The Islamic Republic of Iran News Network quoted the head of the country’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, as saying more than 140 people had been killed and at the least 860 injured on Iran’s side of the border. Iranian state Tv also said Iraqi officials reported at the least six people dead inside Iraq, along with more than 50 people injured in Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 in Khanaquin city. No reports were immediately available from Iraq’s government.
On its website, the USGS placed the quake’s epicenter at about 18.6 miles southwest of the Iraqi city of Halabja.
The USGS also issued an “orange” alert for “shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.”
“Significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread, ” the agency said online. “Past orange alerts have involved a regional or national level response.”
In Iraq, the quake destroyed old homes in Sadr City and triggered supermarket injury in the field. Traffic across Baghdad was slackened to a standstill.
The health department in Baquba, Iraq, said that it had received more than 30 fainting instances. In Khanaqin, the quake hurt five people and the minaret of one of the city’s biggest mosques toppled to the ground.
Koulivand earlier told a local television station that the earthquake knocked out electricity in Iran’s western the two cities of Mehran and Ilam. He also said 35 rescue teams were providing assistance. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call with the Interior Ministry underlined the necessity of achieving maximum effort from officials.
The semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency told at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.
Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily earthquakes. In 2003, a magnitude-6. 6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.
Fox News’ Kadhum Hussein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
It acts on opioid receptors, hence the anxiety. But since some heroin users take it to ease withdrawal, its prohibition could have some very harmful effects indeed
Just this morning I got an email from a head shop Id dropped into on my last trip-up to San Francisco. I didnt recall leaving my email address, but I surely recollected the store, festooned with fascinating herbs in colorful packets, unfamiliar plants, water pipes like octopi, merging aesthetics with efficiency. Sunshine streaming through the windows and the odor of incense, scarcely noticeable but enchanting as always.
I was visiting the haunts of my hippy days, the famous intersection of Haight and Ashbury, and of course everything appeared so much cleaner, more commercial, and, well, more legal, than it had back then. But what to buy? I dont commonly take drugs anymore, legal or not, but I recognized the name kratom on several vividly coloured pockets on display behind the counter.
Kratom( Mitragyna speciosa) is sold as the crushed-up leaf of the kratom plant, grown in jungles throughout southeast Asia. You can induce kratom tea or dissolve it in juice to experience its effects, and its become increasingly popular all over the Western world( though its been around for centuries ). You can buy it at head shops, hundreds of internet site, and now at kratom bars popping up in Los Angeles and other happening places. Plainly some people enjoy this legal high.
Kratom was indeed the topic of the email, and the tone of the message was urgent 😛 TAGEND
Important Info Considering the Future of Kratom
In case you havent heard, theres a very important development regarding your access to this safe and unbelievably helpful herb!
On August 30 the DEA announced their intention to place Kratom on the Schedule I list of substances starting September 30.
You can read all about this remarkable decision by the drug police. Theres a tidy article in Forbes, theres lots on YouTube, and the DEA sitesuccinctly states their rationale 😛 TAGEND
The Drug Enforcement Administration( DEA) today announced its intention to place the active materials in the kratom plant into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoided an imminent hazard to public safety.
The first thing you should know is that Schedule I narcotics most famously heroin, and somewhat embarrassingly marijuana and LSD call for the most severe controls and punishments.( Meth and cocaine are nearby on Schedule II ). So the kratom user may end up cell-mates with meths and heroin addicts.
The second issue is why? Whats the imminent hazard to public safety?
I wasnt aware of any hazard when I asked the pierced young lady behind the counter what type of kratom I should try. I had taken kratom with a friend in the Netherlands where I live. Here its fully legal and sold in shops, as it is in most( but not all) Western countries. Kratom happens to be illegal in Thailand, apparently because it undercuts the lucrative opium industry.
I hadnt felt much the first time Id taken kratom and wanted to give it another try. So I asked the young woman what she recommended and she brought out a menu card. Midnight Blue is the most relaxing, Sunrise is sort of inducing but melloweds you out at the same period. Starshine just helps you feel … centered. Each mixture was touted to profer a slightly different buzz. So I bought a couple of packs for about $20 and got a little … high?
High is a strong term for what kratom actually offers. This plant is just one of a list of age-old plants and herbal extracts that construct people feel a bit peppier, a little bit happier, a bit more relaxed. A listing that includes St Johns Wort, ginseng, wild lettuce, coffee( yes, coffee ), kava, lavender, valerian, betel nut the list goes on and on. The word medicinal is sometimes utilized. But high? That would be stretching it.
