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Family Planning & Reproductive Health

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Thousands Gather In Senegal For Second International Conference On Family Planning

“Thousands gathered in Senegal [Tuesday] for the opening of the second International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the largest meeting of its kind, which will run until December 2, 2011,” the Foreign Policy Association blog reports (Clifford, 11/29). The meeting “will aim to push forward an agenda for broad family planning access and support around the world,” according to the Accra Mail (11/29). “The historic four-day conference features more than 140 plenaries, sessions and panels that will share latest research, proven strategies, and lessons learned in addressing the massive need for contraception worldwide,” the Foreign Policy Association blog writes, adding, “Participants will seek to galvanize greater political and financial support, hold governments accountable for their commitments, and champion contraceptive innovation and access” (11/29).

Strengthening Family Planning Services Through Investment, Integration

In this post on Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) “Global Health Impact” blog, MSH President and CEO Jonathan Quick discusses how investing in family planning services and integrating those services into other health care initiatives can save money over the long term and strengthen health systems. “Indeed, strengthening health systems is…

‘Fresh Efforts’ Needed To Understand, Deliver Family Planning In Order To Curb Birth Rates In Developing Countries

In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines the challenges of family planning in some poorer countries, where public health programs “risk adding to population pressures and inadvertently setting back development,” writing, “In a number of countries, notably in central and western Africa, health programs have contributed to cutting infant mortality rates, but birth rates have continued to remain stubbornly high. The unintended consequence is a fast-growing population that adds further pressure on poor families and fragile environments.”

Prioritizing The Family Planning Needs Of Young Women

The world reached a population milestone in October, but “[i]n the many discussions that have sprung up around the seven billion benchmark — all of them important and illuminating — I don’t hear enough about our world’s most vulnerable: our youth,” Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, writes in this Huffington Post opinion piece. “Nearly half of the world’s seven billion inhabitants is under the age of 25,” she notes, adding “when it comes to sexual and reproductive health, young women and girls around the world face tremendous challenges — which demand tremendous solutions.”

Study Examines Abortion Services For Women Living With HIV In Brazil, Namibia, S. Africa

In this paper published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, researchers from South Africa, Namibia, Brazil, and the U.S. “explore the existing evidence related to global and country-specific barriers to safe abortion for all women, with an emphasis on research gaps around the right of women living with HIV…

Problems In India’s Public Health Care System Lead To Growth Of Private Medicine

Toronto’s Star reports on how problems within India’s health care system — such as absent doctors and nurses, a lack of necessary equipment, corruption and one of the lowest health budgets in the world — has led to the mistrust of the public system and has paved the way for private medicine in the country. According to the newspaper, “In a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey in India, 79 percent said they opted for private doctors or traditional healers rather than government-run hospitals,” and that “they spent an average seven percent of their monthly income on health care.”

Reuters Examines Reproductive Health Issues In Russia

Reuters examines abortion, contraception and sex education in Russia, where, “[t]wo decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, wider availability of contraception and a resurgence of religion have reduced the numbers of abortions overall, but termination remains the top method of birth control in Russia.”

Education For Women, Girls A More Effective Strategy Than Family Planning To Solve Global Problems

In a post in the National Review’s “The Corner,” Christopher White, international director of operations for the World Youth Alliance, responds to a New York Times opinion piece published Wednesday in which columnist Nicholas Kristof hailed family planning as a solution to “many of the global problems that confront us.” White writes, “Somewhere along [Kristof's] many trips around the globe … he’s failed to realize the ineffectiveness of contraception and see the real needs of poor populations — particularly mothers and girls.”

Media Coverage Of Potential Link Between Hormonal Contraception, HIV Risk Needed More ‘Critical Thinking’

In a Nature News opinion piece, James Shelton, science adviser for USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, discusses media coverage of recent findings from the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases showing that women’s use of hormonal contraception (HC) may increase the risk of HIV acquisition or transmission. “Whether HC influences HIV risk is a serious concern, and has been the subject of numerous studies. But these studies have been observational and not randomized, and thus potentially biased by who chooses to use HC,” Shelton writes. He uses “causality criteria laid down by British epidemiologist Austin Bradford Hill” to analyze the results, adding, “I find the evidence far from persuasive.”