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Archive for the ‘unintended pregnancy’ Category

A recent study by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Population Council of India outlines just how prevalent early marriage remains in many parts of India.

Bernama.com (Malaysian National News Agency)

This article cites many of the findings of the recent study in India by IIPS and the Population Council. It also raises several of the implications of early marriage in India—including unintended pregnancies and infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Read the full story, Child Wedlock Still Haunts India.

For more information on the Population Council’s work in India, click here.

This story, in Times of India, offers more information on the state of reproductive health among youth in India.

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Global health activist, member of the Maternal Health Task Force Editorial Committee and film-maker, Lisa Russell, has teamed up with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena, to launch a new media project called MDGFive.com. The project is a collaborative effort of international organizations and artists committed to bringing awareness to maternal health.

RH Reality Check

In a February 16th, 2010 post on RH Reality Check, Lisa described the new project:

“As a global health activist and filmmaker, I believe in the power of
 imagery, sound and the spoken word to inspire cultural exchange, unite
 international communities, and to promote social progress worldwide,
 yet I see a large disconnect between the humanitarian world and the
 creative communities who have an incredible impact on their societies
at the local level when it comes to global health advocacy.

I would like to see greater communication and partnerships between 
these two worlds to address issues of women/motherhood/maternal health.
 Therefore, I am developing – in collaboration with Grammy-award winning singer, Maya Azucena – a new media “mash up” project called MDGFive.com.  We are collaborating with international organizations and artists to bring awareness to maternal health.

MDGFive.com‘ is a new media site that solicits creative content
 from artists around the world (musicians, filmmakers, poets, djs, etc)
 who work at either the global or country level.  Activists can access 
these 30-60 second license free clips to download and create their own 
personalized PSA’s which can be forwarded to their networks,
 development institutions and policy makers.  It offers an opportunity 
for artists and activists from both the developed and developing world
 to work together, share resources and contribute their talents to help 
create a global, *artistic* movement for women’s health.”

Read the full piece on RH Reality Check here.

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Can integrating family planning services into HIV/AIDS treatment and care increase contraceptive use and decrease unintended pregnancy among HIV-positive women? UCSF is partnering with the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health to find out.

University of California, San Francisco

“’Two-thirds of the world’s HIV-infected population lives in sub-Saharan Africa and 60 percent are estimated to be women. Recent evidence suggests high rates of unintended pregnancy among HIV-infected women. Family planning is the cornerstone for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and can also reduce maternal mortality, but family planning services are not always accessible at many of the public health clinics providing HIV care and treatment,’ said the study’s primary investigator, Craig R. Cohen, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF.

The research will be conducted at 18 HIV care and treatment clinics in Nyanza Province, Kenya. With 15.3 percent of its population HIV-infected, Nyanza Province has the highest seroprevalence rate amongst provinces in Kenya. These clinics are supported by the Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) Program, a collaboration between UCSF and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). At 12 randomly selected clinics, HIV-infected clients will receive the intervention package of integrated family planning and HIV care. At each of the six clinic control sites, HIV-infected clients will receive standard HIV care and a referral to a separate family planning clinic within the same facility for contraceptive services.

The study’s first objective is to improve family planning clinical and counseling skills of clinicians and community health workers at all the FACES-supported HIV care and treatment clinics. A training curriculum on family planning counseling and method provision will be developed and implemented…”

Read the full news release here.

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National Public Radio

“During the Bush administration, conservatives opposed even the use of the term “reproductive health services.” U.S. support for family planning abroad declined significantly. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that under the Obama administration, millions of women worldwide will have greater access to family planning, contraception and HIV counseling and treatment.”

Listen to the story here.

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A NOW team from PBS recently went to Haiti to investigate high levels of maternal mortality in the country. They happened to be in the Haiti when the earthquake hit. In collaboration with the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR), a non-profit video news production company, PBS produced Saving Haiti’s Mothers, a show that examines the state of maternal health in Haiti before the earthquake and immediately following it.

NOW on PBS

“Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, in addition to leaving lives and institutions in ruin, also exacerbated a longtime lethal risk in Haiti: Dying during childbirth. Challenges in transportation, education, and quality health care contribute to Haiti having the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, a national crisis even before the earthquake struck. While great strides are being made with global health issues like HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality figures worldwide have seen virtually no improvement in 20 years. Worldwide, over 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy. This week, a NOW team that had been working in Haiti during the earthquake reports on this deadly but correctable trend. They meet members of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), which operates a network of health agents in more than 100 villages, engaging in pre-natal visits, education, and emergency ambulance runs for pregnant women…”

Read the full story and watch the special here.

Learn more about Haitian Health Foundation, UNFPA, and Family Care International—all organizations featured in the show.

