Saving Asia’s Mothers

Saving Asia’s Mothers

by Anderson E. Stanciole,Federica Maurizio

BANGKOK – With all the talk about the impending “Asian century,” one might imagine that the region had moved beyond what are often viewed as poor-country health challenges, like high rates of maternal mortality. The reality is very different.

In 2015, an estimated 85,000 women died of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth across the Asia-Pacific region – 28% of the global total. Up to 90% of those deaths, which were concentrated in just 12 countries, could have been prevented through quality antenatal, obstetric, and perinatal care.

In the absence of such care, the average maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Asia-Pacific region is extremely high: 127 per 100,000 live births, compared to the developed-country average of 12 per 100,000. The 12 countries with the highest MMRs, exceeding 100 deaths per 100,000 live births, are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

These countries, together, accounted for about 78,000 known maternal deaths in 2015. The actual figure is probably higher. In fact, MMRs are notoriously difficult to estimate, with conflict, poverty, poor infrastructure, weak health systems, and inadequate resources causing many deaths to go unreported.

MMR data do, however, provide an indication of general trends, which are not promising. Indeed, if they persist, hundreds of thousands of mothers in those 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries alone could lose their lives by 2030.

To be sure, substantial progress has been made in the last 15 years, and efforts are being made to sustain it. The United Nations development agenda, underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to reduce the MMR to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. If that target is met, up to 100,000 lives could be saved across the Asia-Pacific region.

Achieving the goal presupposed faster progress, with annual rates of MMR reduction particularly low (2%) in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. On current trends, only four of the Asia-Pacific region’s 12 high-MMR countries will be able to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality. The remaining eight will require an average of 26 years.

maternal mortality rate

At a time when family-planning policies are becoming increasingly restrictive, accelerating the pace of progress could prove difficult. Indeed, for some countries, progress is at risk of slowing.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is working hard to counter this trend. We are committed to ensuring that all pregnancies are safe and wanted, and that all women and girls are empowered not just to make their own choices about their own families and bodies, but also to contribute more to poverty reduction and economic development.

In the 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries, the UNFPA advocates the development of responsive and inclusive health systems with sufficient numbers of trained personnel, from midwives to community-health workers. And we are already working to advance that objective.

In Afghanistan, the UNFPA and its partners have supported the expansion of community health services, including the creation of 80 family health houses and nine mobile support teams. Those initiatives had reached more than 420,000 people by 2015.

In Lao PDR, the UNFPA has helped the Ministry of Health train midwives and village health volunteers to provide basic sexual and reproductive care, providing the information that women need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. This contributed in a steep drop in the MMR, from 450 to 220 per 100,000 live births, between 2005 and 2015.

In Fiji, the UNFPA, with the support of the Australian government, pre-positioned thousands of dignity and reproductive-health kits. Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in February 2016, these strategically placed supplies help to address women and girls’ immediate reproductive-health needs, saving the lives of mothers and children.

But, while such initiatives are already having a powerful impact, more investment must be channeled toward ensuring that comprehensive health services are available and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups. In particular, additional resources must be allocated to sexual- and reproductive-health services – and to ensuring access to them. Strengthening the provision of antenatal care, ensuring safe delivery through skilled birth attendance, and expanding emergency obstetric care are all key interventions that can reduce MMRs across the region.

Of course, women also need access to family-planning services, to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of unsafe abortions. The rights of all women and their partners to choose the family-planning method that is appropriate for them must be respected, and a full range of quality contraceptives must be readily available to all.

When women have full control over their sexual and reproductive health, society as a whole reaps enormous benefits. In fact, every $1 invested in modern contraceptive services can yield as much as $120 in social, economic, and environmental returns. Such investment should come partly from international development assistance, which must place a higher priority on sexual- and reproductive-health services, and partly from national governments.

