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Posts Tagged ‘reproductive health’

The Center for Reproductive Rights has released, Dignity Denied: Violations of the Rights of HIV-positive Women in Chilean Health Facilities, an in-depth investigation into the issue of discrimination against HIV positive women in Chile—specifically when seeking reproductive health services. 

In an email I received from colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights, they wrote:

“Over a period of six months, we spoke with 27 women in five different regions of Chile, gathering their stories. The research confirmed what we already knew from a previous study carried out by VIVO POSITIVO—women living with HIV/AIDS were frequently pressured not to become pregnant, were often scolded by healthcare workers for wanting to do so, and were sometimes pressured, coerced or forced to undergo surgical sterilization. The Center wanted to make clear that the abuse and mistreatment suffered by HIV-positive women are violations of their human rights…”

Excerpt from the report:

“In 2004, Julia received the good news that her viral load was undetectable. With this improvement in her health and after witnessing other HIV-positive women give birth to healthy, HIV-negative children, Julia and her partner decided to try for a child in consultation with a private physician. however, despite the low risk of mother-to-child transmission (mTCT), healthcare professionals repeatedly chided Julia after she became pregnant, telling her, ‘What were you thinking? Don’t you see that you are going to have a sick child?’

During the first trimester of her pregnancy, Julia began experiencing an orange-colored vaginal discharge. Concerned, she went to the hospital to have it checked out. Instead of treating her, however, hospital workers turned her away and told her to return for her regularly scheduled check-up. She was admitted to the hospital three days later, hemorrhaging and with severe abdominal pain, but she still sat untreated…”

Download the full report here

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Colleagues at the Women’s Health and Empowerment Center of Expertise at the University of California Global Health Institute are working to develop a multidisciplinary book on women’s health and empowerment.  The book will feature a set of case studies that examine the application of a specific disciplinary (or multi-discplinary) approach to addressing issues of women’s health and empowerment.  The book is being designed as a textbook to be used in undergraduate and graduate programs focused on global health, women’s studies, development studies, medical anthropology, sociology and other related disciplines. See below for the call for abstracts and case study nomination form.

Call for Abstracts

Women’s Health &Empowerment (WH&E) COE

Purpose:

The WH&E COE believes that advances in women’s health globally are impeded by poverty, limited access to educational and economic opportunities, gender bias and discrimination, unjust laws, and insufficient state accountability. These forces intersect to restrict access to vital women’s health services and the information that women need to improve their lives. By prioritizing women’s health concerns, rights, and empowerment, this COE is uniquely poised to catalyze societal-level changes that will yield sustainable improvements in health and well-being for women on a global scale.

Mission:

We envision a world in which all women and girls are empowered and healthy. Our mission is to promote justice, equity and scientific advances to reduce gender and health disparities globally. Grounded in human rights principles, our approach is interdisciplinary and transformative.  Through innovative research, education and international collaboration, we build and strengthen the capacity of the next generation of leaders in women’s health and empowerment. Our core activities focus on assuring safe motherhood, reducing violence against women, improving access to family planning and reproductive technologies, advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, preventing HIV/AIDS, and reducing environmental threats to women’s health.

Book Project

The WH&E COE is developing a multi-disciplinary book of case studies that address the intersection of scholarship and practice in two areas: women’s health and women’s empowerment.  The book will document innovative research and programmatic efforts in the field and will strive to capture and define the latest thinking within the interlinked areas of women’s health and empowerment.  Each chapter will include a “lead-in” section written by an expert in the specific chapter discipline and incorporate one or more cases to effectively document the “real world” experience of the intervention or study.

Each abstract must consider both women’s health and empowerment. The book will be designed as a textbook in undergraduate and graduate programs focused on global health, women’s studies, development studies, medical anthropology, sociology and other related disciplines. Questions at the end of each chapter will aid in learner assessment and enhance the utility of the text in the classroom.

We are eliciting abstracts from authors interested in contributing to this multi-disciplinary textbook.  Abstracts will be screened as below and the selected authors will be asked to contribute to a chapter for this book project in consultation with its editors over the 2011-2012 calendar year.  Travel stipends for case study completion may be available.

