Author Archives: Maggie Jacoby

Maggie Jacoby

Promoting Nutrition to Parliamentarians

HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Africa makes that case for investing in nutrition
Vitamin A Supplementation

This blog post was written by Shawn Baker, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, about his recent participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 126th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda.

First Ladies, Members of Parliament, a former Head of State – it is not often that you get to speak about nutrition to such an audience. I had the privilege of joining the West African Nutrition Advocate, the former President of Cape Verde, in Kampala, Uganda for the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in early April.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Postcard from Bangladesh: A Day in a Mother’s Life

Enhanced Homestead Food Production in Action
Bread 1

This blog post was originally published on Bread for the World’s Bread Blog after a visit to see Helen Keller International’s Homestead Food Production in Bangladesh in action. Photographs are by Laura Elizabeth Pohl and text by Molly Marsh.

The afternoon hours are Tohomino Akter’s favorite time of day. That’s when she can take a break from her household tasks, rest, and play with her 17-month-old daughter, Adia. Like any toddler, Adia much prefers movement.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

Integrated NTD control in Mali

Lessons learned in Mali can serve as example for other countries implementing integrated NTD programs.
Mali Map PLOS

This post was written by Amy Alabaster and first appeared on the End the Neglect blog.

In many parts of the world where NTDs run rampant, it’s not uncommon to see communities affected by 2, 3 or even all seven of the most common NTDs. Because of this, countries and other stakeholders involved in NTD control are increasing efforts to integrate disease control programs. Integration helps to reach more people with the drugs needed to treat and prevent NTD infections, while cutting down on costs and resource demands.

In 2007, Mali was one of five ‘fast-track’ countries, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by RTI International and assisted by Helen Keller International, to launch an integrated national NTD Control Program. A paper recently published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS) NTDs describes the successes and lessons learned so far through the implementation of this program.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

TOMS is Helping Give Sight to Children in the U.S.


This post originally appeared on TOMS’ blog.  Helen Keller International is partnering with TOMS to provide prescription eyeglasses to students in need through our ChildSight® program.

As TOMS sight giving continues in Nepal, Tibet and Cambodia, we are very happy to share that TOMS Eyewear purchases are now helping restore sight to children in the United States as well!

TOMS is excited to partner with Helen Keller International’s (HKI) ChildSight® program to help provide prescription glasses to children living in impoverished U.S. communities. Since 1994, ChildSight® has provided vision screening and prescription eyeglasses to at-risk students living in urban and rural communities in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and the Navajo Nation. TOMS Eyewear is proud to join them in helping provide new glasses to children.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

Meet HKI’s Friendly Worm Warrior: Emily Toubali

An interview with HKI's Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control
Moyamba 2

In honor of World Water Day, I am highlighting Helen Keller International’s Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Emily Toubali. One of her responsibilities it to manage our Trachoma Control Programs, a major component of which is promoting face-washing and proper sanitation to prevent this blinding disease. I recently sat down with Emily and asked her about her background, what drew her to the career she has today, and why water is so important to global health.


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles

A 1,000 Day Window For a Lifetime of Health

Nepal Mother and Child

This post was written by Yesenia Garcia, Communications Coordinator for the 1,000 Days Partnership and appeared on the 1,000 Days Blog and defeatDD’s blog. Helen Keller International is a proud partner of the 1,000 Days movement.

The 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday represent a critical but short window of time to ensure a child’s future health and prosperity. Children who are well-nourished during this critical window reap a lifetime of benefits for themselves and their communities. The nutrition that a mother and her baby receive during these 1,000 days has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty.


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Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

The fight for Maternal and Child Health in Sub-Saharan Africa


This post was written by His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete – President of the United Republic of Tanzania and originally appeared in Global Health and Diplomacy magazine.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health are lagging far behind target. Although Africa has just 12% of the global population, it accounts for half of all maternal deaths and half the deaths of children under five.

In Tanzania, attendance at prenatal clinics is over 94% but only 50% give birth at proper health facilities. It is not like in the United States where giving birth at home is a matter of choice. In our part of the world, women are unable to reach proper medical help at their most vulnerable time. I was born under the hand of a traditional birth attendant and I grew up healthy and strong to become the president of my country. It is my hope that we can provide the same opportunity to every child.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Test Your Knowledge!

A Global Blindness Facts Quiz

How much do you know about blindness and visual impairment? Take our quiz to test your global health knowledge!

Instructions: Answer all 5 questions. Once you are finished the correct answers will be displayed.

How many people worldwide are visually impaired?

What percentage of all visual impairment is avoidable by prevention, treatment or cure?

What percentage of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries?    

Globally, what is the most common cause of visual impairment?

Which of the following blinding diseases can be  prevented or treated?

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Categories Preventing Blindness

A Great Last Minute Gift

Christmas Oranament

Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is just days away. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further!  This holiday season, make a donation to Helen Keller International in honor of someone special to help save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Whatever amount you give  – $1,000 to provide 1,000 children with life-saving vitamin A, $250 to restore the vision of five people through cataract surgery, or $25 to give one American child the glasses she needs  – your gift will make a significant improvement in someone’s life. You can’t say the same for fruitcake!

Don’t just take my word for it: Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof included HKI in his annual gift guide noting: “HKI gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of.”

Our success is due to the loyal commitment of friends and supporters like you. During this season of giving as we look forward to a new year, please consider making a difference with a donation to Helen Keller International.

On behalf of the HKI team working around the globe – and those whose lives are touched because of your generosity – we wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


A drawing from a child in Cambodia who benefited from our Homestead Food Production program. The ornament at top was drawn by a student in NYC who received free eyeglasses through our ChildSight® program.

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Categories Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, United States

Where Bigfoot is Not a Myth

Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) as a Public Health Threat in Sierra Leone
Hannah LF

Imagine waking up one day and your leg starts to swell. It is very painful and no matter what you do, your leg continues to fill with fluid. This is exactly what happened to Hannah Araba Taylor, who has spent her entire life in the Congo Town section of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

One morning twenty-five years ago, Hannah woke up shivering; her entire leg was swollen and very red. Although she didn’t know it yet, she had been infected by the parasite that causes Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) – known locally as “big fut” – a painful Neglected Tropical Disease resulting in disfigurement and swelling that is common among the poor. Although the disease is not life-threatening, it often leaves the infected person so disabled she is unable to work. In addition to the pain, the disfigurement can also create social stigma.


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Categories Africa