From 4-6 May, the Asia Regional Meeting on Interventions for Impact in Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care is being held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with an opening ceremony and optional supplementary sessions on 3 May 2012. Organized by the Government of Bangladesh, MCHIP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-supported Oxytocin Initiative, in collaboration with Women Deliver, VSI, FIGO, and ICM, this three-day meeting will focus on postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), pre-eclampsia/ eclampsia (PE/E) and other aspects of maternal and newborn health.
For more information on the conference, click here. A live webcast begins May 4th, and related resources -- included presentations -- can be found here. Please also connect with the conference via Facebook and Twitter!
Below is the first of a series of blogs from conference attendees. Please find other blogs in the series by:
Ms. Alice Levisay on expectations of the conference,
Dr. Jeffrey Smith on a decade of maternal health successes and the challenges ahead, Dr. Nuriye Hodoglugil on misoprostol use and acceptance, and
Ms. Pashtoon Azfar on the role and importance of midwives.
We recently hosted the meeting “Guidance on Implementing Effective Programs to Prevent Preeclampsia and Eclampsia and Anemia to Improve Maternal and Newborn Outcomes” on May 3rd in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and our partners -- Alive and Thrive, the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), and Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project. The meeting convened 150 participants from 17 countries to discuss how to strengthen delivery of the integrated package for maternal anemia control and calcium supplementation to prevent pre-eclampsia in the Asia and Middle East region.
There was a consensus that maternal anemia control programs, particularly lessons learned with iron-folic acid supplementation, can inform on how countries can introduce and implement calcium supplementation to prevent pre-eclampsia. It was clear that both interventions should be part of a global effort to strengthen antenatal care, which requires civil society and private sector involvement to reach all pregnant women. There was a “call to action” by participants to renew the commitment at the global and country level to invigorate and scale-up anemia prevention and control, with an integrated package to address the main causes of anemia identified in countries.
The World Health Organization recommends calcium supplementation during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia in countries where calcium intake is limited. Data presented at the meeting, although limited, suggest that low calcium intake is most likely a problem in most developing countries. Yet nearly all countries represented at the meeting, with the exception of Bangladesh and Indonesia, do not have a policy for calcium supplementation during pregnancy.
For countries to include calcium supplementation in antenatal care, participants highlighted that an international or local supply of calcium supplements will be needed, as well as a cost-effective way to provide supplements to developing countries. Participants agreed that country level discussions need to start now to determine immediate next steps as to if, how and when introduction and implementation of calcium supplementation should occur.
Rae Galloway, MCHIP Technical Director for Nutrition
Dr. Justine Kavle, MCHIP Senior Program Officer for Nutrition