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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...

 

Study Shows that Laws Act as Barrier to Young People Getting Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

New research published today highlights how the law in different countries often restricts young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.

PRESS RELEASE: A series of reports by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) also found that taboos and stigma related to young people’s sexuality are often made worse by restrictive laws.

The series called ‘Over-protected and Under-served: A multi-country study on legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services’  provides a global overview of laws relating to consent, sexual expression, equality and violence.

It looks at three case studies in the UK, Senegal and El Salvador – and explores how young people’s knowledge and perceptions of the law impact their access to sexual and reproductive health services.Findings from all three countries highlight young people’s uncertainty and confusion about whether they have the right to access SRH services: 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...

FRESH - Fully and Richly Empowered about Sexual Health

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)

“I cannot use a condom. Condoms cause cancer in the long run. I prefer to go live!”

I gasped when one of my acquaintances said this. I know the picture you have in your head… a rural girl with unkempt hair and dirty nails who had dropped out of school. Well that’s not quite it – let me paint the picture. These words came from an intelligent lawyer who has been practicing for more than three years. She wears high heels, speaks with confidence and is currently working toward her master’s degree. That myth was actually embedded in the mind of what society would call “a learned individual!” Read more...
 

Campus-Based Initiative Delivers SRH Information and Services to University Students in Nigeria

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

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde), Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

Every year in my home country of Nigeria, there are 6.8 million pregnancies. Approximately one in five of them are unintended. There are 3.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 60% of new infections occur among young people ages 15 to 24. One reason for these staggering numbers is the low level of contraceptive use among young people, who encounter socio-cultural barriers that prevent them from accessing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Having worked for over 10 years in the field of young adults’ sexual and reproductive health, I have seen firsthand the challenges that young people, particularly those in university settings, confront. They include engaging in risky behaviors like having transactional sex, unprotected sex, and sex with multiple partners, as well as facing the threat of sexual violence. Read more...

Women’s Rights Defenders Call for the Inclusion of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

On the re-launch of May 28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health, Women’s Rights Defenders Worldwide Call for the Inclusion of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

This May 2014, in commemoration of 30 years of struggle and activism reflected in the victories of the women’s rights movement in the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) and in the IV World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), women’s rights defenders and activists worldwide are re-launching May 28, the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, by calling on governments to ensure a holistic, inclusive, and human rights-based approach to women and girls’ health, which includes sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Read more...

Press Release: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Crucial to Ending Poverty

Originally posted by IPPF

United Nations, New York: A new report launched today reveals that sexual and reproductive health and rights are still nowhere near high enough up on the UN’s list of priorities. The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) “Sexual and reproductive health and rights: a crucial agenda for the post-2015 framework” report, unveiled on the first day of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), argues if Member States and the UN fail to prioritize women and girls, or sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), then the next development framework cannot hope to end poverty. Read more...

This International Women’s Day, Invest in Our Future

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver; originally posted on Devex

Throughout the last three decades, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to improving the health and well-being of girls and women. I have tremendous gratitude for the trailblazers who made this possible — those around the globe who spoke up for the health and rights of girls and women even when it was unpopular or dangerous to do so. They have made possible all the progress we’ve seen, and inspire me to keep striving for more.

On this International Women’s Day, I want to look ahead to the future and celebrate the young men and women, many of whom weren’t even born when I began my journey, who are not only picking up the torch to advocate for women’s rights, but are carrying it with new fervor, passion and creative thinking. Read more...

Another New Year—And One More Chance to Choose the World We Want

By: Mariela Castro Espín, Cuban MP, President of CENESEX, member of the UN High-Level Task Force for the ICPD; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The coming year is a crucial one for humanity, the future and the planet. Throughout 2014, in a series of global and regional deliberations, representatives from all member states of the United Nations will begin negotiating the basis for a new development framework to be adopted in 2015 that will affect the lives of billions of people from all countries, rich or poor, developed and developing, from north and south, for decades to come. The framework under discussion, known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda, will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which comprise specific goals and targets and served to motivate the international community's mobilization for its followup. The new Development Agenda will need to have as its essential objective eradicating poverty and promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability. Read more...

