MATERNAL HEALTH YOUNG CHAMPIONS PROGRAM

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1 MATERNAL HEALTH YOUNG CHAMPIONS PROGRAM

2 Maternal mortality is a major threat to women's lives in developing countries. While maternal health outcomes have improved in some countries over the past few decades, rates of maternal death remain alarmingly high. Every minute, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth and over 300 million women in poor countries suffer from maternal morbidity. In many countries, the majority of mothers do not receive even the most basic health care and quality care during childbirth - when both the mother and child are most at risk - is often unavailable. Program Overview To reduce maternal mortality and morbidity over the long-term, emerging public health leaders need to be equipped with the skills, commitment, and vision to respond fully to multiple causes and consequences of this threat. Maternal Health Young Champions Program, a partnership between the Institute of International Education and the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard School of Public Health, offers a unique fellowship to 10 young people who are passionate about improving maternal health in their home country. Selected Young Champions are matched with in-country mentors from selected organizations for a nine-month research or field project internship focusing on a particular area of maternal health. The fellowship included leadership training and participation in the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania. Maternal Health Young Champions are students or young graduates in public health or a related field who are committed to improving maternal mortality and morbidity through either research or innovative field work in their home country.

3 Mr. Ashiru Adamu Abubakar, Nigeria A medical practitioner focusing on obstetrics, Mr. Ashiru Abubakar's research has focused primarily on the causes of maternal mortality in Northern Africa. His mentor organization, Health Education Initiative for Women, serves 44 communities, 14 of which include activities related to Ashiru's research on the attitude of health care workers. Ashiru is of the firm belief, that the process of pregnancy and child birth is a physiologic process, a thing of joy, and should not constitute disease, death, or agony to the families and communities. For his exemplary leadership in the field of maternal care, he was co-awarded the 2013 'MamaYe' award for leadership in maternal care. Ms. Chinomnso Ibe Traffina, Nigeria Currently working for the Traffina Foundation for Community Health, which she founded in 2007, Ms. Chinomnso Ibe Traffina specializes in nursing, is a certified midwife, and is working towards an Advanced Masters in Public Health. With the belief that no woman deserves to die bringing life to the world, Chinomnso's maternal health focus has centered around the involvement of males as community advocates. A recipient of several accolades, she was co-awarded the 2013 'MamaYe' award. She has also previously worked for the award-winning 'Let's Save Our Mothers' program.

4 Ms. Oluwadamilola Olufunbi Olaogun, Nigeria Ms. Oluwadamilola Olaogun's conviction is that improving maternal and child health improves the entire populations' health. Therefore, she chose maternal health services and socio-cultural barriers as her maternal health focus. Interning with the Common Heritage Foundation, Oluwadamilola has conducted field work and research to develop a module which can be used to train midwives on attitude-related issues; the government of Nigeria has already declared interest in it. Oluwadamilola holds a medical degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Leeds, UK. She is passionate about issues related to maternal and child health. Ms. Mahlet Atakilt Woldetsadik, Ethiopia To give life to her vision of improving existing programs dedicated to providing quality health services to women and girl survivors of sexual violence, Ms. Mahlet Woldetsadik chose the prevention of maternal deaths as her maternal health focus. While interning at the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia, Mahlet and her mentor have designed and conducted a study that explores the various co-factors that put women at an increased risk for unsafe abortion, the major cause of maternal mortality in Ethiopia. Mahlet has a Master of Public Health from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Arts from Converse College.

5 Mr. Solomon Abebe Addis, Ethiopia With a passion to innovate more comprehensive, non-stigmatized, cost-effective, and efficient ways of integration for better maternal health, Mr. Solomon Addis took up the cause of institutional delivery as his maternal health focus. As part of his internship with Engender Health, Solomon conducted a research titled 'Exploring the Integration of Family Planning Service with Anti-Retroviral Therapy Service in Addis Ababa.' He is also the founder of Millennium Youth Coalition, an organization that facilitates trainings, workshops, campaigns, and provides health access for rural girls. Solomon has a MS in Social Development Management, a degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology, and certificate in Management Development. Mr. Anteneh Asefa Mekonnen, Ethiopia Mr. Anteneh Asefa Mekonnen has taken up the improvement of institutional delivery as his maternal health focus, towards meeting his goal of serving the underserved and enhancing the use of maternal health services. He has been mentored by Saint Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Anteneh has a BSc in Nursing and a Master's in Public Health. As a Young Champion, he has conducted research to assess disrespect and abuse during childbirth in St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College and three catchment health centers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

6 Ms. Vasudha Chakravarthy, India Ms. Vasudha Chakravarthy holds a Master's degree in Public Health with an experience of conducting research and evaluation studies. Hoping to understand the lived reality of pregnant women and mothers in remote villages of India, Vasudha's maternal health focus is research and evaluation studies. This Young Champion has been mentored by the Tata Steel Family Initiatives Foundation. As a part of the fellowship, Vasudha has conducted research to understand the rationality of access to maternal healthcare services, including factors that influence and determine decision making regarding access among pregnant women and mothers in the state of Jharkhand in India. Ms. Priya John, India With the goal of working on accessibility and availability concerns among Adivasi populations residing in hard to reach areas, Ms. Priya John chose to conduct field research in Jharkhand in a Paharia and Santhal village in the Santhal Parganas region during her internship with Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur. She continues to work for access to care through Pehal, based in Jharkhand. Priya holds a Master's degree in Gender and Development and Social Work and has been working on public health issues for several years, including extensive work in rural Jharkhand to systematically document maternal deaths.

7 Ms. Neha Rathi, India Ms. Neha Rathi studied service guarantee violations and perceptions of women from the community and abortion providers. Being mentored by the Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action, Mumbai, this Young Champion chose human and reproductive rights law as her maternal health focus. Neha closely captured the perspectives of women and attitude of abortion providers from both urban and rural backgrounds in Maharashtra. Neha holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, a law degree from the University of Delhi, and a Master of Law in International Human Rights from the London School of Economics. Ms. Luz Maria Soto Pizano, Mexico With the vision, that health will someday be a right that women fully enjoy, Ms. Luz Maria Soto Pizano's maternal health focus was field research in Chiapas, where she was guided and mentored by Observatorio de Motalidad Materna. Along with building relationships with the indigenous communities she worked with throughout her program, Luz also developed a protocol that ensures women receive the best possible attention and information throughout their pregnancy. Luz holds a Medical Degree from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City and a Master's Degree in Rural Development.

8 About Maternal Health Task Force The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), the flagship program of the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health, contributes to shaping collective efforts to improve the quality of maternal health care worldwide. The MHTF is a facilitator of partnerships to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity around the world. By bringing together a diverse community of global health experts, the MHTF works to build consensus and provide a neutral platform for dialogue around critical maternal health issues; expand access to and synthesize emerging knowledge and evidence on maternal health; strengthen maternal health education, leadership, and technical capacity in countries with high burdens of maternal mortality; and increase the evidence base on strategies to improve and assess the content and quality of maternal health care. About Institute International Education Institute of International Education (IIE) is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1919 and headquartered in New York, USA. IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. With 32 offices and representatives, IIE serves 25,000 participants and 200 sponsors through 250 programs in 175 countries, foremost is the world renowned Fulbright program, which IIE has administered on behalf of US Department of State since its inception in In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger.

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