You can read all about kratom on the web, but perhaps one reason the DEA considers it an imminent hazard is because part of its effect comes from inducing opioid receptors. You know, those receptors that get you smashed when you shoot heroin. Anything that stimulates opioid receptors and constructs “youre feeling” pleasant must be very dangerous, so we shouldnt take any opportunities. In fact, lets ban alcohol( martinis owe much of their buzz to opioid receptors ), lets ban jogging( that notorious athletes high a long, winding road to the gutter ). And while were at it, lets ban breast milk, which helps babies feel relaxed because it too stimulates opioid receptors.
But kratom is not an opiate. The molecule isnt even vaguely related to morphine or heroin. Its only an herb. Its impossible to overdose on kratom. Youre likely to get a headache if you take too much. The approximately 20 demises attributed to kratom in recent history are thought to be caused by other drugs: the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that commercial forms of kratom are sometimes laced with other compounds that have caused demises. And considering the 88, 000 deaths a year linked to alcohol and the 28, 000 overdose demises from opiates( heroin and analgesics) in the US alone, it seems someone isnt doing their math.
Is kratom addictive? Maybe a little. But not as much as coffee and cigarettes or Q-tips, tattoos, and Pokemon Go. And if you take it daily, guess what? It loses its effect.
Ive built the DEAs announcement sound silly, even stupid. There they go again, banning whatever bothers them until voters in Colorado or somewhere start to object. But theres a terribly tragic outcome to be expected if kratom is banned. Because kratom attaches to opioid receptors, its an ideal route for heroin addicts to get off heroin with minimal withdrawal symptoms a harmless, herbal methadone substitute. This folk-wisdom is splashed all over the net and freely shared among drug users. If kratom is banned in the US, many heroin junkies who want to quit will go back to heroin instead, and many, many more people will die.
The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and get in touch with his darknes side
Adam Driver has a reputation for being a serious young man, which is partly a matter of stance and partly, I suspect, to do with some aspect of his physiognomy: he has a large head and outsize features that somehow combine to give an impression of gravity. Before the photoshoot, he let it be known that he procures it uncomfortable to have a journalist( me) in his sightline on decide, the kind of specification one might expect of a particularly precious Hollywood star. But this turns out to be misleading. Driver’s discomfort is with the entire celebrity facet of his job, which stimulates talking about his role in the most recent Star Warstrilogy somewhat tricky. I don’t even know where to start with The Last Jedi, I tell, as we settle down after the shoot, and Driver smilings, then seems gloomy.” Me, neither ,” he says.
We are in downtown Manhattan, a few miles from Driver’s Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood( Lena Dunham lives there, too) and a more upscale part of Brooklyn than the grungy Greenpoint location of Girls. That depict, the sixth and final season of which ran on HBO earlier this year, was watched by relatively modest numbers, but has had an outsized influence on the culture. Scarcely a day goes by without Dunham being mentioned in a blogpost somewhere, and it dedicated Driver, who played her on-off boyfriend, the kind of career launch twentysomething performers can only dream of. At 34 , not only does he have his second go as Kylo Ren in the most recent Star Wars movie, but he has just shot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, directed against Terry Gilliam, was in the Steven Soderbergh film Logan Lucky and played the title role in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Pretty good, I’d say, although I presume the two Star Wars films- The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi- are the real life-changer.
“No,” Driver says, looking genuinely baffled.
But to be part of a juggernaut that sizing- wasn’t he cautioned it would change his life?” I don’t think anyone used to say, and I wouldn’t have listened to them, anyway. As a person, I’m the same. The problems I had before Force Awakens, it didn’t solve any of them .” He laughs.” For me, the only noticeable difference is your visibility as a person. Loss of anonymity is a big thing. I didn’t realise how I would see that in a billion little routes .”
The fame he had before Star Wars was somewhat localised. As Driver says drily,” In my neighborhood, a lot of people watch HBO .” Star Wars is different:” Seven-year-olds to 70 -year-olds .” It is global and almost impossible to escape. Driver is 6ft 3in and distinctive-looking, like a child’s depict of a human brought to life. He’s even recognisable when travelling at speed.” I supposed, I’ll ride my motorcycle around the city ,” he says,” and within two seconds I get pulled over by the cops, who said,’ Hey, can we take a image ?'”
Really?” Yeah. I mean, I also operated a red light, so it was fair .”
