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Maya

Maya’s second birthday: Celebrating strong health systems

Cristian Baeza's picture

We’ve got something to smile about this week at the World Bank: Our baby Maya, who has shown us the importance of having a strong health system and access to quality maternal and child health care, has reached her second birthday!

 

To mark this special occasion, we’re launching a new video about the things that helped Maya achieve this milestone, including access to family planning and proper nutrition. These are two key services provided by well-functioning health systems that create healthy futures for mothers and their children—along with other affordable services, trained health workers, clean water, vaccines, well-equipped clinics, and many other moving parts.

 

The video—the second in a series that began with Maya’s birth—comes as the global health community holds a summit on family planning this week in London. I hope Maya’s story underscores what a difference access to effective family planning can make. By giving women the means to space the births of their children by three years, for example, deaths of children under-five would decrease by 35%.

Les « Maman Lumière » de Djibouti donnent l’exemple pour changer de comportement et améliorer la santé

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

Mothers discuss child rearing in Djibouti (credit: Marie Chantal Messier).

Nous étions assises sur des tapis de sol, dans la chaleur et la poussière du quartier Moustiquaire, le plus pauvre de Djibouti, pour parler des pratiques d’alimentation des enfants. Des voix se sont soudainement élevées dans le groupe. Plusieurs femmes insultaient et montraient du doigt l’une d’entre elles qui baissait honteusement la tête.

Mes homologues djiboutiennes m’ont expliqué que la femme embarrassée était critiquée parce que son fils ne parlait pas encore à 5 ans. Au lieu de donner de l’eau à boire à son nouveau-né comme le veut la tradition, elle avait choisi d’allaiter son dernier enfant au sein exclusivement jusqu’à l’âge de six mois.  Le groupe pensait que ce choix expliquait les problèmes de développement de l’enfant.

Ma première réaction a été de me dire : « la pression du groupe est un véritable obstacle à la promotion des méthodes d’allaitement optimales à Djibouti ! »

Djibouti’s "Shining Mothers": Role models for behavior change, better health

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

Also available in: FrançaisMothers discuss child rearing in Djibouti (credit: Marie Chantal Messier).

We were sitting on floor mats in the hot and dusty Quartier Moustiquaire, the poorest neighborhood of Djibouti City, observing a group of new mothers and their children discussing child feeding practices. All of a sudden, there was an uproar in the group. One woman had her head bent down in shame, and several other women shouted and pointed fingers at her.  

My Djiboutian counterparts told me the embarrassed woman was being criticized because her 5-year-old son still doesn’t speak.  Rather than follow the ancestral tradition of giving water to her newborn, she chose to exclusively breastfeed her last child until he was 6 months old. The group asserted that this choice had led to the child’s developmental problems. 

My immediate reaction to the scene was, “Peer pressure is a true obstacle to promoting optimal breastfeeding in Djibouti!”

A new approach to measuring the impact of global health aid

Cristian Baeza's picture

AV17-33 World Bank

We in the global health community have been successful during the past decade in advocating for additional funding for health. We saw huge increases in development assistance for health, and our work has attracted support from political leaders, celebrities, and taxpayers alike. But now in 2011 we face a number of challenges, with donor governments facing significant fiscal pressures to reduce their aid budgets, and increasing scrutiny on how we measure the real impact of these investments.

Last week I was pleased to brainstorm with several of our key health partners to discuss what we can do.

During the past few years, the World Bank and leading global health agencies have relied on a fairly simple but compelling metric–lives saved–to demonstrate the impact of our work. Of course, talking about lives saved is compelling, and it has helped make global health work better understood by non-health experts. But there are a few challenges with this approach thus far.

First, the way we currently measure lives saved tends to downplay the importance of a well-functioning health system in saving a person's life. Measuring lives saved as a result of specific commodities such as a bednet, vaccine, or antiretroviral treatment only tells us one part of the impact story. For these commodities to be effective, we need the full value chain of a good health system, including the motivated and trained health worker, the well-equipped clinic, the cold-chain storage, the affordable financing, clean water and infrastructure, and the right policies, logistics and more–all of these things must be in place to achieve the desired health impact.

Making Maya cry: Why health systems matter

Cristian Baeza's picture

Welcome to our new World Bank blog on health and development! Our global health team here at the Bank is passionate about strengthening health systems to save lives and eradicate poverty. We see this blog as a space to foster a dynamic conversation about our work to promote healthy development. We will be sharing what we are learning and doing in the 99 countries where we work in health, and we want to learn from others who share our passion.
 
So to start the conversation, please take just 2 minutes to watch this video (French/Spanish) and meet our brand new baby Maya. Maya shows us that it takes lots of things for a baby to be born healthy and thrive. It takes a health system, which includes investments in all of the different sectors that impact health (education, infrastructure, clean water, and roads, to name just a few). I hope you like the video. Let me know what you think.