by Elizabeth Atalay | Mar 15, 2017 | 2017, Health, Humanitarian, Malaria, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Social Good, World Moms Network, World Voice, Zika
Three heartbreaking stories of families impacted by the Zika virus were highlighted this week in a Sunday New York Times article. Although last year’s Zika crisis is no longer making regular headlines, the World Health Organization now considers Zika a continuing health threat along the lines of Malaria or Yellow Fever. As the babies infected by Zika are getting older new challenges are arising for families, and new babies infected by the virus are still being born. Despite a vaccine in development, pregnant women in at risk areas have to live with the daily fear of exposing their unborn child to the virus. The founders of Maternova, a company that specializes in women’s health solutions, Meg Wirth and Allison Cote, realized that the world could not just sit around and wait for a vaccine to be developed. A process that, if successful, can sometimes still take years to get to the public. Women and babies are most directly impacted by the consequences of the virus, and with nothing on the market to help women to continue to live their daily lives, a viable everyday solution was needed.
“We realized with the increasing threat of Zika becoming an epidemic in South America and then entering the United States, that this was something that had direct dire consequences for pregnant women and their babies, and there wasn’t anything on the market that proved to be viable and be used everyday in order for these women to protect themselves.”
– Allyson Cote, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Maternova
The duo enlisted Alessandra Gold, a Brazilian-born, Miami-based award-winning designer to create a four piece capsule collection of mosquito repellent, yet fashionable, maternity clothing that women could wear every day. The idea was that the clothing would help to do during the day what mosquito netting does at night. Using a non-permethrin nano-technology patented in Europe the textile used in the garments has repellent embedded into it on a molecular level.
The NovaVeil collection features a dress, a cardigan with a hood, a scarf, and leggings, all designed to be comfortably worn in warm climates. Not only do the garments provide protection from the Zika virus but from other insect born illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue, and lyme disease. The goal was to appeal to and be able to reach women across the economic spectrum, so sales of NovaVeil garments in high end areas will help to subsidizes providing garments in lower income areas. It turns out that the cost per wear of the clothing, which remains effective through 50 wash cycles (and when tested was still 60% effective after 90 washes) will be less expensive than it would be to apply insect repellent every day. It is also better for the woman’s health, and for the environment.
“There is a massive amount of literature on bed nets and protecting women and families at nighttime from Malaria, but there was very little out there about protection during the daytime. In part that’s because this is a brand new technology.”
– Meg Wirth, Co-Founder of Maternova
Maternova partnered with Americares early on by adding a NovaVeil maternity top to anti-Zika mother kits they were already giving to their pregnant patients at a health clinic in El Salvador. The kits also contained condoms, bed nets, skin based repellent, and a water purification method. It is not surprising that a fast acting every-day solution in response to the Zika crisis that puts mothers and babies first would come from a social enterprise owned and run by women. The goal is to continue to offer the NovaVeil line at either no cost or low cost to distribution partners in Latin America in hopes of protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable women, while widening distribution so that pregnant women everywhere can feel safe from the threat of Zika in their everyday lives.
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms network.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
by Kristyn Zalota | Jan 27, 2015 | 2015, Birthing, Clean Birth Kits, Maternal Health, Motherhood, Philanthropy, World Moms Blog, World Voice
As many of you know, less than 3 years ago, I started an organization, CleanBirth.org, to make birth safer in Laos. We have had great success in 2014 with 2,000 Clean Birth Kits (hygienic birthing supplies that prevent infection) delivered and 88 Lao nurses and staff trained.
Zero mothers who used the kits reported an infection in themselves or their babies!
$5 Clean Birth Kit
In my mind, CleanBirth.org’s success and World Moms Blog are inextricably linked.
When CleanBirth.org was in its infancy, I was approached by fellow World Mom, Nicole Melancon of Thirdeyemom, to join this amazing group of writers and moms from around the world.
When I asked founder, Jennifer Burden, for World Mom Blog’s support for our first crowd funding campaign in January 2013, she gave an unhesitating “Yes.” I felt such gratitude as fellow bloggers profile pictures changed to CleanBirth.org’s logo. Having the support of all of YOU: accomplished professionals, writers, and world changers gave me such confidence.