Driver has been in New York since his early 20 s, and part of his appeal as relevant actors has to do with his background. Before attending drama school at Juilliard, he was in the Marine. He was discharged after two years of training, and before his division get shipped to Iraq, following an injury brought on while he was out mountain biking, a terrible jolt at the time.
It is this- the combined effects of the classical theatre training and the military experience- that devotes Driver an unusual ruggedness. As with most things that come up during our conversation, he is mildly amused and emphatically deflating about the role of the military in his appeal as an actor. He already knew he wanted to perform where reference is joined the Marines in his late teens, a move partly inspired by 9/11 and partly by youthful absence of direction.Driver’s application to Juilliard had been rejected; he had no other plans and was listlessly living in his mother and stepfather’s house in Indiana when 9/11 happened, filling him with what he described in a recent TED talk as” an overwhelming sense of duty “. He was also feeling” generally pissed off” and underconfident, and for some reason- he agrees, looking back, that it was in many ways an odd move- signing up seemed to be the answer.
At high school, Driver wasn’t particularly macho.” I didn’t do organised athletics , not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t very good at them. Except basketball. But I was never, like: let’s play football .”
He principally hung out with the high school drama nerds.” I wasn’t someone who was into groups of guys- we’re men ! We’re going to eat meat !” He appears momentarily wry.” I don’t know what guys do. Anyway, I would never have talked to those people before the military. Now you’re stuck in the epitome of alpha-male territory .”
To everyone’s surprise, he loved it. One can virtually consider why: there is an earnestness to Driver that enjoyed the purity of military life and the more he talks about it, the more he makes it sound like a combat version of Buddhism.” There’s something about going into the military and having all of your identity and possessions stripped away: that whole lucidity of purpose thing. It becomes very clear to you, when you get your liberty back, that there’s stuff you want to do .”
The bonds Driver constructed with his fellow Marines were startling to him, devoted how different many of them were in terms of background.( In his own family, his mother is a paralegal, his stepfather a Baptist preacher and his father works” at the copy counter at Office Depot “.) In the military, Driver tells , none of that mattered.” You’re in this high-stakes environment where who you are as a person is constantly tested. And, in my experience, a lot of the person or persons I was closest to in the military were very self-sacrificing. For me, it speaks volumes, more than how well they were able to articulate, or whatever front they were putting on. You get to see them at their most vulnerable and they’re literally going to back you up. All pretences dissolve .”
“We do expect more reports of illness since there is a two-week delay between when a person becomes ill and when they are confirmed to be part of an outbreak,” said Matthew Wise, deputy branch chief for outbreak response at the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.
Forty-six of the ill individuals have been hospitalized, a higher rate than the 30% typically seen in E. coli outbreaks.
“CDC laboratory testing has confirmed that the strain of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 causing this outbreak produces a type of toxin that tends to cause more severe illness, which may explain why there is a high hospitalization rate,” the agency said in an outbreak investigation update Friday.
Ten of the hospitalized patients have developed a type of kidney failure associated with E. coli called hemolytic uremic syndrome. They range in age from 18 to 87 years old, and three of them are children, according to the CDC.
The individuals who most recently became ill began experiencing symptoms April 20. Those symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. They begin, on average, three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover in five to seven days. Those most at risk for E. coli illness include the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.
“This is serious, and everyone should avoid romaine,” Wise said, adding that the advice to consumers is for everyone — not limited to specific groups such as those most at risk for severe illness.
That advice: “Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”
The growing season in the Yuma region runs from November to March and then moves north to Salinas, California, for the summer. The move is underway, and some farms in Yuma have completed their season, but the FDA said it cannot confirm that no more lettuce is being shipped from the region based on the information it has from industry organizations.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have yet to identify a brand, manufacturer, supplier or farm as the source of the E. coli contamination. However, they have identified Harrison Farms in Yuma as the grower of the whole heads of romaine that caused illness in eight inmates at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska. The growing season at that farm has ended, but health investigators are planning to visit the farm in an effort to determine the how the lettuce became contaminated.
The CDC emphasized that although the other 90 cases of illness are linked to the eight in Alaska, those 90 are from chopped bagged lettuce, and that contamination source remains a mystery.
“At this point, we are looking at the whole spectrum” of the supply chain, said Stic Harris,director of the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network. “As we go through the distribution of product, we are looking for places of convergence where the contamination may have happened. We are looking at each grower or shipper or supplier to see if there is a convergence.”
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There is no evidence that lettuce grown outside the Yuma region is part of this outbreak, according to Harris.