But money is not all governments can offer. They can and must develop inclusive policies that address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups, including in ways that go beyond the health sector. This includes fighting harmful practices such as child marriage and gender-based violence; removing legal barriers to contraception; and working with communities to address misconceptions around sexual and reproductive health.

Safe pregnancy and childbirth should be a top priority for all societies, as it is for the UNFPA. If we are to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality, we must work together to advance targeted, tailored interventions that respect the rights of women and girls to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2016.

Love . Hope . Health Campaign

Love . Hope . Health Campaign

Founded in July 2017, Compassionate Care Foundation is a non-governmental and charitable organization that promotes the health and well-being of individuals with limited financial resources through innovative green solutions.

Compassionate Care Berhad, through the support of its core partner, IRCare Sdn Bhd, brings the benefits of Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy (a natural, non-invasive and safe alternative therapy), to those who are in need of a solution to their pain and health problems but are unable to afford payment for these services.

The Compassionate Care Foundation aims to be the first not-for-profit organization in Malaysia that provides Molecular Hydrogen Treatment/Therapy for the under-privileged individuals suffering from chronic pain and various health problems, mainly diseases such as Kidney failure, Liver Failure, Diabetes, Side effects of Radiotherapy) and as well as those suffering from Skin Diseases and Wounds, thus enabling under-privileged individuals to regain a healthy and active life.

Our Advisor ~ YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Lee Lam Thye

Since young, Tan Sri was profoundly interested to serve the country and fellow Malaysians in ways he could contribute towards the betterment of the nation. As such throughout the years, Tan Sri had always focused on the basic principles of welfare and safety of the rakyat. After his retirement from politics, Tan Sri continued to serve the nation in several capacities such as – Chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health under the Ministry of Human Resources, Chairman of Eco World Foundation and Vice-Chairman of the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, to name a few.

“As a community activist myself, I have always supported efforts to help the people, regardless of their backgrounds. I will give my best to help the foundation fulfils its mission to restore good health to the underprivileged Malaysians who are suffering from pain and poor health”.

The aim of the ‘Love.Hope.Health’ Campaign is to reach out and help the under-privileged individuals suffering from these conditions to recover and to lead a healthier life, through Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy.


  • Chronic Pain: To help relieve their chronic pain, enabling them to lead a normal pain free life
  • Skin Allergy and Open Wounds: To help resolve their skin allergies and open wound conditions
  • Diseases: To rebuild their body systems to fight diseases and restore their organ functions

Target Beneficiaries

This campaign is open to under-privileged individuals who fall under the following criteria:

  • Household or personal Income which is less than RM2,500 per month (or RM30,000.00 a year)
  • Unemployed due to illness or disabilities
  • Abandoned old aged individuals or others reasons as approved by the Board Members

Treatment sessions will be conducted at our Core Partner (Hi-Bliss) Centres at Menara Mudajaya and Damen Mall, Subang Jaya.

Target Date: This campaign will be on-going from May to December 2018.

Contact us now at 03-7727 8679 or 017-847 5496 or via email at [email protected] to enquire on your eligibility for participation in this campaign or if you know of any individuals who may benefit from this campaign.

My Tips on Managing Cravings (plus easy recipes)

My Tips on Managing Cravings (plus easy recipes)

All of us have those days…. The craving days.

I believe everyone has their unique “craving patterns”. For me, I can be quite a habitual person, even when cravings are concerned. I go through a period of time (days or weeks) where I crave for the exact same thing at a particular hour of the day.

There are plenty of researches out there about the meaning behind every craving. I’ve yet to test those out but I did find a way to satisfy my different cravings the healthiest way possible, without compromising on flavours or satisfaction.

I hope my tips will help you to satisfy your cravings, guilt-free without depriving yourself of anything.

#1 Sweet Cravings

I went through a period where I just can’t help but to end my dinners with a lil something sweet. And fruits won’t suffice in this case (besides eating fruits right after meals have always caused me bloatedness). Sure, I could have shrugged it off and practice “mind over matter”, but doing that every night could be a tad bit stressful for me and not to mention restrictive. I’m all for discipline, but deprivation on the other hand………..