Dee, Kristyn and the US Ambassador to Laos
Together we met that funding goal and then again in 2014 goal. With your support, I am confident that we will raise what we need for our upcoming training trip. This March, we will return to Laos, to train local nurses on Clean Birth Kits and the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care, through an alliance with Yale University School of Nursing. The Yale Midwives, whose travel is funded by the School of Nursing, are the perfect partners for educating nurses on safe birthing practices.
Yale & CleanBirth Training of Laos Nurses
Please consider contributing to our crowd funding campaign this year. A donation of just $5 provides a mother with a birth kit and education by the nurses we train. Join your voice with ours on social media.
Because no mom should lose her baby to a preventable cause. And no baby should lose their mom.
$5 Saves 2 Lives
Here are some ways to get involved:
- Donate http://startsomegood.com/cleanbirthlaos
- Join our WMB hosted Twitter Party Jan 29 1-2 EST #CleanBirth
- Take a picture with a handwritten sign $5 Saves 2 Lives #CleanBirth and post on FB or Twitter.
- Blog & share posts from CleanBirth.org’s FB page.
Thank you for helping us help mothers who lack adequate access to maternal health services!
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Kristyn Zalota founder of CleanBirth.org.
Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to CleanBirth.org. 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 CleanBirth.org. 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.
by Jennifer Burden | May 19, 2014 | 2014, World Moms Blog, World Motherhood
This weekend World Moms Blog editors met in person and on Skype to work on our organization’s strategic plan. Senior Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, hosted Kyla P’an of Growing Muses and myself in Rhode Island, USA, where we had a packed agenda full of brainstorming, organizing, meetings and calls with our international counterparts around the world.
Before we had even put the pedal to the metal and got started, we received news from India that our site had been featured in the Times of India on Mother’s Day and topped the list of online resources for mothers. That was the perfect morning rally we needed going into a full day of strategic planing and global meetings!
First, Kudos to Senior Editor, Kyla P’an, who made us peg down a weekend for the planning session. Kyla joined World Moms Blog as an editor in 2011 when I went on “maternity leave” with my, now, 3-year old. Like Senior Editors, Eva Fannon, Kirsten Doyle and Purnima Ramakrishnan, she’s been editing weekly with us ever since. To have such a rock solid, committed team behind our site has been critical for our survival…and our sanity. 🙂
We started off our retreat on Friday night with a bonding dinner at an amazing vegetarian restaurant in Providence Rhode Island, The Grange, and toasted to our well-planned agenda for the next day!
In the morning, we got an exciting, motivational phone call in to fellow editor, Nicole Melancon in Minnesota, USA. And then, Elizabeth and her beautiful golden lab, led us on a hike in the woods. After our blood was flowing, we headed back (ok, rushed to make our 10 o’clock!) to Elizabeth’s house for the first of our planned meetings and vision boarding.
Coming out of the weekend with clear objectives seemed to unleash a whole new upper level of excitement we have for running this organization. And being able to share our ideas with the editing team and getting all the contributors involved in our planning felt very democratic, a reminder of how much of a global movement World Moms Blog is.
In the late afternoon, we took a break in between calls for an inspiring walk near the Atlantic and then out for an early dinner. Then back to work on our evening calls with our editors in Asia, who had already begun their Sunday morning. The energy that all of the women around the world have brought to this strategic planning effort has humbled me. If things couldn’t get even more global, Kyla, Elizabeth and I ended the evening by watching “Baraka”, a wordless documentary on culture around the world from the 1990s.
Before we parted ways on Sunday morning, we glued the final pieces on our vision board and had an in-person meeting with Meg Wirth from Maternova, a company that helps get the products mothers need to increase maternal health worldwide. Online, we know Meg well from her support of our 8 month #Moms4MDGs campaign, and it was great to be able to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and hear more about her life, her passion and how Maternova came to be. Did you know they’ve made an impact in the lives of over 115,000 mothers in over 35 countries? (Interview with Meg to come!)
Alas, I boarded my train back to New Jersey with our vision board in tow. Now that we’ve set our goals and objectives, we certainly have our work cut out for us. And, without revealing any specific, amazing plans until they’re ready to be unveiled to the world, there will be some exciting changes and projects in the pipelines, so do keep up to date with World Moms Blog!
Want to stay up to date with World Moms Blog? Head over to our right sidebar to fill out the form for our newsletter — you may even win a World Moms Blog tote bag during our next mailing!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to World Moms Blog.
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, ONE.org, 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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