Abstract Objectives

1.     Features innovative field research and/or programs that address the intersection of women’s health and empowerment,

2.     Facilitates students’ learning about the interrelated nature of women’s health and empowerment,

3.     Documents major lessons learned from these projects, including challenges and failures, and

4.     Includes an assessment of how the specific effort has been effective or ineffective and clearly analyzes the reasons for its success or lack thereof.

Abstract Guidelines

  • An abstract of no more than 500 words should state the premise of the case study (principal research question/hypothesis or programmatic intervention), discuss its significance, and describe the methods and data sources.
  • If the case is based on a partnership, state the manner in which partners will be included in the development of the case study.  Considering the audience for the book will be from multiple disciplines, both academics and practitioners, abstracts should avoid disciplinary jargon to promote inclusivity.
  • Your curriculum vitae (4 pages maximum)

Review Process & Criteria

All submitted abstracts will go through an initial screening review. Based upon the initial review, the author will be contacted with questions of clarification and initial feedback.  For abstracts that successfully pass the initial screening, authors may submit a “revised” abstract that incorporates requested revisions.  Each first-round selected abstract will be presented to the COE members during a mid-November 2010 meeting.  The presentations will be done either in person or electronically.  The final abstract selections will contribute significantly to the formulation of the individual book chapters.

The abstracts will be rated upon the:

1.     Innovative contribution to women’s health and empowerment,

2.     Comprehensiveness of argument and analysis,

3.     Capacity to communicate cutting edge research and/or programmatic intervention,

4.     Strength of evaluation of the documented success or failure,

5.     Inclusion of the perspectives and engagement of the population that stands to benefit from research or program, and

6.     Proposed recommendations.

Deadlines

All abstracts must be submitted by 5:00 PM (Pacific Time) on October 15, 2010.  Abstracts should be sent to Katie Gifford (giffordk@obgyn.ucsf.edu) and be in a Word document format.  If you would like to discuss a concept prior to submission, please contact Katie Gifford at the above email address.

Nomination of Case Concept

Click here for the nomination form.  Please use the form to nominate case concepts of particular interest.  The COE will follow up directly with the nominee contact to facilitate full abstract development.

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Health officials in the state of Bihar, India have decided to develop a computer software/database that will track expecting mothers, new mothers, and newborns at the village level. The goal of the project is to keep a close eye on maternal and infant mortality in each and every village in Bihar–as well as share important health information via SMS.

iGovernment

“In a bid to minimise maternal and infant mortality in the state, the Bihar government has decided to create a database of each pregnant woman and newborn babies at village level to track their health conditions and provide prenatal and postpartum care to mothers.

The data base would offer unique named-based searches on mother and children.

The data will include date of vaccination and expected date of delivery of pregnant woman. If the family of the expecting mother has any cell phone, they would be informed through SMS. In all 80,797 anganwadi sevikas across the state have been involved to make the campaign a success.

The decision to create software to track the health conditions of expecting women and infants was taken at a meeting of senior officials of the Health Department…”

Read the full story. For more on this story from FIGO, click here.

More on maternal health in Bihar:

  1. Click here to read about a recent agreement between the state government of Bihar and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to boost the public health of the state.
  2. Click here to read about PRACHAR, a Pathfinder International project that aims to disseminate family planning and reproductive health behavior change communications messages throughout 700 villages in Bihar.
  3. Click here for a recent post on conditional cash transfers to increase in-facility births in many states, including Bihar.

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This November, Sudan will host the International Conference on Reproductive Health Management. Abstracts and full papers are now being accepted across a variety of themes–and full scholarships will be provided for accepted abstracts and papers.

Themes for the conference include the following: addressing unmet need for family planning, community mobilization for reproductive health, meeting the needs of health workers, health financing, safe motherhood, women focused service delivery, social aspects of reproductive health, and reproductive health in emergency situations.

Click here for a post on the MHTF Blog with more information about the conference–and info on how to submit an abstract.

Check out the conference website here.