I found a happy medium which allows me to indulge, yet not stressing my body with processed sugar. If my craving is just for a day, I’ll say “heck i’ll just waltz into “Rekindle” (a popular cake joint in my area) and enjoy a slice” but I’m not about to do that every day.

I resorted to 2 alternatives;

A spoonful of The Pantry’s Chocolate Hazelnut or a couple of frozen choc hazelnut squares always never fail.


And, what more it’s nourishing; made with only 3 basic wholesome ingredients: 93% dry roasted hazelnuts, 5% raw honey and 2% unsweetened cocoa.

#2 Cold Cravings

This “cold cravings” streak just ended for me not too long ago. Days where all I wanted to do is to curl up in bed with my Netflix on and a bowl of ice cream in hand. Thankfully, I’m no stranger to homemade ice cream so I got that craving handled pretty easily. This recipe was my go-to for those few weeks. It takes only a few minutes to whip this up.


Recipe: Chocolate-Banana Nice Cream

2 Large Frozen Bananas | 2 Tbsp of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread | Toppings: chopped nuts

Add all ingredients into food processor and blitz till it’s smooth.

#3 Crispy Cravings

Who doesn’t love a good bag of crisps? I know I do. My all-time fave has got to be Kettle’s Jalapeno Chips. Just like everything, moderation is key. No way can I be bagging one pack of those everyday. But, kale chips on the other hand……….

This became my favourite movie snack for a period of time… 😁

Flavour ✔️
Crunch ✔️
Nourishing ✔️

Enough said.

Recipe for Kale Chips

A bunch of kale | Drizzle of Olive Oil | Dash of pink Himalayan salt & cayenne pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven at 180C
  2. Massage oil into kale
  3. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper before serving.

#4 Late Night Cravings

As much as we want to satisfy our cravings instead of ignoring it, there are times where we can exercise control and discipline as well. And, I’ve got just the tip for you to help ease your cravings. Hot tea. Ginger Tea in particular. It’s my ultimate favourite and it always works like a charm.

Recipe for Ginger Tea

1 tea bag | Thumb size Ginger | Hot Water


  1. Grate ginger and strain.
  2. Add ginger juice in a cup of hot tea.
  3. Sip and enjoy!


There you go guys, the 4 different ways I typically use to manage my cravings. The key is not to feel guilty for satisfying your cravings, but at the same time practice moderation. Find alternatives that would work for you, and these alternatives need not be “second best” or the consolation prize. Eating healthy is not boring, bland or difficult. You just gotta find what works for you. I hope some of these recipes and ideas have inspired you to eat well and stress less about your cravings.  

As always, remember to show some love today, encourage someone with a compliment, lend a ear to a friend who needs it, give a smile (it goes a long way) and share good vibes.✌️

Are trendy health food really healthy?

Are trendy health food really healthy?

We have heard so much, read so much, watched so much about it; in the mags, social media, brand campaigns or our friends… I’m talking about health food. Once a certain type of food is circulated to be “healthy”, you see new brands popping up to promote them, articles being written about them. And that’s all good, don’t get me wrong. Awareness is always a good thing. But I can’t help but notice the marketing and awareness that goes out with it is usually incomplete. Benefits are highlighted but that’s it. It stops there. It is crucial when something is labelled healthy because consumption will increase and some people may even throw moderation out the door just because they are deemed healthy!

I thought today I’ll draw out two examples of “health food” which are amazing and that I absolutely love, but they are also the two that many people may not be fully aware of “what they really contain”.

Health Food #1: Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a health food with plenty of health benefits. It provides good bacteria that helps with digestion and immune system, along with many other nutrients. However, with the amount of added sugar, flavouring and colouring that goes into most yoghurt you find in stores now, they may not be that healthy anymore. Yes, you still get your good bacteria, but what about the loads of processed sugar you’re feeding your body which affects your insulin sensitivity that is crucial in preventing diseases?

