There is no period more critical in a child’s development than its first few months of life, which is why so much attention is paid to what the mother, and the child, eats during that time. Nutritionists like to call it the “golden window” — the slim period of time where a child, if he gets the right nutrients, can set out on a healthy path, or, if he doesn’t, risks irreversible stunting and developmental delays. “Eighty percent of the brain development happens in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, starting from conception,” says nutritionist Sanjay Kumar Das.
Over 13 million adolescent girls between 10 and 19 years–equivalent to the population of South Sudan–were married in India in 2011, according to census data, but fewer literate women were married as children or had children early compared to those who were illiterate, according to an analysis by Child Rights and You (CRY), a Mumbai-based child rights nonprofit.
The Senate confirmation last week of our colleague Ambassador Mark Green to be USAID Administrator comes amid the struggle between the president and Congress over the administration’s proposed 30 percent cuts to foreign assistance. In this convergence of events, we see a real opportunity for Congress and the administration to do much more than debate where the burden of potential cuts might fall, and instead make lasting reforms to make our foreign assistance better able to enjoy long-term success and provide savings far beyond next year’s budget. Success will not be easy and will require significant changes to our approach to development.

Barbara Kühlen: Midwifery is Part of the Culture

By Barbara Kühlen

Aug 03 2017

Despite the enormous progress that has been made in reducing rates of maternal and infant mortality, over 300,000 women still die every year of complications from pregnancy and childbirth. Six million children under the age of five die each year as well. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 fell shortest of their targets. Traditional midwives play a central role in preventing mortality, attending births and caring for mothers and their newborns. But their possibilities vary greatly.
Yesterday, the ten SBA participants, their nursing instructors, two representatives from One Heart Worldwide, and I all celebrated the final day of the program, during which the students received official certificates testifying to their new status as skilled birth attendants.
Hayford Amponsam was making his daily rounds in this small town in south-central Ghana when he came across an infant who was dangerously ill. She had bloody diarrhea and had been coughing up thick mucus for days. Her mother had only sought treatment from a nearby traditional healer.

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