WORLD VOICE: World Moms Train Nurses

WORLD VOICE: World Moms Train Nurses


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A new mom in Laos Photo Credit: Kristyn Zalota

It’s over 100 degrees Farenheit and I am dripping sweat as we enter the home of a mother who has recently given birth at a Lao hospital using a Clean Birth Kit, supplied by my organization She is wearing a long skirt and hooded sweatshirt. Under the platform bed where she sleeps a clay pot is filled with glowing coals. Her newborn baby sleeps under blankets with mittens on her tiny hands and a knit cap. The mother, sweating profusely, is drinking piping hot herbal tea. She eats chicken four times a day and showers in the hottest water she can tolerate four times a day. Her four older children and husband are nearby, taking care of her and the household while she recovers.

This is a good birth story in Laos where my organization works. This mother birthed naturally with a Clean Birth Kit under the watchful eye of a trained midwife. Her traditions were respected and she and baby left the hospital healthy.

A baby needlessly dies.

However, many birth stories in Laos don’t tell the tale of mothers and babies surviving birth. A nurse at a rural clinic told of a 45-year old mother, pregnant with baby #14, who came into the clinic for help during labor. Her membranes had been ruptured for 29 hours and she arrived at the clinic exhausted. After a normal vaginal delivery, the newborn could breastfeed but was weak. He died 9 hours after birth, likely of an infection.  The clinic does not have IV antibiotics, so the nurses were powerless to fight the infection.

World Moms help empower nurses. Founder Kristyn Zalota training nurses in Laos Founder Kristyn Zalota training nurses in Laos

My visit to Laos last month was my fifth training trip with, the organization I started in 2012 to empower women in Laos to have safer births. Since 2012, we have provided 5,000 Clean Birth Kits and training for over 250 nurses.

This March, with my Lao partner organization ACD, we trained 71 nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits and the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care.

Five of those nurses were fully funded by World Moms Blog donors, who gave $1,100 during our February fundraising campaign.

Our twice-annual trainings give nurses new skills and confidence. We also supply them with as many birth kits as they need throughout the year.

The trainings and subsequent improvement in care in the 31 clinics we serve, has led my Lao partner organization to ask that we fund an additional 13 clinics and a local hospital. When we visited the local hospital, midwives there told us that of the 50 births they see per month, 35-40 mothers bring with them our ayzh Clean Birth Kits — which they received at their local clinic. The midwives praised the convenience/effectiveness of the kits. They asked to provide around 10-15 kits per month directly to their hospital for mothers who don’t have a kit.  This we will do.

It is a huge endorsement of our program to have our local partner and a hospital asking to expand our work to new areas. This means that they are seeing the benefits and that locals are deciding the future direction of the project. They are in charge.

IMG_0220My role as founder of will be to continue finding funding for kits and training.   For just $5 we can prevent an infection like the one mentioned above. If you’d like you join our small but mighty effort please donate

Thank you World Moms for all of your support!







Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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World Mom, Julie Dutra of Portugal, is on @BabyCenter Today!

World Mom, Julie Dutra of Portugal, is on @BabyCenter Today!

Julie Dutra on Beach in Brazil 500

As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Julie Dutra of Portugal, writes about her birth experience in Brazil and her quest to have a natural birth in a country where statistically 80% of all births in private hospitals are by C-section.

“It’s gotten to the point where many Brazilian doctors and nurses aren’t even trained in natural childbirth. The nurses on my maternity ward had no idea what to do with me after labor and stuck me in the anesthesia recovery ward. Staff flocked to our room to see the natural birth baby and mother – they were amazed how fit and awake we both were shortly after birth.”

Read the full post, “My Quest for a Natural Birth in Brazil” over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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World Mom, Purnima Ramakrishnan, is on @BabyCenter today!

World Mom, Purnima Ramakrishnan, is on @BabyCenter today!

Purnima Ramakrishnan 600

Purnima Ramakrishnan is a Senior Editor for World Moms Blog in Chennai, India.

As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Purnima Ramakrishnan of India writes,

“…I recently had a conversation with a mother who is a local domestic worker in my hometown. She travels just under an hour from her village and works, here, in Chennai. We began by chatting about our children (as all mothers love to do, right?). When I asked how many children she had, she told me that she had 3 living and also a son that had died at birth over 30 years ago. The news was a shock to me, and I asked about her story…”

Read the full post over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™!

–World Moms Blog 

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Release of 2015 State of the World’s Mothers Report by @SaveTheChildren #sowm #worldmoms #MomsMatter

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Release of 2015 State of the World’s Mothers Report by @SaveTheChildren #sowm #worldmoms #MomsMatter

Photo credit to Save the Children.

