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Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Convenes Members in Mexico

Global reproductive health practitioners and advocates convened for the 10th annual general membership meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) in Mexico on October 20th-24th.  The RHSC is a global partnership of public, private and non-governmental organizations working to ensure access and use of affordable, high-quality supplies for better reproductive health in low and middle-income countries. Read more....

For Freedom of Choice

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

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

Over the last several decades, there have been continuous efforts to promote and improve access to family planning and reproductive health services, especially in the developing world. Despite these efforts, unmet need for contraceptive is likely to grow by 40 percent in the next 15 years In sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania, where almost half the female population is of reproductive age, 35% of married women still do not have their contraceptive needs met, and the total fertility rate of 5.3 is more than double the world average. In response, the Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project has worked over the last 6 months to bridge unmet family planning gaps among adolescents girls in the Tanga region through mobile phone SMS. This project provides girls with an opportunity that most of them term as ''one of its kind”, enabling them to discuss myths and religious misconceptions about reproductive health, and finally have correct information right at hand. Read more... 

Ramping Up Production: Providing Contraception to Millions More Girls and Women in Africa and Asia

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

Last week I saw a good example of what it means to “walk the talk” - taking commitments made in big meetings and turning them into action that will potentially benefit millions of girls and women around the world. I participated in the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art production plant in Oss, Netherlands, that will provide 10 million contraceptive implants annually destined for use in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Read more...

Assisting developing countries with contraception from Oss

Originally posted by MSD

  • 70 million euro investment in ‘state-of-the-art’ plant
  • ‘Lean’ manufacturing required to meet the demand

Oss, October 8, 2014 – During the past three years, MSD has invested more than 170 million euros in high-quality manufacturing in Oss. Today, the new 'flagship' was officially opened: a state-of-the-art plant costing 70 million euros where MSD can manufacture and package over ten million contraceptive implants per year. The implants are destined for developing countries in Africa and Asia in particular. Read more...

New Resource on Maternal Health, HIV and Family Planning Now Available

Women Deliver is excited to announce a new dual-sided fact sheet on maternal health, HIV and family planning developed with partners with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Family Care International, Maternal Health Task Force and The White Ribbon Alliance. This fact sheet includes evidence demonstrating the significance of promoting rights-based maternity care in order to improve girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Government Initiative Improves Abortion and Post-Abortion Care in Ghana

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Although Ghana has one of the most progressive abortion laws in sub-Saharan Africa, mortality from unsafe abortion is still a problem. The 2010 maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Ghana was 350 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to an average MMR of 240 in the developing world. One of the largest contributors to maternal deaths are complications from unsafe abortions. The 2007 Ghana Maternal Health Survey estimates that approximately 40% of abortions are performed by untrained providers. Evidence also suggests that many health care providers are not aware of the abortion law. Others may feel that performing an abortion conflicts with their religious beliefs. This lack of knowledge, along with social stigma that surrounds women seeking an abortion, drives the practice underground, resulting in clandestine procedures that are often performed by untrained providers or attempts at a self-induced abortion. Read more...

Why contraceptives? Here are the top 5 benefits

By: Katja Iversen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Jill Sheffield, President, Women Deliver; Originally posted by Devex

What is contraception good for? The answer may seem obvious: As far back as the age of Cleopatra, who used gold pellets to prevent pregnancy, women have sought ways to plan the number and timing of their children. But critics of that idea go back just as far, and contraception remains controversial to this day. As the world celebrates World Contraception Day on Sept. 26, it’s worth reviewing some of the ways that access to modern contraception improves not only the lives of girls and women, but also men, boys and society in general. Read more...

Bayer Supports World Contraception Day to Help Young People Build Awareness for Contraception

Originally posted by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

  • “Framework for Action” plan calls for empowerment of young people through bette raccess, information and education
  •  International survey reveals that 43.8% of young people report having sex with a new partner without using contraception

PRESS RELEASE: Berlin, September 26, 2014 – On the occasion of today’s World Contraception Day (WCD), Bayer supports the publication of the WCD Coalition “Framework for Action” plan calling on individuals, governments and organizations to address the alarming number of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  worldwide. More than 41% of the 208 million pregnancies that occur globally each year are unplanned. Nearly half of those unplanned pregnancies end in abortion.i An estimated 33 million unintended pregnancies each year are a result of contraceptive failure or incorrect use,ii so it is important that young people are well-informed about the different methods of contraception available.

