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Poverty and humanitarian crises

Advancing health as a human right

Imagine a world where

  • Nearly one billion people no longer go to bed hungry every night
  • Poor women in developing countries no longer die of preventable causes during childbirth
  • Humanitarian workers operate consistently and effectively in the field

When disaster strikes

Even when aid dollars are flowing, humanitarian intervention doesn’t always work as it should. Tragically, despite the best intentions, aid workers often lack the training, coordination, and systems needed to identify and implement effective and culturally appropriate aid. The Humanitarian Academy—the first comprehensive educational program for aid workers offered by a major global university—is teaching humanitarian workers to operate effectively in crisis situations and training the future leaders of aid agencies and government programs.

Meanwhile, every two minutes, a woman dies in the act of giving life. Every year, about 3.1 million newborns die and 1.2 million are stillborn due to complications during delivery. Almost all of these deaths are preventable. The Women and Health Initiative at HSPH is working to change the forces that threaten the lives and livelihoods of women and families around the world. Collaborating with international aid groups, local agencies in several countries, and numerous programs across Harvard, the Initiative coordinates, convenes, informs, and advocates on behalf of women’s and children’s health as well as women in their roles as health care providers.