Have you checked the ingredients that goes into the yoghurt you consume daily? Taking an example of one I randomly pick up from the supermarket shelves:

A 135ml flavoured yoghurt;

Ingredient list: Milk Solids, Mixed Berries, Mixed Live Culture, Sugar, Stabiliser, Flavouring, Colouring, Permitted Food Conditioner

Sugar: 18.9g

Our daily recommended sugar intake is 37.5 gm and 25 gm for men and women respectively. And that’s not adding the fact that the sugar in these yoghurt is not natural sugar but refined.

I love my yoghurt and I found two that I go to regularly. And that’s Farmers Union’s Natural Yoghurt and Farmers Union’s Greek Style Yoghurt

Ingredient list: Milk, Milk Solids, Cream, Live Cultures.

It may be too tangy eaten on its own, but that’s where you can get creative with it. Add in your raw honey, or nut butter and you’ll have yourself a naturally flavoured yoghurt that’s delicious and nutritious.

Recipe: Honey-Berry Yoghurt Bowl



Mix yoghurt with raw honey. Add toppings and enjoy!

Health Food #2: Raw Juices

A bottle of raw juice, made with a kg of fresh produce with no added sugar or flavouring. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Ofcourse, if compared to many processed, refined sugar laden beverages, raw juices are great. But if you’re talking about going on a juice cleanse or consuming raw juices daily, we ought to know what makes up the juices and the science behind drinking raw juices.

Juices are healthy because you are basically getting a “hit” of vitamins and micronutrients (you can’t eat 1kg of produce but you can drink them), and because it is fibre-free, it promotes better absorption of nutrients and vitamins into your body. So that makes it good. But as much as your body is absorbing everything at its maximum rate, it is also absorbing the “natural sugar” just the same. With raw juices, to make it “tasty” many would add a multitude of fruits or even make a 100% pure fruit juice. Fruit itself contain natural sugar, eaten on its own with fiber, is great, but when it’s juiced and drank fiber free in a big dose, you are basically pumping your body with loads of sugar.

It is fine if you want to enjoy it once in a while (i mean you can’t always resist a freshly pressed glass of OJ right? 😉), but if you’re making it everyday as part of your “healthy habit”, then it would be best to minimize amount of fruits, and add vegetables instead. I love going with the ratio of 70:30 or 80:20. So you’re basically juicing mainly vegetables, topping it off with some fruits to sweeten it a little.

“Juice your greens and eat your fruits”

Recipe: Ultimate Green Juice

  • 250g Kale/Spinach
  • 200g Cucumber
  • 200g Green Apple
  • 20g Lemon
  • 10g Ginger
  • 20g Broccoli

I hope what’s shared today will encourage you to always read your ingredient list before purchasing any staple. You don’t have to avoid anything completely; if you love a good icy cold fruit juice or a favourite flavoured yoghurt, go enjoy it! But just not overdoing it is key, in addition to being aware of what you’re consuming regularly.

“Food is just like life itself, enjoy it but be sure to make wise choices as well” 😉

Alright, am leaving you guys with that. As always, don’t get too buried in the urgent things in life and forget the important ones that truly matter at the end of the day. Love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love, Erina

Quick Yet Healthy Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Quick Yet Healthy Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Many of us struggle with eating healthy. “Why”, you ask? These are the common answers I would get:

“I got no time la….”


“I don’t know how to eat healthy la…”

I thought what better way to address this than to share with you a meal plan that includes easy recipes. Eating healthy can’t get any easier than this… It takes 15 minutes or less to prepare these simple yet flavourful dishes. I’ve touched on how important it is to eat whole food in my previous articles; My Tips to Guilt-Free Eating and 2 Simple Habits to Rid Cellulites. Today, I’ll be showing you simple ways you can use whole food to create beautiful meals.  