Young Leader Nargis Shirazi Nominated for The Waislitz Global Citizen Award

Nargis Shirazi, one of Women Deliver’s Young Leaders, Founder of the Wo-man Foundation, and It Takes Two Campaign Project Manager, has been nominated for the Waislitz Global Citizen Award in recognition of her work to empower girls and women in Uganda by advancing their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Global Poverty Project, in partnership with Alex Waislitz, presents the award to shine a spotlight on the outstanding individuals who are working to improve the lives of people around the world. Individuals are nominated based on four key areas: embodiment of global citizenship; proven impact with a substantial record of making lasting change and creating opportunities for the world’s poor; innovation that brings new thinking to overcoming the challenges of ending poverty; and the potential to improve their work. Nargis was nominated for this inaugural award alongside David Auerberch from Washington DC and Anoop Jain and Swapnil Chartuvedi, both from India. Read more...

I Dedicate This Family Planning Award to Women Deliver

By: Eranga Omo-Ehiabhi Isaac, Women Deliver 2013 Scholarship Recipient, Nigeria

Recently, the Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), presented me with an award for excellence as Family Planning Champion for my zest in maintaining a column on Family Planning in the Nigerian Observer newspaper. I was a 2013 Women Deliver scholarship winner at Women Deliver's 3rd Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I attended the conference as a journalist. Read more...

WE ARE FRESH – ARE YOU?

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

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campaign (Uganda)

Enabling young people is one of the best ways to help a nation flourish. In my country of Uganda, youth make up nearly 80 percent of the population – an enormous wealth of untapped potential. However, poor economic and educational opportunities plague Uganda’s youth, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) has suffered unjustly.

Sex is not openly talked about in Uganda. Ugandans suffer from alarming HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy rates, yet we deprioritize SRH and inhibit access to the youth friendly services that millions across this country desperately need. Often times, the services youth can access are counterproductive to the issues at hand – what good is preaching abstinence to someone already engaged in sex? We need to be promoting proven solutions to help Uganda’s youth live healthier, more productive lives. 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...

Saving Lives: How Text Messaging Can Improve Access to Family Planning

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

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

I have a dream! I dream of a world where young women have information about and can access affordable and youth-friendly family planning services. I imagine family planning services being viewed as precious commodities, penetrating the hardest-to-reach markets effectively and consistently just like ice-cold bottles of Coca-Cola.

When adolescent girls don't have access to information about their sexuality, or to condoms and other contraceptive methods, the impact is intensely personal — an unplanned pregnancy, HIV or sexually-transmitted disease infection, or injury in an unsafe relationship — but the sum of these individual experiences are catastrophic for communities and for countries. Pregnancy-related deaths are a leading cause of mortality for girls aged 15-19 years-old in low-and middle-income countries.

In Tanzania, young people are at an elevated risk of experiencing sexual and reproductive health problems. The adolescent childbearing rates in Tanzania are among the highest in East Africa, where, by no coincidence, young people also have the highest unmet need for contraception. Investing in the health of adolescent girls is not only the right thing to do, but will also have a lasting impact on Tanzania’s economic and social development. Read more...

 

Rights-Based Family Planning: Importance of Increased Access

By: Chastain Fitzgerald; Originally posted by Population Council

Chastain Fitzgerald is the Chief Program and Development Officer of WomanCare Global

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts that convenes annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the author and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at cfitzgerald@womancareglobal.org.

Two weeks ago, I observed a focus group in Lusaka, Zambia, where a moderator from a South African marketing agency spoke with eight young women about their views on contraception. Joined by a local researcher, a program manager, and marketers, I watched the session next door through a live television feed. Our goal was to get a head start on the development of marketing strategies for new contraceptive products—a project funded by USAID. In that small room in the Lusaka office building, we huddled around the television listening to these women’s opinions about different contraceptive options, hoping to understand how they make decisions about which methods to use and how the public health community can better meet their needs. Read more...

 

It’s All Possible: We Have the Solution in Our Hands!

By: Martin E. Wanzala, Uganda

As deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda at the 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum here in Johannesburg, South Africa gain momentum, it is a great opportunity for young people to ensure that their voices are heard when and where it matters most.

The post-2015 development discussion is one of the most important debates of our time. The global framework that world leaders agree upon in 2015 will guide all future government policies and spending on social and economic development in both developed and developing countries. Read more...