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Today, July 12th, marks six months since the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti earlier this year, killing more than 200,000 people.  An article, published today on Relief Web, outlines several of the components of the national health plan of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (with support from UNFPA) that was developed after the earthquake. The plan includes reviving the National School of Nurses and Midwives to reestablish midwifery training programs, working with UNICEF to set up clinics to provide skilled reproductive health services and basic emergency newborn care, supporting the Haitian Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to improve referral systems for maternal and neonatal services, and a variety of other activities to reduce morbidity and mortality among Haiti’s most vulnerable populations.

Relief Web

Excerpt from the article:

“…Life in the temporary camps poses a number of health challenges, especially for women and girls. Living in tight, often insecure quarters with minimal access to sanitation can expose women and girls to sexual violence and other dangers.

Over the past months, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has provided maternal health supplies, including birthing kits to serve a population of 2 million people, as well as 22,000 hygiene kits aimed at the female population living in temporary camps, along with nearly 1,000 tents, 2000 mattresses and 17,000 solar lamps…”

Click here for the full story.

For information on UNFPA’s work in Haiti, click here.

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On July 1st, the Women Deliver team announced the top five highlights from the 2010 conference (June 7-9). See below for a summary of the conference highlights–with links to publications, videos, photos, and additional information that came out of the conference.

This post was originally posted on the Women Deliver website and is reposted on MMD with permission from Women Deliver.
conference-participants.jpg

Women Deliver 2010 Conference participants

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the second Women Deliver global conference. To put world leaders on notice that the time for action on maternal health is now, 3,400 advocates, policymakers, development leaders, health care professionals, youth, and media from 146 countries converged on Washington, DC on June 7-9 at Women Deliver 2010. More than 800 speeches and presentations were given at the six plenaries and 120 breakout sessions.  The heads of five UN agencies, plus the Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended. Thirty countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, corporations, and foundations helped support Women Deliver. Please see below for highlights and recaps of the conference.

1. Key Statements. Read the outcome statements from the:

2. Webcasts. Watch the videos from our plenary sessions and our press conferences, and watch Hillary Clinton’s address to the Women Deliver 2010 attendees.

3. Photos. Take a look at photos from the plenary sessions, breakout sessions and other conference events, and download them at no cost.

4. Programme. Review the plenary and breakout sessions that were held at Women Deliver 2010.

5. Publications and Advocacy Tools. Visit our Knowledge Center to download publications and advocacy tools, including:

Stay tuned for our summary report on breakout sessions by theme.

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In an effort to improve the reproductive health, maternal and neonatal health, maternal and child nutrition and access/use of vaccines of the poorest 20% of Mesoamerica (which translates to 8 million people in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize and the southern states of Mexico), the Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Health Institute, the Spanish government and the Inter-American Development Bank have formed an innovative public-private partnership–called Salud Mesoamerica 2015.

IDB (Inter-American Development Bank)

“…Salud Mesoamérica 2015 will work in partnership with the health ministries of Mesoamerican countries and in close coordination with the Mesoamerican Public Health System. This system is part of the regional integration platform known as Proyecto Mesoamérica.

In contrast to many other international programs, countries will not compete for resources under SM2015, because amounts will be allocated per country over a five-year period based on their poverty and health inequality status. Moreover, governments themselves will determine the projects that will be financed by the Initiative within the identified areas…”

Read the full story.

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Tuesday (6/8) marked day two of Women Deliver 2010. Day two was all about innovation and (high and low) technology to improve the health of women and infants worldwide–in fact, the conference organizers marketed Tuesday’s sessions as a stand-alone symposium called Technology as a Catalyst for Social Transformation.

Take a look at two examples of technologies that were discussed at the conference on Tuesday…

Microbicide Vaginal Rings (High Tech)

“The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) today announced the initiation of the first trial among women in Africa testing a vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral drug (ARV) that could one day be used to prevent HIV transmission during sex. The clinical trial, known as IPM 015, tests the safety and acceptability of an innovative approach that adapts a successful technology from the reproductive health field to give women around the world a tool to protect themselves from HIV infection…”

Read the full press release here.