This is the largest outbreak of its kind since a deadly E. coli outbreak in 2006 that was linked to spinach. Unlike spinach, which is often cooked, romaine — and lettuce in general — is more common as a culprit in E. coli outbreaks because it’s eaten raw.
“There’s no kill step,” Harris said, noting that he himself eats romaine several times a week.
The trumpeter talks about growing up in a musical family, why his first marriage went wrong, and being a grandfather
I grew up in central Los Angeles. My father was born in Russia. He was a survivor. He had come to the US in 1915, when he was 16, not speaking a word of English, on his own, at the insistence of his family. He landed in Ellis Island and made a life for himself. My mother was from the Lower East Side of New York. She was a secretary, she was good with numbers and played the violin, but not professionally.
One of my earliest memories is from when I was eight. In school, in a music appreciation class, there was a table filled with instruments and I happened to pick up a trumpet. It had a profound effect on my life. At home, Id be playing it, and the neighbours would yell, Shut the window! while my mother yelled back at them. My brother played drums; we were a musical family. My father could play the mandolin, although he didnt read music.
As my fathers fortunes improved, he brought the rest of his family from Russia to live near us. My grandfather stayed there. I remember my paternal grandmother, but she only spoke Yiddish so communication was an issue. My mother wasnt close to her own parents so we didnt see much of them. I had an elder brother, David, who was five years my senior. We used to play outside or in the street, but I was super-shy and followed him around, but he wasnt so interested in hanging out with me.
I guess we were middle class. My dad earned a reasonable living manufacturing womens suits and clothing as a business; we didnt struggle and had a vacation now and then.
I didnt have a strong idea about what career I wanted. I knew I liked playing the trumpet. My brother and I played together at parties and events. At high school, I was in a little group, with piano, bass, drums and trumpet. We entered a TV talent contest that pitted groups from local high schools against each other. Even though few people had TV sets in the 1950s, we won the show for eight consecutive weeks and that made us a name, so we got gigs around the city on the back of that.
I got married when I was 21. At the time, Id been drafted and was playing with the Sixth Army band in San Franciscos Presidio. I was also working part-time in a gym, and tried my hand at acting for a while, but that didnt work out. I was too young to get married, as evidenced by my getting divorced. I probably didnt understand what was expected of me at that age. Then I got famous and started touring the world, so I wasnt around much.
When I got married the second time, I felt very lucky. Lani is my dream girl. We have been married for 42 years now and had a child together.
Im not sure what my parents taught me. My father didnt articulate much, but led by example. He was generous to his family and very open-hearted. If someone needed his help, he was always right there for them, and I saw how people responded to his generosity.
Im now a grandfather a few times over. My youngest is two-and-a-half years old. I love the experience and we see family as much as we can. They are scattered across the state, but we have Skype so that helps us stay connected.
Family is the part of my life that gives me comfort. I am very aware of, and sensitive to, my familys needs and Ill always be there for them, but family is not something I totally live for. You get one chance to do your thing in this life and I am doing my thing. My creativity drives me I dont have any control over it. I know I have made a lot of people happy with my music, and that gives me an enormous energy and pleasure.
Herb Alperts new album, Human Nature, is out now, along with 24 of his albums remastered: herbalpert.com
Agency will bar men who have had sex with another man in the previous year from donating, a policy activists believe is still discriminatory
US government health officials are lifting the nations 32-year-old lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, but major restrictions will remain on who can donate.
The ban had been aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV, the virus which causes Aids, but medical groups and gay activists have long said the ban could no longer be justified, based on modern testing methods. The US Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that the change is backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply.
Officials are replacing the blanket ban with a policy barring donations from men who have had sex with another man in the previous year. While the policy has been criticized by activists, the FDA stance is in line with that of other countries, including Australia and Britain. The US lifetime ban was put in place during the early Aids crisis.
The agency said people with hemophilia and related blood-clotting disorders will continue to be banned from donating blood due to potential harm they could suffer from large needles. Previously they were banned due to an increased risk of transmitting HIV.
The agency said it has also put in place a safety monitoring system for the blood supply, which it expects to provide critical information to help inform future FDA blood donor policies.
Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the US population, Dr Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDAs biologics division, said in a statement. Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have 12-month deferrals.
During the change in Australia from an indefinite blood donor deferral policy essentially a ban to a 12-month deferral, studies evaluating more than eight million units of donated blood were performed using a national blood surveillance system, the FDA said.