Studies in Family Planning Publishes Special Issue on Unmet Need

June Issue Explores Challenges in Addressing Unmet Need for Contraception, Featuring Research and Case Studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America

NEW YORK, NY (16 June 2014) — Studies in Family Planning, a leading journal published by the Population Council, released “Unmet Need for Family Planning”—a special issue featuring ten articles, including a comprehensive introduction to the topic of unmet need. Distinguished researchers explore trends related to unmet need for contraception, and many articles point to practical strategies for increasing contraceptive knowledge and uptake, and for overcoming barriers that prevent women from practicing contraception.

“Unmet need has been an important indicator for measuring the progress of family planning programs for more than 25 years,” said John Bongaarts, vice president and Distinguished Scholar at the Population Council. “This issue features work from some of the leading minds in family planning. It explores trends, identifies issues, and proposes solutions to ensure that sexual and reproductive health programs and policies are structured to meet the changing needs of women and men over the course of their reproductive lives.” Read more...

Sexual Violence, Security and the Role Gender Equality Has to Play in Tackling Rape

By: Tewodros Melesse; Originally posted by Huffington Post

Tewodros Melesse is the Director-General of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

In late July 2010, a woman brought her 10-year-old daughter, Sakina, into an emergency outreach clinic in Muzaffargarh, South Punjab, Pakistan. Floods had inundated that part of the country, and our Member Association -- the Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) -- had deployed using boats and vans.

The girl had fallen, the mother said. But the examination that followed told a very different story. Bleeding from her genitals indicated she had been sexually assaulted. But the mother, terrified of the social stigma that might follow the girl for the rest of her life, was initially unwilling to confide in our clinic staff.

Eventually confidence was established and the real explanation emerged. Sakina immediately received treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy, all of which are part of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP). These are the services that we deploy into emergency situations where a humanitarian response is required. Rahmuna-FPAP psychologists trained in sexual and gender-based violence also provided counselling and support for Sakina. Read more...

Joining Hands to Improve Reproductive Health Outcomes for Youth in Uganda

By: Martin Wanzala, Allied Youth Initiative (Uganda)

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

Growing up on the fringes of Ugandan society, I have witnessed firsthand how HIV/AIDS, early or unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion rob my country of the lives of young men and women. The World Bank indicates that more than three quarters of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30. The health of these young people should be a national priority.

While Uganda has made significant strides in improving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) indicators over the last decade, the status of young people, reflected by those same indicators, remains very poor. For instance, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates are four times higher in youth than in the general population. The unmet need for contraception is an unacceptably high 41 percent, while the adolescent pregnancy rate stands at 43 percent. HIV/AIDS is all too common, infecting 8.3 percent of young women and 6.1 percent of young men. The 2013 State of Uganda Population report reveals that of the estimated 297,000 unsafe abortions that occur every year in the country, nearly half of them are among girls and young women ages 15-24. Read more...

Q&A with Katja Iversen About Her Vision for the Future

In this Q&A, Women Deliver’s new CEO Katja Iversen shares her motivations for becoming an advocate for girls’ and women’s health and rights; discusses lessons she has learned in her career; offers advice for emerging advocates; and describes her vision for the future for girls and women around the world.

Q: What first inspired you to become a maternal and reproductive health advocate?

I’m proud to say it was my grandmother. Back in the 1930s she – in her own quiet and behind-the-scenes way – fought fiercely for girls’ and women’s reproductive rights in Denmark, where I am from. At the time, only married women could get access to modern contraceptives.  She and my granddad lived together without being married, and she worked seven days a week to get him through college, so getting pregnant just wasn’t an option. Even when she got married and had kids, she kept up the fight for all women’s reproductive rights – because it was just the right thing to do. Read more...

Ethiopian Government Striving to Promote Family Planning Amidst Challenges

The Ethiopian government has made tremendous progress in increasing access to contraceptives and improving maternal health. Through its innovative Health Extension Program (HEP), community health workers are formally trained and employed as full-time government workers. This investment has helped to serve hard -to-reach areas of the country. Despite strong political will and innovative support through the HEP program, major challenges are still holding back universal access to family planning and reproductive health services.

Ethiopia has the second largest population in Africa with 90 million people, and this figure is projected to double by 2050 if no interventions are made to address this issue. According to a report by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, adolescent girls in Ethiopia particularly need access to reproductive health information and services, and interventions that prevent child marriage. Read more...

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