Partner Updates: Tanzania

Partner Updates: Tanzania

Dr. Sia Msuya Dr. Msuya is the Director of Public Health, KCMU College, Moshi, Tanzania. On June 30th, 2018, she gave a keynote speech during the launching of the book titled “Climbing to the peak of learning success” by Jeremia J. Pyuza at KCMC Conference Hall. In her remarks, Dr. Msuya encouraged young people on the importance of mentorship—how mentors can help guide small thoughts into more innovative ideas to share. She encouraged young people to be proud of their ideas and to share them with others to combine various strengths for improved collaboration. In order to become an excellent author, Dr. Msuya states that an individual has to have passion—passion to share, passion to search for knowledge no matter how small it may be. The journey may be hard and long, and most times, we have hindrances before the journey even begins. However, in these instances, we should instead take responsibility and accountability for every opportunity we have and use it...
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Director’s Blog: Winter 2018

Each year, when December comes around, people tend to reflect on the past year, sometimes through thoughtful reflections on progress, challenges or accomplishments, at times through lists of the best or worst and often culminating in resolutions for next year. Sometimes it takes the form of satire, such as the Center’s entry in the DGHI door decorating contest, which asks for some good news for reproductive health for Christmas, providing some tongue-in-cheek examples of what that would be. Indeed, 2018 was a roller coaster for global reproductive health news—key achievements, such as the repeal of the anti-abortion amendment in Ireland, often seemed to be immediately overshadowed by setbacks, such as the failure of a similar bill to pass in Argentina. Konyin Adewumi, DGHI MSc ’17, has reflected on the ups and downs of reproductive health this past year. While acknowledging that this year was difficult for many women, she concluded with overall optimism about the progress on women’s health and...
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Looking back on 2018’s reproductive health news

Earlier this month, I looked up from my computer screen and realized that it was December 1st. It felt like 2018 had flown by, almost as fast as it came. As excited as I am to move towards the 2020 elections with the potential for positive change, I think it’s important to take some time to look back at this year’s events that I perceived to be the good, the bad, and the ugly in the larger conversation of reproductive justice.   When I think of 2018, I think of multiple, and often emotionally exhausting conversations about sexual and gender-based violence. From the heartbreaking discovery in Northern India that sparked protests throughout the country to the United Nations’ report that 50,000 women a year are killed by intimate partners, news headlines this year have been pretty grim. We all watched in horror as the of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing unfolded, bringing with it, memories of Anita Hill’s similarly traumatic experience decades...
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Learning about Global Mental Health, and Teamwork, in Haiti

Blogpost by Alex Lichtl, T'19 During the summer of 2017 I traveled to Léogane, Haiti where I, and a team of student researchers, spent two months collecting data on women’s stressors in the community through a Duke SRT program. As a team, we had very little global health research experience, but after one week of orientation we were left on our own to recruit community leaders for interviews and organize focus groups for a project entitled "Mental and Reproductive Health Interventions for Haitian Women: Adapting strategies from community input on coping with stress." At first we were extremely lost, but with the help of our translator team and a lot of perseverance, we managed to reach our data collection goal. We were also fortunate because the women and men we worked with in the community were incredibly welcoming and open to sharing their life experiences regarding reproductive health. Overall, we asked women and men in the community about women’s stressors and coping...
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Progress Period: An Introduction to Menstrual Activism

Progress Period: An Introduction to Menstrual Activism

October 28, 2018 was not merely a day of yellow sunlight and cool fall air, but rather, the origin of a radical transformation of my being facilitated by Progress Period, a menstrual activism club at Duke University. The screen of my phone reported “12:27pm,” lighting anew a sense of urgency beneath my already frantic feet. The event was set to begin at 12:30pm and with the panicked realization that I was indeed going to be late, I barreled down the stairs towards Schiciano Auditorium. At 12:29pm, just as I allowed myself a breath of assured relief that I would make the event on time, I was stopped dead in my tracks. “Outside the (tampon) box: menstruating isn’t just for women,” declared a flyer taped to the glass door. Confusion clouded my awareness and my mind raced with questions, relegating my aspirational punctuality to a non-possibility. Among this maelstrom of questions, the loudest bubbled to the surface: Is menstruation not a qualifier of womanhood?...
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HIV Patients Sue Government Over Lack of Septrin

