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Plan at Hand: A Success Story Against Challenges

By: Maureen Anyango Oduor, Plan At Hand Girl Empowerment Project (Tanzania)

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative

To most effectively engage adolescent girls in their own healthcare decision-making, they must be approached on their own turf. The use of technology and social media is widespread among adolescents, and these tools have the potential to improve healthcare delivery and health outcomes.

Pregnancy among adolescent girls is prevalent in Tanzania, potentially leading to health and other complications. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be born preterm, to be of low birth weight, and to have higher rates of morbidity and mortality than those born to older women. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Niger’s Traditional Leaders are Promoting Maternal Health

By: Joan Erakit; Originally posted by Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency

BANDE, Niger, Sep 11 2014 (IPS) - It is a long, 14-hour drive from Niger’s capital city Niamey to the village of Bande. And the ride is a dreary one as the roadside is bare. The occasional, lone goat herder is spotted every few kilometres and the sightings become a cause of both confusion and excitement since there aren’t any trees, or watering holes in sight. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Men Choose Circumcision to Protect Themselves from HIV

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Studies have shown compelling evidence that voluntary male medical circumcision (VMCC) can reduce a man’s risk of heterosexually contracting HIV by 60%, decrease the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and lower the risk of cervical cancer in female sexual partners. Therefore, it is no surprise that more than one million men and youth in sub-Saharan Africa have chosen to get circumcised to protect themselves.

With support from donors, a Jhpiego program has provided technical assistance and policy guidelines to deliver effective VMMC services. A signature characteristic of the project is the leading role of nurses in performing the procedure. This will build the capacity of health care workers around sub-Saharan Africa to continue to provide these services. Furthermore, the VMMC services are part of a broader package of comprehensive HIV-prevention services that also include screening and treatment of STIs, HIV testing, counseling and referrals, and condom promotion. Read more...

Young People Won’t Be Forgotten at Uganda’s First National Conference on Family Planning

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

As Uganda’s first annual National Conference on Family Planning (July 28-30) drew to a close, the presence and impact of the country’s young people was clear. With nearly 80% of Uganda’s population under the age of 30, it is a demographic group that the country cannot afford to leave behind any longer.

Youth activists started their hard work before the conference, with a two-day workshop on July 23 and 24 organized by It Takes Two and UNFPA Uganda. Under the theme of making universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services a reality for young people, the pre-conference’s nearly 100 participants were able to network with their peers, learn about their government’s commitments to SRH and youth, and strengthen their advocacy and communications skills. Representatives from the Ministry of Health, UNFPA Uganda, and PPD-ARO were all present to share how they are committed to helping Uganda’s young people realize their SRH. Read more...

Maasai Lead Way to Ending Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya

By: Sidi Sarro, Key Correspondents

On 22 July, the UK is hosting the first-ever Girl Summit, which aims to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. Sidi Sarro reports on how Kenya’s Maasai community are embracing alternative rites of passage for their girls.

Dressed in colourful kangas (traditional wrappers) and adorned in brightly-coloured beads and a headdress, 13 year old Naserian steps out to receive her certificate. She is one of many Maasai girls who are undergoing a symbolic ceremony which ushers them into womanhood. The air is filled with festivities and there is a distinct aroma of roasting meat. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Providing Life-Changing Surgeries for Fistula Patients

By: Isabel Garcia, Catapult

Obstetric fistula—a hole in the birth canal resulting from prolonged or obstructed childbirth—is a preventable condition that leaves up to 100,000 girls and women each year, with life-long incontinence. As a result of the stigma associated with the condition, women living with fistula are often isolated, neglected or abandoned by family and community, and left to rely on the charity and mercy of others. The Tamale Fistula Centre in northern Ghana, which is supported by UNFPA, provides life-changing surgeries for girls and women facing this condition. Through Catapult, they raised the funds needed to provide 136 gynecological surgeries in 2013, 81 of which were fistula repair surgeries. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Scoring Big for Mothers and Babies in Malawi

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with one in 36 pregnant women dying from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Many of these women die from hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of maternal death worldwide. An increase in blood supply, especially at rural health clinics, has the potential to save the life of a mother experiencing hemorrhaging. In an innovative push to save lives, the Silver Strikers Football Club partnered with MamaYe Malawi and Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) earlier this month to organize a football match and blood drive to raise awareness and to collect 59 units of blood for health clinics.

