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Childbirth and disasters discussed in July/Aug issue of Journal of Midwifery & Women'

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Childbirth and disasters discussed in July/Aug issue of Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health

23 Jul 2004

In the aftermath of a disaster or other mass tragedy, life cycle events such as childbirth will continue regardless of the chaos and women and newborns deserve the surety of safe, effective care in disaster situations, according to a special supplement this month of the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. Titled 'Low Tech, High Effect: Caring for Women and Infants During Disasters and Low-Resource Settings' the supplement shares current knowledge of effective care for maternal and child health in disaster or low resource settings.

"Midwives are optimally prepared to draw upon their existing knowledge base in order to minimize interventions to achieve positive outcomes, especially in disaster situations," said Gwen Brumbaugh Kenney, CNM, PhD, guest editor of the supplement issue. "Knowing what simple technologies are effective and developing skills to implement those interventions can increase the quality of care in the midst of adverse circumstances."

Articles in the special supplement describe various approaches for maternal and reproductive health services in refugee and displaced populations; policy issues affecting women and infants in complex humanitarian emergencies such as war or drought; and details evidence-based information on cost-effective interventions for neonatal care in low-resource settings. Also included in the supplement is an updated primer called 'Giving Birth in Place,' an authoritative resource manual from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

In JMWH's July/August issue, readers will find several other items of interest related to international health:

-- The ACNM Home-Based Lifesaving Skills (HBLSS) program helps families and home birth attendants recognize and respond to maternal and newborn life-threatening complications, according to an article appearing this month by Lynn Sibley, CNM, MS, PhD, et. al. The report discusses the findings of a field test of the HBLSS training program in Ethiopia, where over 90 percent of births take place at home in the presence of unskilled attendants. HBLSS training results in improved management of post-partum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal death. HBLSS is unique in that it is a family and community focused, competency-based program which aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality by increasing access to basic lifesaving measures within the home and community and by decreasing delays in reaching referral facilities where obstetrical complications, such as postpartum hemorrhage and newborn asphyxia, can be managed. (Citation: Sibley, L. "The American College of Nurse-Midwives' home-based lifesaving skills: A review of the Ethiopia field test." JMWH 2004; 49:320-328.)

-- Female circumcision and genital mutilation is being increasingly seen by healthcare providers as Somali refugees emigrate to North America and a new resource is being made available as 'Resources for Clinicians' to help address the particular physical, psychological and cultural needs of these patients. The worksheet, developed in the mid-1990s by Highline Midwifery & Women's Health near Seattle, provides a mechanism for organizing communication and management of these unique healthcare needs especially during pregnancy and childbirth, since approximately 95 percent of them are affected by traditional female circumcision/female genital mutilation. (Citation: Campbell, C. "Care of Childbearing Women with Female Circumcision/Female Genital Mutilation." JMWH 2004; 49:364-368.)

-- "While political concerns regarding the embargoes countries are not new, the prohibiting of scientific exchange of ideas is," says William McCool, CNM, PhD, FACNM in this month's editorial. "If U.S. editors and peer reviewers are unable to judge the merit of scholarly thought originating with the scientists and medical researchers of embargoed countries, there is considerable potential for a curtailment of thought that may benefit not only Americans, but people throughout the world." The editorial also reprints a statement of editorial principles by the World Association of Medical Editors. [background: A series of federal government rulings in 2003 prohibited American scientific journals "from accepting, reviewing, or publishing manuscripts that originate in trade embargoed countries (Iran, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Syria)." The government determined that the typical peer review process conducted by all scientific journals constitutes a form of editing that is prohibited under the trade embargo. While the rulings have since been retracted, numerous First Amendment questions remain, which prompted the presentation of the WAME principles in March 2004. (Learn more online at http://wame.org/wamestmt.htm.)] (Citation: McCool, W. "Publication of Science, Terror and the First Amendment." [Editorial] JMWH 2004; 49:281.)

Other articles in this issue include:

-- "Prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage: New advances for low-resource settings"

-- "Perceptions matter: Barriers to treatment of postpartum hemorrhage"

-- "Does traditional birth attendant training increase use of antenatal care? A review of the evidence"

-- "Effect of shifting policies on traditional birth attendant training"

-- "Pathways of decision making among Yucatan Mayan traditional birth attendants"

-- "Cervical cancer screening in low resource settings using visual inspection with acetic acid"

-- "Safe motherhood program evaluation: Theory and practice"

-- "Somali refugee women speak out about their needs for care during pregnancy and delivery"

-- "Determinants of women's decision making on whether to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy pharmacologically"

-- "Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution (Isocolan) for constipation during pregnancy: An observational open-label study"

-- "Mucolipidosis type IV a rare genetic disorder: New addition to the Ashkenazi Jewish panel"

Representatives of the media may obtain complimentary copies of articles by contacting Tim Clarke, Jr. at tclarke@acnm.org. Please discuss articles of interest with the authors before publishing stories on their work, and please make reference to the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health in stories published. Contact Tim Clarke, Jr. for additional information or assistance.

For more information, please contact Tim Clarke, Jr., ACNM Communications Manager at 240-485-1821 or via email at tclarke@acnm.org.

With roots dating to 1929, the American College of Nurse-Midwives is the oldest women's health care association in the U.S. ACNM's mission is to promote the health and well-being of women and infants within their families and communities through the development and support of the profession of midwifery as practiced by certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. Midwives believe every individual has the right to safe, satisfying health care with respect for human dignity and cultural variations. More information about ACNM can be found at http://www.midwife.org .

Contact: Tim Clarke Jr.



American College of Nurse-Midwives


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