Visit the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR) site here.

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According to UNFPA, Timor-Leste has a maternal mortality ratio of 660 deaths/100,000 live births

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

Women in rural areas have little to no information on reproductive health. Photo by David Swanson/IRIN

“According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), women in Timor-Leste – the world’s newest independent nation and also Asia’s poorest – give birth to an average 6.38 children during their lifetime, one of the highest fertility rates in the world and second only to Afghanistan.  Melinda Mousaco, the country director for Marie Stopes International Timor Leste, told IRIN that awareness of family planning and reproductive health, particularly in rural areas, is ‘next to nothing’.

‘Because of a lack of education, accidental pregnancies happen frequently,’ she said. ‘When we show basic reproductive anatomy or give information about women’s menstrual cycles, people often tell us ‘this is the first time I’ve heard this’.’

Timor-Leste gained formal independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a long separatist struggle and a surge of violence in 1999, and health experts cite conflict and unemployment as key factors in the country’s high population growth…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on UNFPA in Timor-Leste, click here.

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According to a report by Observatorio de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva, Argentina has the means to address  maternal mortality, but fails to do so because of a lack of political will.

Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS)

“…Argentina has a maternal mortality rate of 44 for every 100,000 live births – two and a half times higher than the average in neighbouring Chile and Uruguay, and a far cry from the six per 100,000 or seven per 100,000 live births in Spain and Italy, for example. Both national authorities and independent experts working on these issues say that at this pace, Argentina will fail to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of significantly reducing the number of maternal deaths by 2015, bringing it down to Chile’s and Uruguay’s current levels…”

Read the full story here.

Visit the Observatorio de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva site here.

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Karl Hofman, President and CEO of Population Services International (PSI), argues that social marketing can be used to dramatically improve the health and lives of women—and more specifically, that social marketing can be used to address the massive unmet need for family planning services around the world.

Reproductive Health Reality Check

“…By treating women around the world as customers, by creating incentives for the private sector–which already interacts with these women–to carry life-saving products as well as soap or cooking oil, by using marketing to encourage behavior change the same way we were encouraged to wear a seat belt or are now encouraged to [use] Twitter, we reach more women and we change more lives. Social marketing can work even in circumstances where donors lose interest or politics get in the way. Because a market for a product or service, once stimulated, tends to perpetuate itself…”

Make sure to read the full story to understand how, as Hofman puts it, “Social marketing is ‘Mad Men’ meets ‘Heroes’.”

Read the full story  here.

Visit the Population Services International (PSI) site here.

To read Karl Hofman’s bio, click here.

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For over two years, Amnesty International has been researching maternal health and investigating maternal death in Burkina Faso.

Amnesty International

In five days, the organization will release a report on the state of maternal health in Burkina Faso and launch a caravan campaign that will travel throughout the country raising awareness around the issue of maternal mortality.

“Amnesty International went to Burkina Faso four times to conduct research in several cities including the capital, Ouagadougou, as well as Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya and Kaya. Amnesty International also visited a dozen rural areas throughout the country. Researchers investigated over 50 cases of women who died during pregnancy and childbirth…”

Read the full story here.


Take a look at this video showing highlights of the 2009 Amnesty International maternal mortality caravan campaign in Sierra Leone:

As part of the countdown to the launch of the campaign, Amnesty International is sharing the stories of women who have died of pregnancy complications in Burkina Faso. See below for an excerpt from one of the stories:

“…Safiatou’s husband told Amnesty International: ‘The day of her delivery, she was in good health and worked all afternoon as usual without any problem. She prepared tô [a local dish made from maize flour] for her children and went to get the hay for the animals. In the evening, when her labour began, she left for her mother’s home. Her mother came to warn me that she was not well, that we had to take her to the clinic. I do not have a motorcycle, so I had to go and get one. That made us lose time.’ The husband added that he ‘did not know that she should have delivered at the clinic. When I came to fetch her at her mother’s house, she had lost consciousness.’ The husband borrowed a small motorcycle from his neighbour…”

Learn more about Safiatou here.

A man holding a picture of his wife who died in childbirth, Burkina Faso. Copyright Anna Kari

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The Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium applauds current relief efforts in Haiti while calling on humanitarian actors to provide lifesaving reproductive health services for women displaced by the earthquake.

The RHRC Consortium

The RHRC Consortium calls on humanitarian actors to meet the needs of women and girls—including the 63,000  pregnant women in Port au Prince.  (Other organizations have put the estimate lower at 37,000.) The RHRC estimates that 7,000 will deliver in the coming month.

The statement includes calls to action on issues of safe delivery,  sexual violence and exploitation, HIV/AIDS, and family planning.

Click here to read their full statement.

