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Celebrate Solutions: Family Planning Messages Provided in Barber Shops and Beauty Salons in Liberia

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Since 2009, Jhpiego and USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) have been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to increase access to family planning information and services in Liberia. According to the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, adolescent pregnancy continues to be a major problem, with approximately one-third of Liberian girls having begun childbearing between the ages of 15 and 19. Jhpiego and MCHIP have developed key strategies for increasing awareness and knowledge of family planning by distributing condoms in the community, engaging religious leaders to promote family planning, and integrating family planning with immunization services. Read more...

IPPF Releases Scorecard on World Bank’s Reproductive Health Investments

This week, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) released a scorecard tracking the progress of the World Bank’s reproductive health action plan, which aims to increase people in poverty’s access to critical health services worldwide. Titled “The scorecard revisited: Monitoring and evaluating implementation of the World Bank’s Reproductive Health Action Plan 2010-2015”, the report shows that World Bank investments in reproductive health declined between 2012 and 2013, indicating a risk of a downward trend in reproductive health financing.

The World Bank is currently a key funder of reproductive health projects across the 57 Reproductive Health Action Plan priority countries. Thanks to advocacy work from IPPF and other groups, the Bank has agreed to include contraceptive prevalence rates in the International Development Association (IDA) 17 Results Measuring System, which tracks development progress based on specific indicators. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Access to Contraceptive Implants Increased Nine-Fold in Some African Countries

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Between 2008 and 2012, Marie Stopes International (MSI) provided 1.7 million contraceptive implants in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a Global Health: Science and Practice article published last month. The organization’s success is based on a mix of mobile outreach, social franchising, and clinic-based service provision. Read more...

The Question of Conscientious Objection for Medical Practioners

In a world full of divergent views about religion and morality issues in society, women’s rights to receive family planning and safe abortion services have often been denied on grounds of conflicting views for healthcare providers. The need to find a balance between these two perspectives propelled Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) to fully explore the phenomenon of conscience-based refusal of reproductive healthcare worldwide. Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A White Paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses draws from comprehensive medical, public health, legal, ethical and social science research from 1998-2013 in six languages to explore how and why reproductive healthcare is denied to patients, and what the health and policy-based aftereffects are. 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...

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...

Celebrate Solutions: Improved Health, Flat Bellies, and Nutritious Food

By: Farhana Ali, Catapult; Originally posted on Catapult.org

Gina has three children and although she doesn’t want any more, her husband refuses to pay for contraceptives because he believes there are more important uses for the money. Since Gina doesn’t earn her own income, convincing her husband to change his mind proved futile. That’s when she came across Roots of Health—a nonprofit that works to enhance the lives of girls, women, and their communities in the Philippines, through educational, medical, and nutritional support—that was providing free contraceptives. Gina finally felt in control of her own body. This is just one example of the impact Roots of Health projects have made for girls & women. Read more...

ICEC Releases New Advocacy Brief on Emergency Contraception

Today, the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) announced the released a new advocacy brief entitled “The Unfinished Agenda: Next Steps to Increase Access to Emergency Contraception". The brief presents a summary of data collected by ICEC and partners on global emergency contraceptive access, including country-level policies and practices, availability across sectors, and awareness of EC among women and providers. Overall, the data suggest that while the past twenty years have seen a dramatic increase in EC availability, access remains limited, especially in developing countries. Read more...

2014 Gates Letter Highlights Women’s Empowerment and Family Planning

The 2014 Annual Letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation effectively highlights common myths about global aid and development, and what areas need to be prioritized to see real progress for the poor and marginalized. In particular, increasing women’s empowerment and their access to contraception are discussed as key interventions that lead to measurable change and a more equitable, sustainable world. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Saving Mothers’ Lives with Misoprostol

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Liberia is one of several countries where USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and Jhpiego have rolled out a new program to distribute misoprostol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Liberia was chosen as a recipient country because of its high maternal mortality ratio of 994 deaths per 100,000 live births, high rate of home births, and limited access to health care facilities.

The six-month program, with support from the Liberian government, is designed to support the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in fulfilling its maternal health objectives by building the capacity of health workers to implement the initiative throughout the country. Read more...

Keeping Complexity in a Human Rights–Based Approach to Family Planning: Is It Worth It?

Submitted by Shannon Harris, on behalf of the team led by Futures Group and EngenderHealth that developed the Voluntary, Rights-Based Family Planning Framework, Originally posted on Champions4Choice

Human rights–based family planning (FP) programming—what does it mean? Where do you start to translate it into practice? How comprehensive do you need to be? It is easy to become daunted by a long list of inputs and activities, such as those listed in the voluntary, rights-based family planning framework developed by a team led by Futures Group and EngenderHealth. The recent Vision 2020 newsletter refers to the overwhelming nature of existing guidance documents for ensuring that FP programs are rights-based and offers a simplified starting point. But will simplification of a complex set of challenges lead to the transformation in FP programming that our field needs? Read more...

