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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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An editorial published in the Globe and Mail on Monday calls on Canadians to “abandon posturing over funding abortion overseas,” and turn to a new focus for their plans to improve maternal health abroad: a new facility focused entirely on maternal and child health at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The idea is that this model would allow recipients of funds to decide on the interventions that work in their particular countries, in their specific social contexts.

The Globe and Mail

“…The recent political debate on maternal mortality has focused on unsafe abortions, but this is a distraction. Unsafe abortions do account for some of these pregnancy-related deaths and the reality of abortion services in Africa is a horror. But given that abortion is highly restricted for 90 per cent of Africans, and wholly illegal in 14 countries, the G8 would accomplish little by focusing on the issue. The bigger task – and one where the G8 can actually make a difference – is empowering women to have more control over their sexual lives, by increasing access to family planning and ensuring that pregnant women have access to care when they are ready to deliver…”

Read the full editorial, When it comes to maternal health, let Africans decide.

Be sure to take a look at the comments section of the editorial.

For more coverage of the G8/G20 in the Globe and Mail, click here.

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Today, May 5th, is International Day of the Midwife—and UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives have released a joint statement calling on world leaders to address the shortage of 350,000 midwives around the world. Their statement explains that increased investments in training midwives are critical to reaching the most marginalized communities–who typically lack access to health services.

UNFPA

“…The UNFPA and ICM point out that midwives can prevent up to 90 per cent of maternal deaths where they are authorized to practice their competencies and play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. They have a critical role in providing family planning, counselling, and preventing HIV transmission from mother to child.

As the world gears up for the 10-year review of the Millennium Development Goals, both organizations will be campaigning to increase funding for goals 4, 5 and 6 to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV and AIDS.

We look forward to the high-level Midwifery Symposium from 5 to 6 June in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding the Women Deliver Conference. The symposium aims to raise awareness around the core role of midwifery services in achieving MDGs 4, 5 and 6; address challenges in global standards on education and regulation of midwives; and strengthen midwifery services…”

Read the full statement.

Also, take a look at this video statement of the President of the International Confederation of Midwives, Bridget Lynch.

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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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