Celebrate Solutions: CUBS Project Empowering Women in Nigeria

By Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Nigeria’s population of people living with HIV/AIDS accounts for about four million of a global total of 40 million, which makes it the nation with the second largest population of people living with HIV/AIDS after South Africa. As a result, many orphans have been left homeless, without any financial support for basic needs like education. With support from PEPFAR, USAID in partnership with Management Health Sciences (MHS) and Africare is implementing the Community-Based Support for OVC Project (CUBS). The project aims at improving the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in 11 Nigerian states by integrating a currently fragmented OVC service delivery system, mobilizing community support, and raising awareness of the issues and needs of OVCs. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leader Esther Agbarakwe Nominated for Award

Esther Agbarakwe, one of the 2010 Women Deliver Young Leaders and a speaker at the 2013 Women Deliver global conference has been nominated for the Vlisco Women’s Month Award for her outstanding work as an exceptional climate change policy expert and advocate for the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.The Vlisco Women’s Month Awards celebrate inspiring women in West and Central Africa annually during the month of March. This year’s theme is Dare to Dream: A tribute to women who have faith and courage to realize their dreams.Read more...

Joining the Conversation

By Pamela Barnes, President and CEO of EngenderHealth; Originally posted by Huffington Post

I have just returned from a week-long trip to Ethiopia, where I traveled with a group of incredible women to learn more about the reproductive health options available for women and their families throughout the country. Our week was filled with visits to local health centers and rural hospitals, and we even had an opportunity to meet with the Minister of Health. Out of the many things we experienced, one particular day stood out most for me: In a remote agrarian village in Amhara, a community dialogue among 30 local women left a big impression on me. The sights, sounds, and lessons from that day have been on my mind ever since. Read more...

 

It Takes Two to Launch Family Planning Campaign at Third Annual International Women’s Day Concert

5,000 people expected to attend concert to promote girls’ and women’s health and rights

Kampala, Uganda, February 26 – It Takes Two will launch its national youth-focused family planning campaign at Talent Africa’s International Women’s Day concert on March 8. The concert will recognize the importance of women’s health and rights, and feature performances by international and local female artists, including Nyanda, Cindy Sany, Lilian Mbabazi and Irene Ntale among others. Read more...

Press Release: Unsafe Abortion Widespread in Burkina Faso

Originally posted by the Guttmacher Institute

Low Level of Contraceptive Use in the Country Fuels High Rate of Unintended Pregnancy

An estimated 105,000 abortions occurred in Burkina Faso in 2012, the vast majority of which were clandestine procedures performed under unsafe conditions that jeopardize Burkinabe women’s health and lives. The finding comes in a new report, Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion in Burkina Faso: Causes and Consequences, released today by the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP) of the University of Ouagadougou and the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute. According to the report, 43% of women who had an unsafe abortion experienced complications serious enough to require treatment, but many women did not receive the medical care they needed. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions:  Peer Educator Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening in Mozambique

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in developing countries. In 2009, the government of Mozambique launched the first ever national cervical cancer program, offering screening and treatment as part of reproductive health services. With support from USAID, and working closely with Jhpiego and local partners, the program has increased the number of women accessing screening facilities. Nostina Ngomane, a 43-year-old widowed mother of two, is one of the program’s beneficiaries. Persuaded to get screened through a cancer awareness presentation at a church gathering, Ngomane has taken on the role of a peer educator and is now working directly with screening sites supported by USAID’s global Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). Working to raise awareness, Ngomane reaches out to other women and talks to them about cervical and breast cancer, HIV, and family planning. Read More...

