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Posts Tagged ‘contraceptives’

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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Elizabeth Payne, Editorial Board member of the Ottawa Citizen, outlines a plan/suggestion by Keith Martin, medical doctor and maternal health expert, for G8 countries to tackle maternal mortality in developing countries.

Ottawa Citizen

“…Martin says the federal government must articulate exactly what it is going to do when it comes to the G8 maternal health initiative and access to reproductive technology. ‘I hope they don’t take an ideological position.’

Harper will be ‘turning back the clock,’ Martin says, if the initiative does not include reproductive health: ‘I can’t think of another country that would take that position.’

But, he adds, the initiative is too crucial to be lost because of political debate. There is a way Canada can lead a ‘pragmatic, effective plan’ without having to directly support abortions or contraceptives.

Martin suggests each of the G8 countries could take on a different aspect of the campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality.

‘It would be a way for the conservative government to make sure what comes out of the G8 is a plan that is implemented rather than talked about,’ he said.

In order to reduce maternal mortality rates, he says, a G8 initiative should include training of primary care workers, access to medications, diagnostics, clean water, access to power, access to family planning and nutrition, particularly micro-nutrients…”

Read the full story, How to help women, and avoid abortion politics.

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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 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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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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Too Young , Too Late and Too Far recently premiered in Lagos, Nigeria

The films, produced by Communicating for Change (CFC), were shot in the ‘Nollywood’ style which involves a combination of suspense and drama—but the project team also included health expert script consultants, Dr Boniface Oye Adeniran, Obstetrician/Gynecologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, formerly of the Ford Foundation.

“The films: Too Young, Too Far, and Too Late, take a provocative look at the life-threatening conditions that pregnant women face in Nigeria while also revealing their struggles with matters of bias against gender, abortion and childbirth as well as the corresponding challenges faced by husbands, boyfriends and families, who have to deal with their own hopes, frustrations and fears.”

Read the full story about Too Young, Too Far, and Too Late here.

For more information about Communicating for Change, click here.

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The International Women’s Health Coalition lists and describes what they see as the top ten wins for women’s health and rights in 2009–and comment on next steps and challenges for each win.

RH Reality Check

The IWHC’s picks for the top ten women’s health and rights wins span topics ranging from the new Bolivian constitution that guarantees sexual and reproductive rights and the striking down of sex work criminalization in India to a new law that combats child marriage in Yemen and the upholding of the right to abortion in England.

To see the complete list with descriptions of the wins, potential next steps and challenges, click here.

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Conflict and instability make the Democratic Republic of Congo a difficult place to be pregnant

AllAfrica.com

“Years of conflict and instability mean the Democratic Republic of Congo is still among the worst countries in the world to be pregnant, despite a nationwide push to improve maternal, infant and childhood mortality rates. ‘Every hour of every day in DRC, four women die from complications of pregnancy and labour, and for every woman who dies, between 20 and 30 have serious complications, such as obstetric fistula, which is very common in DRC,’ said Richard Dackam Ngacthou, country representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)…”

Read the full article here.

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Ana Langer, President of EngenderHealth and Adviser to the Maternal Health Task Force, blogs on The Huffington Post—and calls attention to the power of modern contraception methods to help families weather the uncertainties of climate change.

“As the global architects of a new treaty to combat climate change meet in Copenhagen this month, they continue to work from a conspicuously incomplete blueprint. Last Thursday morning, George Soros made it very clear that significantly greater resources must be allocated to mitigate the impact of climate change on the world’s poorest people, who are the most vulnerable to its affects. This is a welcome development. But still…”

Read the full post here.

Read Ana’s bio here.

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