her and her husband proper breastfeeding attachment techniques: her brother, Ronal.

With nearly half of Guatemala’s population under the age of 18, USAID has identified youth as a key influencer for improved health and nutrition. The Agency teaches youth and young adults like Ronal about the importance of proper health and nutrition behaviors, including the benefits of breastfeeding.

Through a USAID-supported course, Ronal learned about the importance of breastfeeding and how promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by appropriate complementary feeding ensures that children receive the best nutrition during a critical period of growth and development. He was motivated to educate others about what he learned, and started with his own family.

“My niece is now 7 months old; she is being breastfed, and I put into practice my knowledge,” explains Ronal. “With this, we have avoided spending on infant formula, because the family does not have sufficient incomes to sustain this cost, and my niece is well nourished.” Read the full story.



DevelopmentXChange pitch photo, courtesy of Pearl Mak/NPR.

Photo credit: Pearl Mak/NPR

It’s 'Shark Tank' for Global Health Inventions

What would happen if global health innovators appeared on "Shark Tank," the reality TV show that judges business concepts ranging from straightforward to zany?

It would look like the pitch competition at the Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange. Each year, Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development hosts a conference that convenes global health experts and innovators. At this year’s pitch competition, 10 people presented innovations such as oxygen concentrators, a network of mobile training centers and more. Read the full story.

Nepalese women discuss use of chlorhexidine to prevent newborn infection. Photo: Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID

Photo credit: Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID

How One Simple Solution Has Saved Thousands of Babies

Since 2002, USAID has worked to scale-up the use of chlorhexidine, a simple antiseptic that when applied immediately to a newborn’s umbilical stump, can reduce infection by 68 percent and newborn deaths by 24 percent.

Since 2012, the Agency’s partnership with the Government of Nepal in support of the roll-out of chlorhexidine has saved an estimated 9,600 newborn lives and benefitted more than 1.3 million newborns throughout the country. Word of Nepal’s success reached beyond its borders and paved the way for Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Pakistan to begin their own journeys to scale-up chlorhexidine. Read the full story.

A collage of photos from the GSK/Kellogg/USAID Global Health Case Competition. Photo: Tom Whipps/GlaxoSmithKline

Photo credit: Tom Whipps/GlaxoSmithKline

Building the Next Generation of Business-minded Global Health Leaders

Although Africa and Southeast Asia are home to the fastest growing health care markets in the world, building effective business models in these markets poses unique challenges. From financing mechanisms to complicated supply chains, there are no shortages of barriers to overcome, but also opportunities to leverage.

In response, USAID, GlaxoSmithKline and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management have launched the GSK | Kellogg | USAID Global Health Case Competition. This first-of-its-kind competition targets business and public health graduate students to identify cutting-edge and sustainable solutions to global health challenges, helping to build and connect future generations of global business leaders and save lives. Learn more.



World Water Week

World Water Week, August 26–31

World Water Week is an annual focal point for the globe’s water issues, convening experts, practitioners, global health innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries to foster awareness of and solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges. Learn more.

World Contraception Day

World Contraception Day, September 26

World Contraception Day raises awareness about voluntary family planning and access to preferred contraceptive methods to ensure the well-being and autonomy of women and support the health and development of communities. Learn more.

2018 Partners Forum


2018 Partners' Forum, December 12–13, New Delhi

The 2018 Partners’ Forum is a platform for ideas, global exchange and learning that convenes 1,200 partners who are dedicated to the Every Woman Every Child movement and to the achievement of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Learn more.



10 Brilliant Technological Innovations to Save Moms and Babies
Global Health Technologies Coalition — July 27

Driving New Ideas to Action to Service Communities at the Last Mile
The Aspen Institute — August 1

The Rescued Thai Soccer Team, Bats and USAID
USAID Medium — August 2

Night Guard: Unfolding the Protective Effects of the Mosquito Net
USAID Medium — August 16

Practicing 'Damayan': Harnessing Indigenous Culture to End TB in the Philippines
USAID Exposure — August 21

Last updated: June 02, 2019

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