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20 Million Lives at Risk

Last month, three UN human rights experts released a joint letter to the Bangladesh government about the country’s failing response to deadly arsenic in drinking water. Two decades after the problem came to international attention, an estimated…
Hands of Selina Aktar, a woman in her late 30s with arsenic-related health conditions that first began appearing 20 years ago.
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From the slums of Bangladesh to the fashion houses of the world - luxury leather goods from Dhaka generate sales of more than $1bn a year. There are more than 200 tanneries in Hazaribagh, Dhaka, employing more than 30,000 workers. Every day, the tanneries…
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For Abigail Chombo in Zimbabwe, World Environment Day will pass like any other; a day with no safe water to drink, a day where the bush substitutes for a toilet. It's as unlikely that Su Xia, a father of two in China, will notice that it's World…
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Last year, I spoke with a 40-year-old woman working in a Bangladesh leather tannery in the Hazaribagh neighborhood of Dhaka. The Hazaribagh tanneries, which export hundreds of millions of dollars in leather for luxury clothes, shoes and boots around the…
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Doe-eyed and frail, with a mellow voice and a cheery smile, nothing about Sara (not her real name) suggested she had been through ordeal after ordeal in her 22 years. Forcibly married at 15 to a much older man, she discovered after the marriage that her…
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Around this time last year a friend sent me a link to the hilarious "Mother of the Year Award" online video from Momsrising.org. I was on maternity leave, and laughed until I cried at the witty lines about mothering.  I watched it with my two little boys…
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A vibrant democracy with raging debates about health care. A country that prides itself on pioneering medical treatment but continues to see shocking disparities between the wealthy, who can afford expensive, quality care, and the poor, whose access to…
News
I gave birth in the developing world, in South Africa, to be precise. South Africa was in the spotlight recently when a government-commissioned report showed a 20 per cent increase in the number of deaths from pregnancy-related causes between 2005 and…
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Ignorance is not bliss - certainly not for a government trying to explain the repeated failure to avert an estimated 100,000 preventable maternal deaths each year. Last month I traveled through rural India to try to understand why so many women there die…
News

Moving from guesstimates to information about maternal mortality

When 20-year-old Ranibai, from a poor family in Uttarakhand, began hemorrhaging during pregnancy, the path to treatment was not easy. Her family carried her on a charpai down hilly terrains to a health facility, but she bled to death before they got…
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Ads screaming "Girl or Boy?" are banned in India. Major internet search engines Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have been put on notice to ensure that they do not provide advertising platforms for sex-determining technology. Yet, efforts by prospective…