Today is a Significant Day in Mali

By: Molly Melching; Originally posted on Thomson Reuters Foundation

Today, on the UN-recognized International Day promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC), these 14 neighborhoods have decided that they will no longer support the practices of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage. This public declaration marks a major change in community norms.  It will be a reference point people will use for generations to come marking the moment when they, as a collective group, agreed to protect the health and human rights of their daughters. Government ministers, traditional and religious leaders, hundreds of people from Yirimadio neighborhoods, project donors, Tostan International staff and Tostan’s implementing NGO partner, Muso, have all gathered at the Yirimadio community stadium to witness this celebratory event. Read more...

Press Release: 206,000 More Girls to Benefit from HPV Vaccine with GAVI Alliance Support

10 countries approved in latest round of HPV vaccine demonstration programmes

GENEVA – An estimated 206,000 girls in 10 developing countries are expected to benefit from the introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the leading cause of cervical cancer, announced the GAVI Alliance on World Cancer Day. The latest round of approved HPV vaccine introductions will see 10 countries begin targeted demonstration projects. The new approvals bring the total number of countries lined up to receive GAVI support for HPV vaccine to 21. Read more...

Busting Myths: Do Health Systems Deliver for Women?

By: Margaret Kruk & Nana A.Y. Twum-Danso; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists 

Maternal mortality is declining globally but remains persistently high in sub-Saharan Africa: the region contributes 56 percent of all maternal deaths each year. This has been attributed to the low number of women delivering with a skilled birth attendant, which results in many women dying at home or arriving at health facilities too late to be saved. To increase the number of women who have access to skilled providers during childbirth, low-income countries have worked to bring childbirth services to primary care facilities that are close to home. Typically these community clinics are meant to be staffed with nurses and midwives trained to provide basic obstetric care, although in practice, skilled providers are difficult to attract and retain in rural areas. In this model, the vast majority of women are expected to deliver at these community clinics, while women with high-risk pregnancies or those who develop complications in labor are referred to hospitals. Read more...

Former Women Deliver Co-Chair Appointed to Tanzania Cabinet

This week, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, announced the appointment of Saada Mkuya as Finance Minister and Asha-rose Migiro as Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. These appointments of two women to powerful government positions are seen as part of an ongoing effort to promote gender equality within Tanzania. Migiro was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, making her the first woman in Tanzania to hold this position. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Zambia and Uganda Reduce Maternal Mortality by One Third in One Year

by: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Maternal mortality is regarded as an indicator of the overall functioning of health systems. That’s to say that when women are to dying in pregnancy and childbirth, it’s crucial to look at how services are delivered. The year one evaluation of Saving Mothers, Giving Life reveals a significant reduction in number of women dying in pregnancy & childbirth due to the a focus on services delivered at these critical points: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours postpartum. Read more...

An Open Letter to Africa’s Leaders

By: Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Originally posted on The Africa Report

H. E. Joaquim Chissano is the former President of Mozambique and current co-chair of the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development)

This is a transformative moment for Africa – and indeed, for the world. Decision-makers from across the continent, under the able leadership of Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are finalising a crucial document outlining a common position for Africa on the development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. Since the 1990s, Africa has gained considerable strength in international negotiations by sticking together and forging consensus on important issues. It is a strategy that has empowered us in many ways. And it means that our voices will be heard when the framework that will guide governments, donors and development partners for years to come is negotiated. So we need to be careful what we ask for. Read more...

Mind the Gap: Engaging Young Men and Boys in Getting to Zero

By: Remmy Shawa, Sonke Gender Justice and Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver; Originally posted by FHI 360

Throughout the session rooms of this 17th ICASA, it’s clear that gender inequality is a key driver of HIV in Africa. Gender-based violence, harmful practices against girls (like child marriage and female genital cutting) and violence against women in key affected populations all increase risk for HIV infection. In addition, HIV risk is closely connected to stigma, discrimination and blame for women, particularly women living with HIV and women who experience violence. But how can the HIV response encourage men to challenge gender inequality to get to Zero? Read more...

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