HIV Patients Sue Government Over Lack of Septrin

Co-trimoxazole preventive therapy is a feasible intervention for people living with HIV. It works to reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality through an off-patent drug, which is widely available in resource-limited settings. The World Health Organization (WHO) conditionally recommends the use of co-trimoxazole as treatment for opportunistic infections in people living with HIV/AIDS. In Uganda, previous reports by the State Minister for Health stated that there was a funding shortage for the drug. The Global Fund, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland has since stepped in to provide all funds for the drugs available from July 2018 onwards. This is good news, as daily intake of co-trimoxazole relieves symptoms and prolongs life for people living with HIV/AIDS. However, a human rights organization and two people living with HIV have sued the Ugandan Government and the National Medical Stores (NMS) for alleged failure to supply public health centers with septrin as one of the essential drugs for treatment of AIDS for the months of March...
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The KCHSSIP 2018-2022 Validation Meeting

The KCHSSIP 2018-2022 Validation Meeting

The KCHSSIP (Kisumu County Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan) 2018-2022 validation meeting held at the Acacia Hotel on 9th Nov 2018 saw the Kisumu County Health Department and a consortium of partners come together to finalize a plan, which is based on data from county health services over the last 5 years, as well as experiences and lessons learned during implementation of the first strategic plan from 2013 to 2017. The plan attempts to effectively position the County Health Department in the correct contexts of the health system pillars: human resources for health, health technology and infrastructure, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, health governance and leadership, health service delivery, health financing, health information system, health sector policies and context and health sector social outcomes. It also examines county health burdens such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, skin diseases, pneumonia, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases and non-communicable diseases. The document has gone through a process of stakeholder’s participation and input and is now...
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Community Impacts of Maternal Child Health Care in Kigali, Rwanda

Community Impacts of Maternal Child Health Care in Kigali, Rwanda

Guest Blog by Suzanna Larkin, T21 The Iranzi Clinic is a pioneering medical clinic in Kigali, Rwanda that focuses entirely on maternal and child health services. As an intern through DukeEngage-Rwanda this past summer, I worked directly alongside the midwives, doctors, and administrative staff that have made Iranzi Clinic their home. Only opened one year ago, the clinic is situated on the edge of the impoverished Nyabisindu neighborhood. Many of the women who visit the clinic are unable to pay for their services, and thus the clinic relies primarily on support from the Christian Life Assembly Church and donors. The commitment that the midwives and staff hold for their patients and clinic is clear. Every Monday, the clinic has a devotions session followed by a tea time, and the scene is joyous­–any observer can notice the deep and genuine friendships that grew between the staff members as they built the clinic from the ground up. Their anecdotes about the clinic’s history, from...
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Small Fish, Big Conference: Lessons from an early career researcher on navigating your first international conference

Small Fish, Big Conference: Lessons from an early career researcher on navigating your first international conference

Guest Blog by Konyin Adewumi, MSc-GH '17 Last month, I was given the opportunity to present my research work at the International Papillomarvirus Conference in Sydney, Australia. I submitted an abstract entitled, “Female perspectives on male involvement in a human papillomavirus-based cervical cancer screening program in western Kenya”; a qualitative analysis that was part of an ongoing study at Duke’s Center for Global Reproductive Health. After taking the time to reflect on my experiences navigating such a great opportunity, I found that I had learned a few lessons that may be beneficial to others who are in my shoes – anyone that is early in their research career, unsure where the path is headed, but eager to make the most of the opportunities presented to you.     So here are my five lessons: One. Similar to your fieldwork, what can go wrong will go wrong. Plan accordingly—and when all else fails, learn to pivot. From arriving to the airport to find out that I...
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A Frightening Global Truth: Domestic Violence Within Social Normativity

A Frightening Global Truth: Domestic Violence Within Social Normativity

In reviewing data from Demographic and Health Surveys administered in low and middle-income countries between 2005 and 2017, researchers at the University of Bristol have come to an unsettling conclusion; domestic violence against women often exists within the bounds of social normativity. These surveys evaluated the social acceptability of domestic violence when provoked by certain situations, such as when a woman goes out without telling her partner, argues with her partner, neglects her children, is suspected of being unfaithful, refuses to have sex or burns a meal. It was found that approximately 36% of survey participants considered domestic violence justifiable in at least one of these instances. Furthermore, in 36 out of the 49 countries studied, women were more likely to justify this abusive behavior than men, speaking volumes to the deep entrenchment of female subordination, even amongst women. The data regarding the social acceptance of domestic violence is highly variable, ranging anywhere from 3% of the population accepting this...
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