Here are 15-minute recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with desserts and snacks. I promise you, you’ll not say eating healthy is boring, inconvenient or time-consuming ever again… 😉



Sesame-Chilli Poached Eggs on Toast

⏰ 5 minutes

This is a simple way to get your protein, carbs, fiber and greens in the morning. All you need is 5 minutes and a simple cooking technique…

Recipe  👇


  • 1 Slice of Toasted Sprouted Bread
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ tsp of Sesame Oil
  • 1 Pinch of Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt / Sea Salt
  • Sprinkle of Chopped Coriander (chopped)


  1. Break egg into a bowl of salted water.
  2. Heat it up in the microwave for 90 seconds.
  3. Lift up poached egg with a slotted spoon/spatula and onto toasted bread
  4. Enjoy with sprinkles of coriander, chilli flakes, sesame oil and salt.

P.s My favourite sprouted bread is the 7-Grains Sprouted Bread from Adventist Bakery. They are available at Village Grocer and Jaya Grocer.



SouthWest Nourish Plate

⏰ 15 minutes

One of the common causes of afternoon crashes is a carb-loaded meal. I personally dislike feeling lethargic and sleepy in the afternoon at work, so this is my perfect lunch to avoid those noon crashes. 

Recipe 👇


  • 200g Chicken Breast (finely sliced)
  • 1 tsp Southwest Spice Powder
  • 1 Head Broccoli
  • 2 handful of Frozen Edamame
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil (for marination)
  • Sprinkle of Pink Himalayan Salt/Sea Salt
  • 1 Fist Size Sweet Potato (thinly sliced)


  1. Marinade sliced chicken in 1 tsp of Southwest, salt and olive oil overnight/few hours.
  2. Grill sliced chicken on a pan (1 minute on each side)
  3. Steam broccoli and sliced sweet potato for 10 minutes and boil edamame for 1 minute.
  4. Assemble broccoli, sweet potato, edamame, and grilled chicken into a bowl.
  5. Pour chilli-lime dressing (recipe below) over the dish and enjoy!

P.s. You can get southwest spice (and many other amazing spice mixes and dried herbs) from Shaury’s Spices & Herbs from Damansara Uptown

Recipe for Chilli-Lime Dressing (⏰ 1 minute)

Serving Size: 1.5 Tbsp


  • 1 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 Pinches of Chilli Flakes
  • ¼ Tbsp Raw Honey (more if desired)

Directions: Mix all ingredients together.



Chilli-Lime Tuna Wrap w Fresh Cucumber

⏰ 15 minutes

After a long day at work, who’s got the energy left to be cooking up a storm in the kitchen… not me for sure! Get your dinner ready in 15 minutes with this zesty meal…

Recipe 👇

Serving Size: 1 Wrap


  • Canned Tuna in Olive Oil (½ Can)
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli-Lime Dressing (from recipe above)
  • 4 Lettuce Leaves
  • ½ Handful Carrot (grated)
  • ½ Handful Cucumber (grated)
  • ½ Cucumber (sliced)
  • 1 Piece Wholemeal Wrap (or seaweed)


  1. Mix 1-2 tbsp of chilli-lime dressing into tuna.
  2. Place lettuce leaves on a wrap, add carrots, grated cucumber and tuna mixture. Fold it into a wrap and enjoy.
  3. Add chilli-lime dressing onto sliced cucumber as a side salad and enjoy with the wrap.

P.s. I’ve used Roti Arab from Jaya Grocer. Prefer this over other wraps available in the market because it is made without preservatives and additives.




⏰ 10 minutes

Who doesn’t like snacking between meals every now and then (or every day? 😉 ) You can kill 2 birds with one stone; satisfy your cravings + nourish your body! This snack is that one stone…😄

Recipe 👇


  • 1 Can Chickpea
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt/ Sea Salt
  • 5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove


  1. Add all ingredients into food processor.
  2. Blitz till it’s smooth.
  3. Enjoy with veggie sticks (celery, cucumber), fruits (apple), or rice cakes.

