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reproductive health

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!”

Putting Humpty Dumpty back together again

Cristian Baeza's picture

2012 is off to a sobering start for those of us in the global health community, against a backdrop of continuing global financial volatility coupled with complex reforms at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. New research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) shows a slowdown—and perhaps a plateauing—of the historical growth in global health funding to which we have been accustomed during the past decade. This new reality is, rightly, leading to questions about whether substantial—if not radical—changes are needed in the highly fragmented global health ecosystem. And yet, at the same time, there are signs of new initiatives.

I believe the slowdown in global health funding requires adjusting our expectations in the coming years. Last fall, after participating in a number of inspiring discussions during the UN General Assembly, I reflected about each one of the critical global health priorities to which we have all pledged our support in recent years: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for nutrition, child and maternal health, and HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria, as well as non-communicable diseases. It struck me that while most of these health interventions are destined to help the same mother or child, we have created very separate initiatives and institutions to deliver on each. We have been able to elevate the awareness and commitments for each of these priorities, but now the challenge is, like Humpty Dumpty, how do we now put them all back together again?

At 7 billion, realizing the economic benefits of family planning

Cristian Baeza's picture

JE-GH060621_32957 World BankSlideshow: At 7 Billion Mark, Reproductive Health Critical

With the 7 billionth baby joining the planet, many of us are rightly concerned about the challenges posed by a growing population and its impact on health care, climate change, food security, jobs, and poverty.

Here at the World Bank, we’ve been talking recently about the critical link between population change and economic growth. In some countries, where falling fertility rates have led to expanding working-adult populations and a smaller proportion of dependent children, the economic and social impact has been transformative.

For example, Thailand’s Minister of Finance said at a Bank panel last month that after his country introduced a national family planning policy in the 1960s, more women had the time and opportunity to access education, and take jobs in manufacturing and services. This shift was matched by greater government investment in health, education, gender equality, and skills training for women and the growing young population, together with reforms improving the country investment climate, all resulting in a generation of healthier, more educated and more productive citizens.

As a result, people’s opportunities and quality of life improved. This way, Thailand put in place long-term policies to ensure economic benefit from its demographic transition—it harnessed the “demographic dividend.”

But Thailand isn’t alone. Other countries, such as Indonesia and South Korea, have followed similar paths.

Investing early in children: what will it take to spur integrated action?

Leslie Elder's picture

Last week, the World Bank hosted the Washington, D.C., launch of The Lancet’s 2011 child development series, four years after the journal revealed that more than 200 million children under five in low- and middle-income countries were not reaching their developmental potential, due to (preventable) risk factors like stunting, iron and iodine deficiencies, and lack of cognitive stimulation. The latest research findings in The Lancet provide even greater clarity on the developmental inequality that continues to plague many millions of children.

Civil society helping us do better in health

Cristian Baeza's picture

I spent a great couple of days earlier this week with representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) from around the world who are members of our World Bank – Civil Society Consultative Group on Health, Nutrition, and Population. When it was launched earlier this year, we envisioned the consultative group as a forum for CSOs and our Bank-wide health team to share perspectives and discuss frankly any concerns we may have about our respective work in health, nutrition, and population, and to learn from one another. So it’s exciting to see this group beginning to move from theory to action.

Family planning, healthier economies

Julia Ross's picture

Countries like South Korea and Thailand have seen similar demographic formulas work to their advantage in recent decades: falling fertility rates lead to burgeoning adult working populations lead to greater economic productivity.

How did they harness these changes to create engines of growth? According to speakers at a World Bank panel on “Realizing the Demographic Dividend,” greater investments in health, family planning, and gender equality paved the way, followed by further investments in education, youth development, and job creation.

For the full post, please go to family planning, healthier economies.

Getting to equal in health

Carolyn Reynolds's picture

With gender equality a main topic for the World Bank's Annual Meetings this week, some of us have done a bit of a reflection on how our investments in health and other human development programs shape, and are shaped by, gender equality. It turns out that during the past 6 years, the World Bank mobilized $28.4 billion -- or nearly three-fourths of the Bank’s financing for human development during this same period -- to help promote gender equality and empower women and girls through investments in health, education, social protection, and labor. Not too bad.

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.

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