2013: A Year of Delivering for Girls and Women

As we near the end of 2013, it’s time to look back on the incredible accomplishments of the past year to drive progress for girls and women. From Women’s Deliver’s biggest and brightest global conference to-date to significant progress made in increasing access to family planning and in developing a new global framework that priorities girls and women, this year has been monumental. Advocates from around the world and across sectors joined together to evaluate current and past efforts, analyze lessons learned, and look towards a brighter future. Read more...

Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in the Context of Full Access, Full Choice

2013 Statement from the Bellagio Group on LARCs

In November 2013 at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Population Council convened the third meeting of international experts to discuss ways to expand contraceptive choice and accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services by increasing access to highly effective, long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

The Bellagio Group shares a commitment to leadership in increasing access and choice in contraceptive information, services, and supplies. Participants include service providers, donor representatives, researchers, procurement specialists, manufacturers, and public health specialists. Read more...

Raising Our Voices: Young Leaders at the International Conference on Family Planning

By: Ms. Makda Mikre Tessema, Let Girls Lead AGALI fellow, YWCA Ethiopia

The International Family Planning Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia included more than 4000 people from all over the world bringing together family planning educators, researchers, practitioners and most importantly, the highest number of young people attending an international conference.

Before the official opening of the ICFP conference, I had the great honor to speak at the Family Planning + Social Good pre-conference event, representing Let Girls Lead’s Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative and the YWCA of Ethiopia. Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for over 3 million girls globally. I graduated from Let Girls Lead’s AGALI program in 2010, where I learned to lead changes that improve young people’s lives, including increasing their access to family planning. Read more...

Ending Motherhood in Childhood

By: Lynn ElHarake, Council on Foreign Relations; Originally posted by Council on Foreign Relations

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Lynn ElHarake, research associate for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program. Here she discusses how motherhood in childhood undermines economic growth, health, gender equality, and development.

Last month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) published a report on the tragic consequences of unplanned adolescent pregnancies around the world. The report, Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy, begins with a sober introduction by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. He writes, “When a girl becomes pregnant, her present and future change radically, and rarely for the better. Her education may end, her job prospects evaporate, and her vulnerabilities to poverty, exclusion and dependency multiply.” Read more...

Countries with Greatest Family Planning Needs Lead Progress to Expand Access to Contraceptives

Originally posted at FP2020

At global conference, five more nations announce landmark family planning pledges to improve health and drive economic development

FP2020 partnership establishes new measurement and evaluation framework to monitor and guide progress on extending contraceptive access to 120 million more women and girls by 2020

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 13 November 2013 – Countries that have the greatest needs for family planning are at the forefront of global progress to expand access to contraceptive information, services and supplies according to a new progress report released by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) at the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). Also at the conference, five governments – Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mauritania and Myanmar – announced major new national family planning pledges. Read more...

Reaching Most Vulnerable Young People With Family Planning and HIV Services

By: David J. Olson, Global development communications expert; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Ethiopia -- where international advocates will open their biennial International Conference on Family Planning on Nov. 12 -- has succeeded in bringing down the unmet need for family planning from 36.6 percent of currently married women 15-49 in 2000 to 26.3 percent in 2011. But the unmet need is greatest among those aged 15 to 19. In that age range, almost one-third want contraception and cannot get it. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Pakistani Midwives Provide Postpartum Family Planning Services

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

A new initiative, led by Jhpiego and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is providing counseling to women about postpartum family planning methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and space births to improve the health of the mother and child. The program has trained 425 maternal health care providers of different skill levels across 21 facilities about postpartum family planning methods, including the postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD). It has also included input from district managers from the Government of Pakistan’s health and population departments and has taught them how to provide appropriate and supportive supervision to health facility staff. Read more...

Global Citizen Festival Calls for Women’s Equality

By: Janna Oberdorf, Women Deliver

On Saturday, September 28th, more than 60,000 people will come together at a musical festival on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City, to focus on one goal – to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The Global Citizen Festival, which will feature musical performances by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and Stevie Wonder, gives “Global Citizens” the opportunity to join a movement of people who together are creating a world without extreme poverty. By taking action on globalcitizen.org, citizens from around the world can earn points to enter a chance to win passes to the festival.

The focus of the Festival this year will not only be on global poverty, but on accelerating progress on the issues of health, education, women’s equality, and global partnerships. Coinciding with the UN General Assembly, the Festival serves as an important platform for citizens to come together and raise their voices for change in a moment when critical leaders are gathered together. Read more...

The Everyday Heroes

By: Pamela Barnes; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Did you know that today is World Contraception Day? Many articles in your newsfeed today will likely call attention to the fact that despite ongoing advances in global reproductive health, there are still 220 million women around the world who want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but who lack access to modern contraception. World Contraception Day shines light on the urgent need for family planning and how best to get it into the hands of the women who need it most. A crucial but often forgotten link is the health care provider. When I think about World Contraception Day, I'm reminded that at some point in our lives, all of us need access to reproductive health information. Who gave you the information you wanted and needed? I would like to introduce to you to Nurse Peace Ametsitsi, an everyday hero whom I met while I was in Ghana. Peace helps women at the Koforidua Polyclinic in Eastern Ghana -- up to 50 a day -- find peace of mind in their lives. This post is dedicated to Peace, and to all health care providers whose guidance puts us on a healthy path. Read more...

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