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Posts Tagged ‘HIV/AIDS’

The International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University is offering two groups of fellowships this spring: International Journalism and Global Health Reporting.

Up to five fellows will be selected for the Global Health Reporting Fellowship with the International Reporting Project. They will be given five weeks to report on a specific topic in global health such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or maternal and child health.

“Fellows will spend two weeks in Washington at the IRP offices preparing for their overseas trips and then five weeks reporting on their chosen health topics in the country of their choice. Fellows will return to Washington for a final two weeks of reporting and presentations of their findings.”

Eligible candidates are journalists based in the United States with five years of professional experience in journalism.

The dates of the fellowship are March 3, 2011 to May 7, 2011.

Deadline to apply is December 20, 2010.

For more info, click here.

Click  here to apply!

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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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In April, the Lancet published new maternal mortality estimates (out of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) that showed a significant reduction in global maternal deaths, shaking up the global health community’s understanding of the global burden of the issue–and providing new hope. The report also illustrated the important links between HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality.

In the wake of the Lancet report, maternal health professionals from various organizations engaged in robust dialogue (like this one) about measurement methodologies–and raised questions about when the World Health Organization would release their estimates and how they might differ from the IHME estimates.

On September 15th, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank released their new maternal mortality estimates in a report, Trends in maternal mortality. Their report also showed a significant drop in maternal deaths—a 34% decrease between 1990 and 2008.

Excerpt from the WHO press release:

“The new estimates show that it is possible to prevent many more women from dying. Countries need to invest in their health systems and in the quality of care.

‘Every birth should be safe and every pregnancy wanted,’ says Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of UNFPA. ‘The lack of maternal health care violates women’s rights to life, health, equality, and non-discrimination. MDG5 can be achieved,’ she adds, ‘but we urgently need to address the shortage of health workers and step up funding for reproductive health services’…”

More highlights from the report:

  • Ten out of 87 countries with maternal mortality ratios equal to or over 100 in 1990, are on track with an annual decline of 5.5% between 1990 and 2008. At the other extreme, 30 made insufficient or no progress since 1990.
  • The study shows progress in sub-Saharan Africa where maternal mortality decreased by 26%.
  • In Asia, the number of maternal deaths is estimated to have dropped from 315 000 to 139 000 between 1990 and 2008, a 52% decrease.
  • 99% of all maternal deaths in 2008 occurred in developing regions, with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounting for 57% and 30% of all deaths respectively.

Click here to read the press release and here to read the full report.

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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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I attended a press conference yesterday (6/17) where Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth announced the 16 winners of the Young Champions for Maternal Health competition. The 16 Young Champions come from 13 different countries and will be placed with Ashoka Fellows around the world for a 9-month mentorship.

Excerpt from my post on the MHTF Blog:

“…Tim Thomas explained that improving global maternal health is a persistent challenge—and one that will need to be tackled via multiple sectors. Tim pointed out that the Young Champions have big and innovative ideas for improving maternal health—and that the Ashoka Fellows will play a crucial role in teaching the Champions about social entrepreneurship, building sustainable infrastructure, and how to ‘scale-up’ global health projects—so that their big ideas can result in real and lasting impact.

A big idea is precisely what Yeabsira Mehari has—and she looks forward to tapping into Glory Alexander’s wisdom to develop the idea. Yeabsira aspires to set up a fistula care center in Ethiopia that will address both the health needs of the women affected by fistula as well as the economic and socio-cultural effects of fistula. Her dream is to establish a fistula care center that will prepare women to be social entrepreneurs themselves–by providing them with midwifery training and/or small business development training as well as offering micro-loans to get their businesses off the ground.

Ashoka India Fellow Glory Alexander works to end stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in India. Her organization, ASHA Foundation, focuses on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and primary prevention for vulnerable women.   Aside from learning about social entrepreneurship, sustainability, and ‘scale-up’, Yeabsira is excited to work with Glory to develop expertise in engaging with and helping to empower stigmatized populations. She anticipates that many of the lessons she will learn from working with HIV/AIDS patients in India will be transferable to working with fistula patients in Ethiopia…”

Read my full post on the MHTF Blog.

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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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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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