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Watch and share Pathfinder’s video, Girl2Woman, that outlines the challenges related to sexual and reproductive health that girls face throughout their lives.

Every video shared raises $1 for Pathfinder International programs—-up to $1 million. Visit the Girl2Woman site to see more information about the initiative and an interactive time line that outlines stages of life and highlights the work that Pathfinder International does to help women at each stage. At the Girl2Woman site, you can also fill out a form to share the video with your contacts.

To learn more about Pathfinder International, click here.

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America and CEMOPLAF, an Ecuadorian reproductive health organization, are working together to train Ecuadorian teens to become community health workers in the Chimborazo region of central Ecuador.

Global Health Magazine

“Ecuador has the highest adolescent fertility rate in Latin America, and this skyrockets when we’re talking about rural or indigenous youth. Among community members in the region here, just 6 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported contraceptive use, while less than half of all women reported any knowledge of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

This program meets the needs of a particularly underserved and hard-to-reach group, with a new contraceptive method, in a new way. The peer promoters hail from 15 different small communities within the region and are providing a brand new range of services to their peers. They meet weekly at a central clinic location to discuss challenges and attend trainings. There, CEMOPLAF also provides lunch, transportation costs and job-skills training.

All promoters attend a four-part extensive training, including an introduction to injections in general; training on Depo Provera in particular; and training in bio-safety procedures. They also learn about other contraceptive options, like the pill and condoms…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, click here.

To learn more about CEMOPLAF, click here.

Click here to see a previous post on this blog about a policy discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC on health workers and task-shifting.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech comes in time for the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and marks a renewed  support for and dedication to reaching the goals of ICPD and other related UN agreements, including the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015.

ICPD called on governments and development agencies to place human beings—specifically young people and women—at the very heart of the development process. The conference also called for family planning, reproductive health, basic health and education needs to be met.

Millennium Development Goal 5 aims to improve international maternal health by reducing maternal mortality by 2/3 and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

“On Jan. 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address hundreds of health and development leaders at the State Department to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to achieving universal access to reproductive health for individual health, family well-being, broader economic development and a healthy planet.”

The speech is scheduled for 2:30 pm Friday, January 8, 2010.

The Secretary’s speech will be livestreamed at www.icpd2015.org.

For more information on the goals of ICPD and events marking the 15th anniversary, click here.

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The Maternal Health Task Force, UNFPA and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative bring you a discussion on Human Resources for Maternal Health: Midwives, TBAs, and Task-Shifting

This event is the second in the series. It will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, January 06 2010, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.

Click here to RSVP this event.

If you are interested, but unable to attend the event, check out the live or archived webcast here.

Event Details

Extending the scope of responsibilities to non-physician health workers is potentially an important means to reducing maternal deaths in the developing world. While this strategy has proven to be an effective method for addressing human resource gaps in maternal health, pitfalls such as inadequate training and lack of coordination among key actors must be addressed.

Dr. Seble Frehywot, assistant research professor of health policy and global health at George Washington University, will address the motivation and methods for task sharing. Dr. Jeffrey Smith, regional technical director for Asia at Jhpiego, will discuss his field work experience developing workforce plans for midwives and traditional birth attendants, including in Afghanistan. Finally, Pape Gaye, president & CEO of IntraHealth, will discuss the importance of retention and other long-term strategies in human resources for maternal health.

About the Series

The reproductive and maternal health community finds itself at a critical point, drawing increased attention and funding, but still confronting more than a half million deaths each year and a high unmet need for family planning. The Policy Dialogue series seeks to galvanize the community by focusing on important–and in some cases controversial–issues within the maternal health community.

Did you miss the first event in this series?

Don’t worry! You can watch the webcast or read a report on the event! The first event in this series was held in December. The topic was Integrating HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health Services.

To view the archived webcast, click here. To read a report about the event, click here.

Click here to view Integration is all the Buzz, a previous post on this blog that highlights current news about integration of maternal health services and discusses Integrating HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health Services.

More info

Visit the Maternal Health Task Force website here.

Visit the UNFPA website here.

Visit the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative site here.

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Lagos state government, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has established a media network on population and development, reproductive health rights and gender equality

AllAfrica.com

“The media network was established at the just concluded three-day workshop held at Lagos Building Investment Conference in Ikeja. Speaking at the forum, Director, Public Enlightenment, in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Tunde Awobiyi, stated that the workshop was to empower and build the capacity of journalists to investigate and report on these three core areas (mentioned above).  He also urged journalists at the forum to develop relevant skills at the workshop to enable them to disseminate population data for development, empower women for effective management of gender-based violence and act as a catalyst for effective reproductive health and sexuality education…”

Click here to read the full story.

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