P.s You can use a blender for this if you do not have a food processor, you just got to add more olive oil to get the blender moving.



Frozen Grapes

This is the easiest, simplest dessert. It is sweet, refreshing and it takes no effort at all. One easy way to get some antioxidants into your body.

#RecipeNotRecipe 👇




  1. Wash, clean and pop them in the freezer for 6-8 hours.
  2. Enjoy them anytime you like!


There you go, my 5 simple dishes. I used to think cooking is time-consuming. Boy, am i wrong…

It still wows me every time I see how a beautiful, delicious plate of nourishing food can be created in just under 15 minutes.”

I hope these recipes will inspire you to experiment in the kitchen a bit more and enjoy eating real food. 

Remember to love someone with your time this week, share something good and positive, encourage a friend who needs a little boost, listen when it’s needed and give with a willing heart.

Lots of love, Erina

2 simple habits to rid “Cellulites”!

2 simple habits to rid “Cellulites”!

Let’s talk about those little bumps on our skin that we could all wish away.. Some people are more prone to cellulites than others (🙋 who is with me on this one?), we can only blame genetics for that…

I’ve learnt to not obsess over it and I’ve learnt to accept that it’s alright to have them. It’s funny how when you’re not intentional about something, everything just falls into place. And that’s my story with them cellulites.

I noticed the change and the reduction when I started adopting these habits. The sole purpose of incorporating them into my lifestyle was to take better care of my body and my health; cellulites reducing was just the cherry on top. I enjoy many other benefits from these habits that are far more important than that.

Habit #1: Eat Real Food

No joke, but as I started eating whole food and less processed food many years back, I’ve seen a tremendous change in my skin and those dimples.  One thing I’ve learnt over the years when it comes to anything is, there’s never a shortcut worth taking. I’ve gone down that path of shortcuts one too many times and this is what I’ve learnt 👇

“Shortcuts may work, but the results are never here to stay”

And don’t we all already know this: the beauty is always in its journey, not the outcome.

I’ve touched a little about eating “real food” or whole food in my previous write up here. I thought today I’ll get into it a little more. Many get confused with the word “whole food”. It just means food that is not processed and in its original form. They are mostly not in a packet. Anything you see in the “FRESH” section of the supermarket is the whole food.

“Whole food = The food itself is the ingredient, and the ingredient itself is the food.”

Eg: sweet potato, orange, pink Himalayan salt, salmon, etc. No adulteration of any kind on them!

You can enjoy delicious meals just by using whole food or food that has only whole food in its ingredient list (yes, check those ingredient lists people!). For those of you who aren’t used to cooking, it is definitely not a daunting task, don’t sweat it. Here are some of my favourite recipes that you can try if you have no idea where to begin…

Habit #2: Dry Brushing

This habit is a little more current to me, but oh boy do I see the difference! You know when they say dry brushing is for detoxification? Whoever they are, they got it right… When I explored wellness a little more last year (yep, I did all that homemade scrub, homemade mask, and even DIY facial steam!), that’s when I got onto the whole “Dry Brushing” wagon. These are some of the health benefits I found when I looked it up:

👉 Clean pores and minimize pores

👉 Get rid of dead skin cells (exfoliation)

👉 Lymphatic support (detoxifies!)

👉 Energy Boost

I mean, how can anyone resist that? 😅

I started doing it daily before a shower and the reduction of cellulite happen pretty quickly with this one. Check out how to dry brush effectively and go try it out y’all, you can thank me later 😆

Tip: Always lather up with moisturizer after a shower if you’re dry brushing to keep skin moist and smooth.

There you go, the 2 habits I’ve adopted that has helped in reducing my cellulite over time. I hope they will help you with yours too. But remember, don’t obsess over it. Take care of your health first, and everything else will fall into place. Cellulite or not, you’re just the way you should be, nothing more and nothing less. #perfectimperfections #loveyourdimples 😉

Have a good week ahead! As always, remember to love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love, Erina