Large Returns from Small Investments in Women’s and Children’s Health

By: Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA; Originally posted on Huffington Post and devex

A recent study published in The Lancet finds that an increased investment in health of only five dollars per capita per year in 74 of the poorest countries can result in a nine-fold social and economic return. The Global Investment Framework for Women's and Children's Health, supported by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization and other partners, shows that small investments in women's and children's health will yield a large return. By making the additional investments needed for life-saving interventions, it would be possible to not only avoid unnecessary deaths, but also have healthier, more productive individuals, communities and countries. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: The Universal Periodic Review as an Inroad to Progress

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kyrgyzstan, civil society groups such as Labrys Kyrgyzstan have been struggling for years to convince the government to expand women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, to develop sexuality educations programs, and to effectively prosecute violence against women and LGBT individuals. In the face of strong gender norms and a legislative system reluctant to respond to domestic violence, the path to progress has been long and fraught with obstacles.

In 2010, Labrys Kyrgyzstan and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) partnered to submit a report to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan accepted recommendations from the Czech Republic and Uruguay to review and reform legislative actions around gender-based violence and hate crimes, and invited Labrys to hold a training for government officials. Read more...

Generation Z Delivers For Women’s Health

By: Joy Marini, Director of Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson; Originally posted on Huffington Post

A few days ago, my 17-year-old daughter asked for help on a school project about "Generation Z." I Googled it immediately. Apparently, "Generation Z" describes those born at the tail end of the Millennial generation (approximately 1982-2002). They are the first generation to grow up with a computer in their home. They are reliant on technology to communicate and surveys indicate that they text and tweet as much as almost 80 times a day. Read more...

Millions of Girls in Developing Countries to be Protected Against Cervical Cancer Thanks to New HPV

Originally posted by GAVI Alliance

A new record low price for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines will help ensure millions of girls in developing countries can be protected against cervical cancer.

Thanks to the GAVI Alliance, the poorest countries will now have access to a sustainable supply of HPV vaccines for as low as US$ 4.50 per dose. The same vaccines can cost more than $100 in developed countries and the previous lowest public sector price was $13 per dose. Read more...

High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Agenda Meets with Civil Society in Liberia

The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda met in Monrovia, Liberia last week to consult with civil society and discuss the national building blocks required for sustainable progress. Under the main theme of Economic Transformation, panel members focused on the issues of enablers and barriers to economic transformation; equitable and sustainable outcomes; the role of the private sector; partnerships; conflict and fragility; and African perspectives and positions. In total, over 100 participants attended, including 60 civil society representatives. Of these, 40 met with the High-Level Panel members on January 30th. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Rwandan Radio Drama Raises National Health Awareness

By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver

Urunana, a Rwandan radio soap, is raising national sexual and reproductive health awareness by broadcasting health information weekly to approximately 10 million people. The engaging plots regularly draw 74% of Rwanda’s population to tune into new episodes twice a week. The show addresses subjects that are often met with silence: HIV and AIDS, family planning, domestic violence, and rape. Where the national average life expectancy is 55 years old and the number of maternal deaths is ranked 145th out of 180, it is vital that Rwandans learn about topical health issues. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Social Media to Bridge Gaps Between Religion and Rights

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

A popular campaign that was conceived, developed, and implemented in Mexico is working to bridge divides between religion and rights using social media. In particular, the campaign works to inform the public debate on the role of the Catholic Church in Mexican society, in regards to Catholic teachings and human rights of women and youth, Church hierarchy and Catholic traditions. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Sexual and Reproductive Health Integration for a “Busy Generation”

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

In 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) acknowledged that governments should make information and services available to adolescents to increase awareness of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and risks of infertility. According to ICPD, this information should be youth-friendly, and involve multiple stakeholders from diverse sectors, at different levels of government. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Nike Foundation Funding for Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

The Nike Foundation continues its commitment to the Girl Effect and the health of girls and women by funding Tostan’s Community Empowerment Programs

Tostan is an international grassroots organization. The Community Empowerment Program is a community-based effort that makes use of the power of social networks to promote knowledge and skills sharing. The program was created with the intention of targeting the most vulnerable in the country: rural girls and women and embraces a holistic and participatory approach. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: A Nepali Radio Show for ‘Mutual Understanding’

By Rati Bishnoi, Women Deliver

Every week, the Samajhdari or “Mutual Understanding” radio show creates a space for Nepali women to “speak out for themselves” and share their often “unspoken, internal dilemmas with one another,” says Programme Director Jaya Luintel. Read more...

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