These published studies document no change in risk to the blood supply with use of the 12-month deferral, the agency said. Similar data are not available for shorter deferral intervals.
The agency said its policies to date have helped reduce HIV transmission rates from blood transfusions from 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 1.47 million.
But many medical providers and activists working directly in HIV/Aids said the new policy is still discrimination.
In practice, the new policy is still a continuation of the lifetime ban and ignores the modern science of HIV-testing technology while perpetuating the stereotype that all gay and bisexual men are inherently dangerous, said Kelsey Louie, the executive director of the Gay Mens Health Crisis, a leader in HIV/Aids providing care, after the announcement. Blood donation policies should be based on science, not stigma.
GMHC sees the focus on abstinence as just a continuation of stigma towards gay and bisexual men in the US, even stating the US needs to stop reacting to HIV like it is the early 1980s.
And some elected officials rushed to agree.
It is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship cant give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite-sex partners in the last year can, said Colorado representative Jared Polis in a statement after the announcement.
There is no scientific reason to impose a celibacy requirement on gay men before they can donate blood, he continued.
In an official statement released by the congressional LGBT Equality Caucus calling for the FDA to end all bans on gay and bisexual men from donating blood, congressional members pointed to a 2014 FDA BloodDROPS survey, which found that found the prevalence of HIV in gay and bisexual male blood donors was just 0.25%, which is actually lower than the overall prevalence in the US of 0.38%.
This past year, we saw tremendous progress for the LGBT community with the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, said Illinois congressman Mike Quigley.
Unfortunately, todays official policy change by the FDA on blood donations from men who have sex with men from a lifetime ban to one-year deferral does not keep up with that same progress.
Zach Stafford, Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
The mass of the plastic in the oceans right now can be compared to 17 Great Pyramids of Giza, and per year, another 550 Brooklyn Bridges’ worth is added. Make no mistake: plastic pollution is an ecological and environmental scourge.
One of the primary components of this waste are microplastics, sesame seed-sized beads that a plethora of marine life can accidentally ingest. An international team of researchers, led by the Marine Megafauna Foundation( MMF) and Murdoch University, use a new examine to highlight the risks that microplastics may pose to big filter feeders, including baleen whales, whale sharks, and manta rays.
These animals strain particles suspended in the water column using a specialized structure. Plenty use this mechanism to eat plankton, but it’s been thought that microplastics- either as isolated particles or already in the digestive systems of prey they’re about to eat- could be posing a number of problems for these beasts too.
The team explain that their review of a recent studies underscores not just how prevalent microplastic is in marine ecosystems, but how little we currently understand about it. Although the extent of the biological effects of ingesting microplastics isn’t yet clear, research has found that these polyethylene plastic particles are causing toxicity in fish and birds that eat them.
Filter feeders, which tend to have fewer offspring and live long lives, are likely to be at risk too; if these key species die off, this could severely disrupt local food chain. Only a few analyses looking into how microplastic threatens big filter feeders exist, though, and ultimately, more work is required to constrain these underreported and under-researched threats. This paper serves as a rallying cry in that regard.
“Understanding the effects of microplastic pollution on filter-feeding megafauna is imperative because nearly half of the mobulid rays, two-thirds of filter-feeding sharks, and over one quarter of baleen whales are listed by the IUCN as globally threatened species and prioritized for conservation, ” the authors note in their study.
The paper also points out that sizeable filter feeders tend to gather in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay of Bengal, the Coral Triangle, and the Mediterranean Sea, which are known to be microplastic “hotpots”. The team’s its consideration of recent data, published in the periodical Trends in Ecology& Evolution, suggests that this means that microplastics could be regularly making their style through their filtration mechanisms.
A 2016 examine focusing on these oceanic giants concluded that “exposure to microplastics because of direct ingestion and consumption of contaminated prey represents a major threat to the health of fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea.” As another example, the MMF that same year noted that preliminary findings, based on concentrations of microplastics, “suggest that mantas could be ingesting 40 -9 0 pieces of plastic per hour of surface feeding in the locations studied.”
It’s not actually a recent problem- microplastics have been falling seaward for half a century now, which means that the cumulative effects of this pollution over hour could be more severe than we’re currently aware. This analyse underscores another facet to this crisis, and its findings can be added to an already extensive, tragic tapestry.