Family living in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

Last week, World Moms Blog conducted an exclusive interview with Save the Children’s President and CEO, Carolyn Miles and Vice President of Global Health, Robert Clay at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Our conversation was around the State of the World’s Mothers Report for 2015, released today! Carolyn had recently returned from Haiti, and was enthusiastic to speak about this year’s findings…

Jennifer Burden: The State of the World’s Mothers Report now covers 179 countries, how many years has it existed?

Carolyn Miles: This is the 16th report, and I have been with Save the Children for 17 years. It came about as a connection between the well-being of mothers and children around the world. The report measures the well-being based on 5 indicators: economic, education, maternal health, child survival and the representation of women in government.

JB: The theme of the report in 2015 seems to focus on urban areas. Save the Children is pulling apart statistical averages in cities. Why?

CM: It is driven by getting to the hardest to reach children. Seventeen thousand children die per day. That has halved from 33,000 since 1990. We are answering the question of, “Where are the hardest to reach children?” And the cities are where the world’s population is going. In 2007 there were 51% of people on the planet living in cities. Today that number is 54%, and the city population is rapidly increasing. Cities are where the children, mothers and parents are living.

Families move to the cities looking for a better life, but in the poorest areas, the urban slums, children there are 2 times as likely to die than the richest kids in the same city.

If you look at the averages, the averages in cities are generally better than in rural areas. But, if you break it down, the poorest kids in cities are 2 times as likely to die as the richest kids in cities. And, those kids are also more likely to die than children in the rural areas.

JB: The urban data — when we think of child survival rates and socioeconomic disparities, most may think of cities such as Kampala, Delhi or Rio, but the report hits home, here, in the U.S. Can you tell us about Washington, D.C.?

CM: Yes, we looked at 25 capital cities in high income countries and the infant mortalities, including the deaths of infants under the age of one. Washington, D.C. was at the bottom. When we compared the wealthiest district and the one with the most poverty, children in the district with the most poverty were 10 times more likely to die than children from the wealthiest district.

Inequality is an important issue in the United States.

Urbanization in 2030 is expected to account for 65% of the population and to further increase in 2050.

Also, a key point is that the data is weak. We are looking at the DHS infant mortality rates, and the world needs to do a better job in accounting for this data.

JB: What was the biggest surprise this year?

CM: It was no surprise that the Scandanavians are always at the top. If we really want mothers and children to have a better life, we should support them.

To give a really specific answer, inequality is killing kids.

I just returned from Haiti 2 days ago. Haiti is in the bottom 10 and hasn’t been there in a long time. Number 1, the country has a very low education rate. Fifty percent of children do not get through primary school. Number 2, the decreased strength in the government slowed progress. I met with a bunch of moms and babies who are getting very basic healthcare, but more has to be done.

(Haiti is tied at number 169 with Sierra Leone in the 2015 Mothers Index Rankings and was just shy of the bottom 10 at number 168 last year in the 2014 Mothers Index Rankings.)

JB: What was the biggest success story?

CM: Panama made a lot of progress this year and has moved up in the rankings. This was driven by education and improvements in the representation of women in their government.

(Panama moved up to number 78 in the 2015 Mothers Index Rankings. That is a jump of 31 spots, from a ranking of number 109 in the 2014 Mothers Index Rankings.)

JB: As I read in the report, Carolyn, you have an interesting “World Mom Moment” that led you to leave the corporate world and work for Save the Children. (According to the State of the World’s Mothers Report 2015, Carolyn was in Manila holding her 6 month old son 20 years ago, and she felt that it wasn’t right that children she saw in poverty would have a very different chance at life than her son. It was that experience that led her to leave the corporate world and join Save the Children.) So, on World Moms Blog, we always ask, “What is your wish for world mothers?”

CM: Yes, I did, in Manila while holding my son when he was a baby! My wish is mostly that every mother has the basics: basic healthcare, that their children can go to school, and in conflict countries that moms and children are protected.

JB: What is the one action you would like us to take and encourage our World Moms Blog community to take to help mothers and children worldwide?

CM: Just one? (laughter) Please go to the Save the Children Web Site!

1) Donate to the programs — there are many choices!

2) Save the Children has a policy ask. To press the US government, a world leader in child and maternal health, to pass the Coons, Graham and Cardin Bill to support global maternal and child health programs. We must keep pushing.

3) In the new UN Goals there is a big focus in inequality. We think that is REALLY important that we ask that these goals are supported in order to reach the most deprived kid. These are the goals that every country will sign off on.

Photo credit to Save the Children.

Photo credit to Save the Children.

JB: Next, we have fielded some questions from our World Moms Blog contributors. First, Cindy Levin, the Anti-Poverty Mom in Missouri, USA asks, “What is the biggest area of opportunity to save kids lives this year…vaccines? nutrition?”

CM: It is hard to pick one. This year it’s important to get the new goals right, and we’re pushing for children to be central to them. In 1980 that is how things were done — one goal would be focused on. But when you only have a vertical lens, you’re not taking advantage of the integration of services.

