GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog summarizes a recent forum on reproductive health issues during which panel members of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health of Aspen Global Health and Development discussed how “reproductive health was intimately connected to the world’s population boom, climate change, water and sanitation crises, economic downturns, educational rates, and development overall.” The article continues, “And yet, reproductive health and family planning is generally not a focus on the world stage. In fact, the topic is often avoided.”
Family Planning & Reproductive Health
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday is expected “to announce a significant expansion of the organization’s ambitious global program to tackle infant and maternal mortality and boost access to reproductive health over coming years,” the Financial Times reports. The announcement “will highlight the doubling of commitments from governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations on funding and policy initiatives for the ‘Every Woman Every Child’ program,” the newspaper writes (Raval et al., 9/19). The announcement comes “[a]s the U.N. General Assembly opens a new session” and is “being called on [by the international community] to provide more family planning services to hundreds of millions of women,” according to VOA News (DeCapua, 9/19).
The World Bank’s annual World Development Report, which was released on Sunday and this year “focuses on gender equality around the world, offers some stark facts about how women and girls fare in developing countries despite decades of progress,” the Wall Street Journal reports (Reddy, 9/18). “The most glaring disparity is the rate at which girls and women die relative to men in developing countries, according to” the report, Reuters/AlertNet reports (Curtis, 9/19).
In an opinion piece in Population Service International’s “Impact” magazine, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) writes, “Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has empowered extremists with zeal for both broad, haphazard budget cuts and a commitment to rolling back women’s health rights,” adding, “Further reducing or eliminating funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs would mean more unintended pregnancies, more maternal deaths and more children who lose their mothers during childbirth,” as well as “more abortions as fewer women have the ability to control when they become pregnant and how many children they have.” She concludes, “With the global population expected to surpass seven billion, we can only expect that the unmet need for family planning services, which currently exists for an estimated 215 million women globally, will only increase. And unfortunately, so will the health disparities and instability that can result from allowing those needs to go unmet if Congress and the administration do not make this program a priority” (9/15).
Women Urged To Use Clinics For Birthing, Family Planning Counseling In Refugee Camps Along Somalia-Kenya Border
IRIN examines how community health workers and international aid organizations, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Rescue Committee, are working to provide safe and adequate health facilities in refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border where women can give birth.
“The United States and British governments have launched a four-year, Shs213.5 billion [US$75 million] project to increase the use of contraceptive services among Ugandans,” Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports. “Through the project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) will provide family planning services in all parts of Uganda,” with Britain contributing 35 million Pound Sterling (US$55 million) and the U.S. contributing US$20 million, the newspaper reports.
Contraceptive intrauterine devices (IUDs), also called coils, “might actually protect women against developing cervical cancer even though they don’t stop the infection that commonly leads to the disease,” according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Oncology, Reuters reports. “The results show that coil use did not affect the risk of [human papillomavirus (HPV)] infection, but was linked to a markedly lower risk of cervix cancer for both major types of the disease — reducing the likelihood of developing squamous-cell carcinoma by 44 percent and adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma by 54 percent,” the news agency writes.
Speaking at a workshop on maternal morbidity and mortality in Korofidua, Ghana on Thursday, which was organized for journalists in the region, acting Eastern Regional Director of Health Services Larbi Addo challenged the media to help change negative perceptions about pregnancy and child-bearing in an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country, GhanaWeb reports. “He said the campaign to reduce maternal mortality was a shared responsibility and asked the media to support the health sector in educating the public on the subject,” the news service reports.
Usha Kiran Tarigopula, deputy director in global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes about the Foundationâ€™s partnership with the state of Bihar, India through the Ananya Alliance “aimed at reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality by 40 percent by 2015,” in this “Inpatient Optimists” blog post, which is part of a series called “Global Conversations on Newborn Health in India.” She writes, “The emphasis is on family planning, pre- and post-delivery care for mothers and their newly born infants, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, care and nutrition for children up to two years old, and routine immunization. Coverage for treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia, as well as some neglected diseases and sanitation, is also a part of the plan” (9/7).
Former President Of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, On The Importance Of Family Planning As Global Population Approaches 7 Billion
The GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on an event held on Wednesday at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., entitled “7 Billion: Conversations that Matter,” at which Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and now the under secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, spoke about the importance of family planning as the global population approaches the seven billion mark.