Clean Delivery Kits (Low Tech)

Clean Birth Kits–Potential to Deliver?, a publication supported by Save the Children/Saving Newborn Lives, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immpact (University of Aberdeen), and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, was released at a session at Women Deliver yesterday. The session was chaired by Claudia Morrissey of Save the Children; moderated by Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet; and presenters included Wendy Graham of University of Aberdeen, and Haris Ahmed of PAIMAN. The goal of the session was to summarise the evidence base for clean delivery kits, discuss practical implementation experiences from the field, and to have a lively debate on the “risks” associated with promoting birth kits. The report will be available online soon.

Subscribe to the MHTF Blog for updates on this project/report–as well as updates on other MHTF projects and commentary on a variety of maternal health issues.

Check out a recent blog post, A Good Idea or an Expensive Diversion: Workshop on the Evidence Base for Clean Birth Kits, by Ann Blanc, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, on a workshop leading up to the new report on delivery kits.

Click here for the webcast of a session at Women Deliver 2010 that explores “What’s on the Horizon” for new technologies in contraception.

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In this video, Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, talks about the key themes of the upcoming Women Deliver conference (June 7-9)–specifically the focus on Millennium Development Goal 5, improving maternal and reproductive health.

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Dr. Fred Sai is co-host of Women Deliver 2010, former reproductive health and HIV/AIDS advisor to the Ghanaian government, and has spent 40 years working to improve the health of women and children in Ghana and throughout Africa.  In his June 2nd blog post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health, on the ONE Blog, Dr. Sai comments on the new maternal mortality estimates published in the Lancet that show a dramatic reduction in global maternal deaths–and asks questions about why Africa (as a whole) has not seen these same reductions. He also expresses confidence that a shift in approach (described in his post) will lead to major improvements in the health of women and children throughout Africa.

The ONE Blog

“…It is an unfortunate truth that progress for the world at large does not necessarily mean progress for Africa. In 1980, almost a quarter of maternal deaths occurred in African countries. Today that figure has doubled to more than half. All but one of the 30 countries with the worst maternal mortality statistics are in Africa. And while countries like Ghana and Rwanda have seen a steady decline in maternal deaths over the past 15 years, others such as Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire actually have higher maternal mortality rates than they did in 1990.

Addressing maternal mortality in Africa is complex and challenging. Our countries face increasing rates of HIV, entrenched and debilitating poverty, food shortages, weak education and health care systems, problematic governance, corruption, and civil conflict. These are huge issues in their own right, but they also have significant impact on maternal, newborn and child health. The challenges, however, are not the whole story…”

Read the full post, A New Role For Africans in Maternal Health.

For additional reactions to the Lancet publication from other leaders in the maternal health field, click here.

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Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) and mHealth Alliance are holding a free online conference this Wednesday (May 5th) to discuss how mobile technologies can improve family planning and maternal and newborn health services in developing countries.

The conference will include live discussions with mHealth leaders on a variety of topics including strengthening community health workers; open source trends and implications; and gender, phones and reproductive health. The themes of the three panel discussions will be mHealth interventions along the continuum of care, mHealth applications addressing different stakeholder needs, and cross-cutting mHealth issues.

Click here to view the conference schedule and to register as a participant.

Click here for a March 13 post on this conference with additional background information.

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Just a reminder! This event will happen this Thursday, April 29th!

The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative and Environmental Change and Security Program, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have announced  the fourth event of the series on Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health.

MHTF Blog

The event, Family Planning in Fragile States: Overcoming Cultural and Financial Barriers, will be held on April 29th in Washington DC. Speakers include Nabila Zar Malick, Director of Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan; Karima Tunau, OB/GYN with Usmanu Danpodiyo Hospital; Grace Kodindo, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University; and Sandra Krause, Reproductive Health Program Director with the  Women’s Refugee Commission.

“…Countries threatened by conflict rank lowest on maternal and newborn health indicators and have fewer resources for reproductive health services such as family planning and emergency obstetric care. Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services in fragile states may challenge cultural beliefs and gender relations within a country. Program managers, policymakers, and donors can mitigate these tensions through culturally sensitive approaches and increased female participation during peacebuilding efforts…”

For event details, information on how to RSVP , and information on how to watch the  live or archived webcast, read the full announcement here.

For more information on the series, click here.

