SSMJ 8-3 Resources


Maternal and child health


Progress for Children

UNICEF's latest data-driven report, Progress for Children, highlights where attention and action must be directed in order to reach the world's most vulnerable children and achieve sustainable growth. In presenting achievements over the MDG period and the challenges children still face, Progress for Children shows both where global and regional gains have been exceptional as well as where disparities have widened since 1990. Analysis of the data reveals inequities that – while not surprising – can no longer be ignored, including:

  • Children from the poorest households are two times as likely to die before their fifth birthday as children from the richest households.
  • In most sub-Saharan African countries, girls from the poorest households remain most disadvantaged in terms of school participation.
  • Adolescent girls are disproportionally affected by HIV, accounting for nearly two thirds of all new HIV infections among adolescents in 2013.




Making women count

This Lancet article says, “Women and health, not women's health.” The distinction is important because unless the contribution women make to society is recognised, the new post-2015 global goal of sustainability will be little more than a distant utopia. The idea of women and health therefore carries some urgency. The reproductive rights of women are too often marginalised in global health, especially the rights and needs of adolescent girls and older women. But the argument of this article is that the global health and development community needs to go beyond sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Ref: Making women count. Richard Horton and Audrey Ceschia


Prevention and Treatment of HIV Infection in Pregnant Women, Mothers and Children

The Interagency Task Team on the Prevention and Treatment of HIV Infection in Pregnant Women, Mothers and Children (IATT) has released the Option B+ Monitoring & Evaluation Framework for Antiretroviral Treatment for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Living with HIV and Their Infants (IATT M&E Option B/B+ Framework). - see - a tool for national programmes expanding PMTCT Option B/B+ treatment approaches. Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) programmes have evolved from delivering a single prophylactic drug to mothers to providing lifelong care and treatment for both mothers and children living with HIV. Lifelong treatment approaches-widely known as 'Option B+'-are expanding from pilots to universal implementation as revised national treatment guidelines are scaled up across generalized epidemic settings. As service delivery programmes expand lifelong treatment approaches, data systems which collect, report and use routine and enhanced programme information must be strengthened to identify programme successes and challenges.


Initiation of CPAP in neonates with respiratory distress in Malawi

Low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) systems have been shown to improve survival in neonates with respiratory distress, in developing countries. District hospitals in Malawi requested guidelines to enable healthcare workers with basic skills and minimal training to determine when treatment with CPAP is necessary. This simple algorithm ‘TRY (T: Tone is good, R: Respiratory Distress and Y=Yes) CPAP’ was developed and validated to identify neonates with respiratory distress who would benefit from CPAP was developed and validated.

Ref: Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2015;100:F332-F336 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-308082
Development and validation of a simple algorithm for initiation of CPAP in neonates with respiratory distress in Malawi. Hundalani et al.


Benefits of advance oxytocin preparation could extend to newborns

Advance preparation of oxytocin not only facilitates rapid administration after delivery to prevent postpartum hemorrhage but also could free health workers to provide immediate neonatal resuscitation to non-breathing newborns within the critical 1-minute time window. See




Deworming revisited

Re-analysis of existing studies by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine finds that deworming schemes may not improve educational attainment as previously claimed.


Hepatitis B and C co-infection linked to worse liver fibrosis than hepatitis B alone

People with both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection may experience more rapid and severe liver disease progression than those with hepatitis B alone, though HBV and HCV co-infection did not appear to worsen hepatitis C progression, according to a French study presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress in April in Vienna, Austria. Read more >>

Eradicating Yaws

Yaws is a chronic neglected tropical disease which mainly affects children in poor regions and is caused by a bacteria which affects the skin and bones, causing weeping ulcers and severe bone deformities. This highly contagious infection is prevalent in areas where people have poor sanitation and little access to healthcare services. This study showed that one round of mass treatment with the single-dose oral drug azithromycin, greatly reduced the transmission and prevalence of yaws on Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea. This and other data provide empirical data to support the Morges yaws eradication strategy proposed by WHO in 2012 (see )

Ref: Mitjà et al, Mass Treatment with Single-Dose Azithromycin for Yaws, New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1408586. And


Health information websites (from HIFA forum

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance is an open network on sustainable sanitation. It invites international, regional and local organisations to join the network, contribute ideas, and to become active partners in the thematic working groups. It provides resource material for people planning and/or implementing sanitation projects to download including technical drawings, videos, publications, posters and an discussion forum.

The Medical Search This search engine gets results only from sites relevant to medical professionals and prevents you having to filter out the low quality content one might get back from a generic medical search on Google. For example, if you search for a drug name e.g. " Dalteparin " you will find that the BNF page is referenced.
BMJ 2014; 349 doi: