Friday, October 5, 2007

Using mobiles to fight pharma fakes

My heart's in Accra : Using mobiles to fight pharma fakes: "...Counterfit pharmaceuticals are a massive problem in West Africa. Dr. Dora Akunyili, the head of Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control reports that, at one point, more than 80% of drugs on Nigerian shelves were fake. Akunyili's sister, a diabetic, died in 1988 after taking fake insulin [...] The project, called mPedigree, seeks to build a system first in Ghana, and then throughout Africa, that tracks drugs from their original producers all the way to the pharmacy shelves, allowing each buyer in the chain to ensure that they’re dealing with a legimate product. The idea of this system comes from the ePedigree system being implemented to track medications in the US using RFID tags..."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Business of Being Born

As you probably know, this week's course focus is on family planning, safe birth, and maternal health. The Business of Being Born is the childbirth equivalent of Supersize Me, and premiered in May to rave reviews. Maybe we can see it as a class when it releases nation-wide in November? Among its discussion of the empowering and disempowering potential experiences in labor and birth for women it includes many interviews in which women and healthcare workers discuss positive and negative experiences of childbirth. Please take a moment to go watch the excerpts online here:

The Business of Being Born

NYC Midwives - Our History

NYC Midwives - Our History: "In 1959 a small group of midwives gathered regularly in NYC, eventually evolving into the New York State Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).

Later the ACNM organized the country's midwives into regional affiliates and NYC Chapter became known as Region II, Chapter I of the ACNM.NYC, Region II, Chapter has historically been one of the largest and most active chapters in the country. Joining hands in the early 1980's with the other NYS Chapters, NYC Midwives played a key role in the successful passage of the New York State Professional Midwifery Practice Act of 1992. (To read the Midwifery Act go to

The chapter's executive board is elected by the membership every two years on a rotating basis. In the year 2000, the 8 New York State Chapter chairs formed a new organization called the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM) to assist with the ever changing political and legislative issues facing midwives in this era of managed health care. (For more information go to"

Facebook says breastfeeding is obscene

Belly Tales Old and New News Roundup 10/2/07: "the website Facebook recently started banning pictures of women breastfeeding from user accounts, and in some instances has banned specific users altogether (for example, Karen Speed from Australia, who has chronicled the entire event on her blog, One Small Step for Breastfeeding). Facebook banned certain pictures on account of their "obscene content" and asserted its right to remove pictures as a violation of its terms of use policy, but as the Sydney Morning Herald points out, it's not exactly clear what constitues an exposed breast, which is the specific violation, and Facebook hasn't provided any further. clarification. Right. So, breastfeeding is obscene, and women aren't allowed to post their own pictures of themselves breastfeeding on their own facebook accounts. If this bothers you as much as it bothered me, go join the new facebook group entitled Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Feedback on Immunizations and Infections presenters

• The presentations are very good, appropriate and relevant to the topic.
• Talabi used tables in small print – very had to grasp. Time management was a problem.
• Not enough time allowed for student speakers.
• The group appeared to not have prepared together. Low energy level of presenters. Fantastic guest speaker involvement.
• General comments: Speaker 2/3: need to talk about what diseases are more than just the symptoms/vaccines. Too much talking during presentations, conflicts with presenters’ ability to get through their information – this applies to all presentations. Maybe fewer slides – more discussion? Articles need to be posted earlier. Speaker #1: good delivery of material – answered questions appropriately.
• Speaker #3: try to maintain eye contact with group, look at PowerPoint less, project voice forward. All: have another member of team handle the PowerPoint slides so that presenter can move away from the computer/podium and make better use of space.
• Speaker #2: Lots of good information but try not to read from the notes.
• Speaker #1: Good eye contact with group, good voice projection, seemed like #1 had a smaller portion of overall presentation.
• All: Very good information (lots of it) but at times there was too much info on slides (charts difficulty to read)
• All: need more student participation; perhaps there were some discussion points built in that were dropped to make room/time for guest speaker and doctor comments.
• Speaker #2: reads entirely from notes – perhaps could engage more with audience/class and be more assertive about time management. Participation from guests/professors, while very interesting, mess up flow of presentation – perhaps better to have a dedicated discussion section?
• I think its difficulty for the presenter with constant discussion. Perhaps discussions should be limited to after completion of sections. Also, I think it is difficulty for the students to participate; perhaps it is the structure through which the discussions materialize.
• Reyes: Delivery required more eye contact. Too many graphs. Would have preferred to go into more details about diseases, etc. Found graphs unnecessary. Good organization of content on PowerPoint.
• Talabi: Presentation of content was confusing. Delivery could have been more interactive.
• Bennett: Good delivery – good explanations. Slides were difficult to read – wish he had summarized all the graphs, etc within PowerPoint.
• Over-use and overdependence on PowerPoint slides. The presenters lost control of their presentation with too many interruptions. Some slides were too small to read.
• Reyes: Soft voice (speak louder but good job on cutting off discussion to move on. Guests provided great information but monopolized presenters’ time!
• Items too small on slides.
• Increase font size on PowerPoint.