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On April 13th 2010, the New York Times published an article,  Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe, about the recent findings published in the Lancet that suggest a dramatic reduction in global maternal mortality. Since then, the paper has published a series of Letters to the Editor. These letters come  from leaders of organizations working on reproductive and maternal health and from health professionals working on maternal health on the ground in countries where maternal mortality continues to be a major problem.

The New York Times

A variety of opinions and sentiments are expressed in these letters that certainly add depth to the initial story published in the Times. Two themes pound through the letters: a new sense of hope that improvements in maternal health are possible and a sense of urgency that this battle has not yet been won–that now, more than ever, is the time for the maternal health community to stick together (despite squabbles among advocates over whether or not the Lancet should have published the paper when they did) and engage in concerted efforts (that include emergency obstetric care, HIV services, and expanded access to family planning) to achieve MDG5.

A careful look at these letters will stimulate a much more robust understanding of the myriad of factors contibuting to global maternal mortality—as well as the potential implications of the findings of the Lancet paper and necessary next steps towards achieving MDG5.

Some authors express cautious excitment that investments are (or might be depending on the author) paying off while simultaneously declaring that it is not yet time to celebrate; far too many women are still dying of pregnancy-related causes!  Joanne Jorissen Chiwaula, director of the African Mothers Health Initiative describes her frustration with Chris Murray (one of the authors of the Lancet paper) for downplaying the importance of emergency obstetric care services in favor of playing up the importance of HIV services, when a comprehensive approach is really what is needed. Mary Robinson, president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, calls attention to the relationship between maternal health and discimination against women, lack of reproductive choices for women, child marriage, sexual violence, unsafe abortions and inability to own property. She emphasizes the importance of considering maternal health in the context of human rights—and also points out the need to focus on strengthening entire health systems. 

Take a look at a group of Letters to the Editor published on April 18th, and more on April 19th.

For readers comments on the initial story in the Times, click here.

And for Nicholas Kristof’s take on the new maternal mortality estimates, click here.

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The Maternal Health Task Force and the Public Health Foundation of India announced today that the website for the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 launched today–and abstract submissions are now open!

Maternal Health Task Force

“Check out our new Conference website www.gmhconference2010.com!  All the news and information currently available about the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 is now online.  This is where you’ll learn about registration, abstract submission, the conference program, and all the logistics you’ll need to attend the first ever global conference devoted exclusively to maternal health. Be sure to bookmark this site and visit it often – it will be continually updated as the conference nears.

Submit your abstract for a poster or a presentation at the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010 now!  The deadline is April 30th and all the details are available here.

A 20-person Conference steering committee has been hard at work identifying the themes and sub-themes that will by the focus of the 3-day conference. The themes are Maternal Health Interventions and Programs, Underlying Factors Affecting Maternal Health, Measurement–Trends and Methods, Reproductive Health,  Health Systems, and Policy and Advocacy.

More information about the themes and subthemes is available here.

The Steering Committee is looking for abstracts that fall within the three organizing parameters of the Maternal Health Task Force: Evidence, Programs, and Policies and that are germane to the themes outlined above.

Submissions will be accepted for single abstracts and pre-formed panels.  Scholarships are available for participants from developing countries whose abstracts are accepted. To submit an abstract click here…”

For more information on the conference, click here.

For information on other conferences with a focus on maternal health, click here.

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Roots of Health is an organization working to provide women, young mothers, and children in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines with educational, medical, and nutritional support–and they also have a program specific to ensuring healthy pregnancies. Amina Evangelista Swanepoel recently wrote a blog post on her work providing reproductive health education to women in the Philippines–and the interesting beliefs of many of these women.

Roots of Health Blog

“Some of the beliefs we encounter at Pulang Lupa are wrong, but are generally harmless. Others, such as the belief that drinking soap will cure an STI, are dangerous. Last week our topic during our health sessions was on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As we discussed prevention techniques and cures we were confronted with some funny, some disturbing and some just plain weird ideas about a range of related topics…”

Read the full post, Flipping Your Uterus and Other Ways to Prevent Pregnency.

Learn more about Roots of Health’s work.

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