Now, the focus is on smart integration to meet the demands of the children.

For example, in Nepal, the focus is on nutrition, as well as, water and sanitation. If a child is getting proper nutrition, but is drinking dirty water, then they are going to get sick and the nutrition alone won’t help. They have to work together.

JB: Next, our contributor, Kristyn Zalota of in Connecticut, USA asks, “The largest obstacle moms in Southern Laos have to reaching a clinic is distance and lack of transportation. How common an obstacle is this for women worldwide?”

CM: Very common. Transport is a big barrier for women worldwide. Some of the solutions we are using are to construct mother homes next to clinics to decrease the distance, and her family can join her, like a birthing hut system. Another way to get the pregnant mother to the clinic is by ambulance. We line up the ambulances ahead of time in anticipation of the birth. For example, in Uganda, bicycle ambulances are used, and they have a sled in the back for the mother.

JB: Lastly, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Mummy Tales in Kenya asks, “In societies that are very patriarchal and in communities that still uphold retrogressive cultures (this is so in many African cultures), where a woman’s reproductive health decisions are dictated by men (fathers, husbands, brothers, etc.), how is Save the Children working with men in this regard? Any examples?”

CM: This is a really important question. I’ll give you an example in Uganda, where there are lots of family planning clinics available that are supported by the government. But yet, we found that not all mothers were using them because they had not gotten permission from their husbands. So, sometimes access is not the problem.

Save the Children is encouraging and having “family discussions”, a way of bringing men into the discussions. We give them stats, economics, etc. that leads to the the better health of children and family spacing.

Robert Clay: Save the Children also works with adolescents on this topic. We are bringing boys and girls into the discussions before they are having children, and we talk to them about their roles and responsibilities.

Another example of how I have seen this work is through my prior work with USAID. We had soccer games for the boys with an additional afternoon discussion around sexuality. At the beginning, most of the boys only wanted to play soccer and made it clear that was what they preferred to do. Many were hearing for the first time factual information about sex, their roles as men and how to establish responsibility early on. Then, as they attended more discussions, the boys spoke of their preference to spend more time in the discussions than playing soccer!

Additionally, there is a women in government piece to this question. Societies with more women in decision making roles pass policies that are friendly to women and children. And when it comes to economics, when women have money they invest in their children.

Thank you to both Caroline Miles and Robert Clay for this exclusive interview. After the interview, there was a press conference at UN Headquarters including information on the 2015 State of the World Mothers Report. Look out for a follow up post on about the press conference.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA. 

Updated May 5th, 2015. Carolyn had her “World Mom Moment” in Manila, not Hong Kong, as previously stated. 


Jennifer Burden, Founder of World Moms Blog with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children at the United Nations, April 30, 2015.

Jennifer Burden, Founder of World Moms Blog with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children at the United Nations, April 30, 2015.

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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Being an advocate for children and mothers, especially the needy in the society, means supporting and standing for the rights of these vulnerable individuals in the society. Children should not be left to their own devices without the able help of an adult; preferably a mother. That is why no woman should die giving life to another.

Birth is a beautiful thing and must be a happy moment in the lives of every family, most importantly the mother. But sometimes the process of giving life can be very traumatic and sometimes the unexpected even happens. Postpartum hemorrhage(PPH) is defined medically as the loss of more than 500 ml of blood within the first twenty-four hours following childbirth and is the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-income countries, and the primary cause of nearly a quarter of all maternal deaths globally. In some cases this condition is known to occur up to six weeks after delivery. There are various forms of treatment, of which blood transfusions is the most common; yet In the developing world, health systems are faced with enormous constraints that hinder the prompt delivery of obstetric care, which is vital for saving the lives of women who develop PPH.

A beneficiary of blood transfusion myself, I know its relevance to both the mother and the baby. It is therefore crucial at any point in time during birthing to have stock of blood in the blood bank for such emergencies.

In Ghana, there have been campaigns to donate blood as most of the blood banks are running low on their stock. Many corporate bodies have joined the campaign to ensure that this is achieved so that more lives can be saved when the need arises. Over the years, we have all contributed to replenishing the blood banks by donating pints of blood to the various health centers that need them. Last year, our organization, The African Child and Mother  collected several pints of blood to replenish the blood bank at the Tema General Hospital and the Tema Polyclinic as part of our “February love month”.

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This year however, as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of some large corporate institutions, there were activities held today in the capital city to organize blood donation with the same aim of replenishing the blood banks. We believe that other corporate institutions and individuals will follow suit and donate blood to save a life because giving blood means giving life.

It is my personal appeal to all and sundry that we volunteer to give life by donating blood especially during this love month.

Wishing everyone a giving valentine!

Have you ever given blood or needed to receive it yourself? 

Picture courtesy Graphic online

This is an original post written by Adowa Gyimah of Ghana for World Moms Blog.