Feedback on Breastfeeding and Weaning presenters

• It was good to have breastfeeding mothers attend the presentation. Good coverage of an important topic. Good discussion, but no class activity.
• I felt bad for the presenters because of the time constraints, on the upside the class participated. I think both presenters were weak (not terribly) on delivery. They seemed seem to have sufficient knowledge on the topic, but I wish they had presented a bit more on the next best alternatives if unable to breastfeed. Perhaps a bit more on breastfeeding as a choice, such as the factors that surrounds that issue. I would have also been more interested to know a bit more on the breakdown, altitudes, adaptation of breastfeeding globally. I am sure it varies drastically from country to country.
• Very nice job handling transition between professor/guest speaker comments and your own presentation
• For both presenters – very nice job. One suggestion – move away from podium (let other person manage PowerPoint slides. If you are out in front of class, the focus is more on you and less on slide.
• Good discussion facilitation – good use of guest speakers – very interesting presentation.
• I really liked this format – student presentation, guest speaker (expert) and professor participation. I felt like I got a lot out of this class.
• Great presentation, thanks to full participation!
• The guest speakers were very informative. The concepts were delivered clearly.
• Very informative presentation!
• Difficult to assess because so much class discussion.
• Very interactive but structure, time use got out of hand. Excellent contributions by invited experts, Annie Feighery and Maria Elena Ballesteros.
• Would have liked to see a more balanced discussion – is formula milk all bad? Even in societies w/clean water? Great presentation overall – good detail presented. Good discussion from class was promoted.
• Great discussion. Effective use of personal experience.

Making Motherhood Safer in Egypt - Population Reference Bureau

Making Motherhood Safer in Egypt - Population Reference Bureau : "Fewer Egyptian women die of maternal causes today than they did 10 or 15 years ago, thanks in large part to the national safe motherhood program. Nevertheless, maternal mortality in Egypt is still relatively high, and the country faces challenges in reducing it further. Many of these challenges involve addressing the delays women face when they need essential obstetric care. In Egypt and other countries, most maternal deaths could be avoided if women had timely access to high-quality emergency obstetric services [...]"

Autonomy and maternal health-seeking among slum populations of Mumbai

Citebase - Autonomy and maternal health-seeking among slum populations of Mumbai: "Data from a retrospective survey of autonomy and maternal care seeking in the eastern slums of Mumbai shows that women who have recently delivered have high levels of autonomy. Components of autonomy such as freedom of movement, ability to visit natal kin and access to resources were identified using a latent class analysis of survey responses. Despite high proportions of autonomous women, substantial minorities remain in low autonomy categories. Uptake of maternal services was found to be constrained for those women with low levels of empowerment. Regression analysis suggests that autonomy is as important as education and gravida for maternal health-seeking [...]"

Home Delivery Is Available

article on homebirth in NYC
Home Delivery Is Available - New York Times

Monday, October 1, 2007

Providing Maternal Health Care in Ecuador's Amazon Region

UNFPA NewsProviding Maternal Health Care in Ecuador's Amazon Region

Iraq Immunization Campaign Link

Here's the link to the clip shown in class on the Immunization campaign that was conducted in Iraq. You can read the article and click on the box on the right to watch the short clip. Look out for the cold boxes and sharps containers being used by the health workers.

Also there are a number of other short films on a variety of child health topics on the website.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sanofi-Aventis plans vaccine hub in India

Sanofi-Aventis plans vaccine hub in India-Intl Business-Business-The Times of India: " India's status as a global pharmaceutical manufacturing hub is all set for another booster shot with the Euro 28 billion French pharmaceutical major Sanofi-Aventis exploring the possibility of setting up a vaccine manufacturing hub in the country either through an acquisition or a joint venture. "

HIV Vaccine Hopeful Fails

HIV Vaccine Hopeful Fails: Scientific American: "The two-decade-long search for an AIDS vaccine suffered a major blow last week when researchers prematurely halted the much-anticipated trial of a new HIV vaccine after it failed to block or slow down infections."

free download on vaccines

This is a USAID publication on vaccines in international development.

Nestle in Burma - and apartheid South Africa

Nestle 'nurses'
Originally uploaded by babymilkaction
Boycott Nestle- protect infants: Nestle in Burma - and apartheid South Africa: "Here is a picture from the 1950s of its 'milk nurses' providing Nestle formula to mothers in apartheid South Africa. Providing free formula interrupts lactation to make a mother dependent on formula, which she then has to buy."

Immunization Links

Here is a link to immunization information on the web.