Plastic- wherever in the ocean is may be found- is fundamentally altering our planet’s ecosystems. Coral reefs infested by it are find their diseases rates skyrocket, and bacteria are appearing to evolve to digest this massive, new resource.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that the plastics consumed by aquatic fauna throughout the world’s oceans are often retrieved from the sea by fisheries, which means we’re eating our own plastic waste. One calculate indicates those with a penchant for seafood are eating around 11, 000 plastic fragments every single year.
What goes around, comes around, as they say.
Studies like this raise awareness, and governments around the world are beginning to implement both plastic and microplastic prohibitions. Progression is slow, though- which attains the future of our oceans profoundly and disconcertingly unclear.
A little feminism goes a long way in parts of rural India where the number of women who die in labor has been cut by 90 percent
The message is written on a poster, hung between trees that offer shade but little relief from the shining sunlight. It spells out what has been achieved in this rural Indian village:” We no longer succumb in childbirth .”
For the women of Purabgaon, in the Amethi district of Uttar Pradesh, expectations had always been clear. Get married young, then have back-to-back pregnancies. Those newborns would be delivered in unsanitary conditions at home by a dai , a village midwife with no training and many superstitions.
” Even if a woman was taken to hospital for the birth, half an hour subsequently she would be bundled home to do the chores, feed the cattles and cook ,” told Gulab Yadav, research projects manager in Amethi for Save a Mother.
The maternal mortality rate( MMR) in Amethi has been one of the highest in the world- 451 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to a 2008 government survey. Anaemia is one key problem: around 55% of Indian women are anaemic, and rural women’s diets are often poor.
Save a Mother aims to educate rural girls about pregnancy, nutrition, immunisation, delivery and care of the child.” We told them to delay having the first baby and leave a three-year gap between pregnancies to keep mom and child safe and healthy. And they understand that delivery in hospital is safest because complications such as heavy bleeding can be treated ,” said Gita Gupta, a Save a Mother team leader.
Gupta leads a group of 20 female” change agents” in Purabgaon. Each of the 360 villages in Amethi covered by the scheme has a team of 20 agents- local women trained to educate other women.
Gupta sometimes changes the lyrics of romantic folk song to refer to iron supplements, intrauterine devices( IUDs) and breastfeeding.” They find it easier to remember what I’ve told them if they sing it ,” she said.
Beginning with 20 villages in Amethi 10 years ago, Save a Mother has expanded to 1,100 villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. The maternal mortality rate for those working villages has been reduced by 90% and infant mortality is down by 60%.
Last year in Purabgaon , not a single mother been killed in childbirth. Nationwide there are five maternal deaths in childbirth every hour, but the mortality rate has been falling steadily, from 280 per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 174 in 2015 and 130 in 2016.
Shiban Ganju, a Chicago-based doctor, founded Save a Mother after a visit to rural Uttar Pradesh.” As a physician I knew[ the high mortality rate] could be solved by a dedicated group working with the community ,” he said.
Ten years on, he said he had learned two key things. Firstly, that changing social behaviours is the most effective and least expensive way to reduce the impact of illnes. And secondly, that the Indian government should increase its public health expending from the present 1.1% of GDP- one of the lowest proportions in the world- to 2.5%.
Some of the older women in Purabgaon talked candidly about the relentless pressure they were put under to give birth.” I had five children in quick succession, my mother-in-law kept telling she wanted a grandson. Then I wedded off my eldest daughter at 15. That was wrong ,” said Urmila Devi.” I know better now. My youngest girl won’t get married before 20 and I will tell her to control her pregnancies .”
The village remains highly conservative, but the project had an effect: many women can now leave the house and attend meetings without requiring the permission of their husband or mother-in-law. Moreover, empowered by the information they have absorbed about pregnancy and childbirth, they have some leverage in family discussions.
” They tell their spouses that if they want a healthy baby … the mother has to eat well. If they aren’t dedicated fish or meat, they drink two glass of milk instead. And they insist on a hospital delivery ,” told Gupta.
In the past, tradition has dictated that girls wait for a clergyman to announce an auspicious moment to start breast-feeding the newborn. While waiting, often for up to three days, they fed goat or cow milk to the baby, causing diarrhoea.” Now we breastfeed at once. We don’t wait for the priest ,” said one of the mothers, Kanti Devi.
Seema Agrahari’s three children , now six, three and one, are always being implemented in hospital.” I had an IUD for my family planning. It’s the best thing I did. I felt well during each pregnancy ,” she said.” But I could have been one of those who died in childbirth. Datum saved me .”
This article is part of a series on possible solutions to some of the world’s most stubborn problems. What else should we cover-up? Email us at theupside @theguardian. com