On October 8th 2010, I attended the 10th annual Global Health USAID Mini University at the George Washington University along with hundreds of other health professionals and global health students.
I was particularly captivated by a session that discussed an initiative that mobilized and collaborated with Muslim scholars to increase men’s involvement in reproductive health and family planning at the community level. Men’s involvement in maternal and newborn health is critical to reduce deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth, especially in countries where women’s health care decisions, such as determining family size or timing of pregnancies, are heavily influenced by their husbands.
Heather Sanders, a program officer from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, spoke about an initiative in Pakistan – a country where one woman dies every hour from pregnancy or childbirth – called Ulama
which aimed to increase knowledge and motivate health care-seeking by men for pregnant women and children.