'Our mother's house' (2015)

Community Jameel marks Maternal Health Awareness Day 2024


For Maternal Health Awareness Day 2024, Community Jameel is shining a spotlight on the work of partners across its network. Marked annually on 23 January, the day raises awareness of mothers' health and wellbeing; the 2024 theme is "Access in crisis". From mothers affected by conflict in Gaza and poverty in the slums of Uttar Pradesh, to mental health and maternal mortality, Community Jameel highlights the work of Save the Children, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), the Jameel Arts & Health Lab and the MIT Jameel Clinic.

Pregnant mothers and newborn babies in Gaza

Community Jameel is supporting Save the Children to help Egyptian paramedics and first responders provide lifesaving care to pregnant Palestianian mothers and newborn babies evacuated from Gaza for urgent medical attention in Egypt.

The support for mothers and children is a package of emergency humanitarian measures for the Gaza response announced by Save the Children and Community Jameel in November 2023. This also includes delivering paediatric and maternal medical equipment and supplies to frontline Save the Children staff in Gaza and the ambulance service in Egypt; remotely training and equipping up to 100 clinical staff in Gaza to provide specialist treatment and care to up to 100,000 children suffering from blast injuries; and supplying 1,000 stop-the-bleed packs for the treatment of children’s blast injuries.

Music and motherhood

Clinical research from a 10-week singing programme shows that singing can reduce symptoms of postpartum depression by up to 38%, especially for those with moderate to severe symptoms.

This groundbreaking research into the healing effects of the arts has been published by Jameel Arts & Health Lab co-director Nils Fietje and the chair of the Lab's advisory board, Professor Daisy Fancourt, with collaborators including from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Performance Science, a joint centre of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music in London.

The WHO Music and Motherhood protocol builds on this work, and last month, the Jameel Arts & Health Lab was selected by the Museum for the UN's 2023 'Top 10 culture for impact' list for this work.

Maternal knowledge and wellbeing in India's slums

J-PAL and the award-winning organisation Shramik Bharti are working with 1,200 mothers from 60 slums in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, to support mothers’ mental wellbeing and raise awareness of child health.

Facing rising malnutrition, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this project aimed to understand whether raising awareness among mothers about the importance of a balanced diet, the nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables, traditional home-made nutrient rich food items, basic hygiene and breastfeeding can help improve the health and wellbeing of both young children and their mothers.

Moreover, since mothers are primarily responsible for childcare, their poor mental health may also have an adverse effect on the growth and overall development of the child. This can be due to negligence in infant and toddler care – such as improper feeding practices, exposure to infection, and inadequate psychosocial care. The project therefore also aims to see if improving mental health and wellbeing of mothers, and training them to manage time and health, improves childcare quality and eventually child health.

The project was supported as part of J-PAL's 'Cash transfers for child health initiative', funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Using AI to improve maternal health equity

Rates of pregnancy-related death in the US are the highest in the developed world and have been rising steadily, against a global trend towards improvement.

Maternal mortality increased from 20.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2019, to 23.8 in 2020, with Black and Hispanic women disproportionately affected.

In the lab of MIT Jameel Clinic principal investigator Professor Marzyeh Ghassemi, doctoral student Vinith Suriyakumar is developing an AI model for maternal mortality risk assessment to help improve maternal health equity.

'Our mother's house'

The image featured in this announcement is from the ‘Our mother’s house’ mural, created in 2015 by a collective of female artists from Rijal Alma in Asir, Saudi Arabia, and displayed in the United Nations Headquarters in New York as part of a collaboration by the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, Art Jameel and Edge of Arabia.

The artists were Salehah Yahya Alalmaiy, Salehah Abdulzeaz Alraqde, Jamelah Ali Alsoghayer, Arwa Mohammed Alzehr, Halimah Moshabab Assiry, Fawzeiyah Mohammed Barzyq, Sharifah Mohammed Mahdi, Nawarah Abdolrahman Moghawi, Ohud Ebraheam Moghawi, Fatemah Faya Yaqub, Zohrah Faya Yaqub, Safia Ahmed, Amira Al-Almai, Nala Ali, Salha Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Zaina Al-Shahrani, Sharifa Ayed, Fatimah Hassan, Jameelah Mater, Jewaher Mater, Reem Mater and Fatima Yahya.

The project was advised by Arwa Alnaemi, Ahmed Mater and Fatimah Jaber, with support from Ali Moghawi.

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