Global Maternal Health Writing Contest

In June 2010, the Pulitzer Center again partnered with Helium to produce the Global Issues/Citizen Voices Writing Contest. In this round, contestants were challenged with the following prompt:

Hundreds of thousands of women die each year due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. What are the first steps to making a difference?

Maternal Health in Mexico: A perilous journey

OUTSIDE the main hospital in San Cristóbal de las Casas, women in traditional multicoloured garb queue up to see a doctor. Many are pregnant or carry infants on their backs. One expectant mother says she fears there will not be a bed for her when she enters labour—all too common in the overcrowded hospital. Tales of deaths from hypertension, haemorrhage or infection during or after giving birth are common in the second city of the state of Chiapas. In a nearby village, one doctor recalls a woman whose journey took so long that she died on the street outside his clinic.

In Afghanistan, U.S. Troops Ponder the Possible Loss of a Commander

The commander of international forces in Afghanistan was scheduled to pay a surprise visit to Marines at Combat Outpost Hanson in Marjah this week, some four months after they waged a fierce offensive to break the Taliban's grip. Instead, General Stanley McChrystal headed back to Washington, his job in jeopardy over published remarks that criticize President Obama and senior staff members for hamstringing efforts to turn around the nine-year war.

Burundi election lacks critical ingredient: presidential candidates

Less than a week away from its first presidential vote since the last armed group laid down their guns, Burundi’s election is still missing a critical ingredient: candidates. Only President Pierre Nkurunziza is running in the race. But members of opposition parties are campaigning anyway – not to win the election, but to convince their fellow Burundians to boycott the vote.

Karzai's Prisoner-Release Plan: How It Could Backfire

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's peace jirga earlier this month was pretty close to a bust. Powerful northern rivals were conspicuously absent, as were the Taliban, who instead dispatched a pair of suicide bombers to disturb the proceedings, detonating not far from where the conference took place. The violence, however, overshadowed a rare moment of unity among influential lawmakers and elders: a full-throated call to release of hundreds of prisoners, possibly even including Taliban, languishing in Afghan and U.S. military jails.

In an Afghan Valley of Death, Good News — for Now

Fifteen months ago, coalition and Afghan forces traveling the road that slices through this rugged mountain valley, less than an hour's drive from the capital Kabul, were attacked so frequently by Taliban gunmen it was nicknamed the "Valley of Death" — one of the country's many. Today, school children walk home on the pavement and apple farmers tend their orchards without fear of firefights.

Ecuador Puts a Price Tag on Untapped Oil

Whether they’ve looked at the trees, the insects, or the jaguars, scientists have agreed that Yasuní National Park in Ecuador’s Amazonian rain forest is one of the most diverse places on earth. But nature left one thing underground that could seal the fate of all that life above: Nearly one billion barrels of oil.