Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

     The West African nation of Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries and has extremely high rates of maternal and child mortality. The WHO has approximated that costs of healthcare are a force pushing 100 million people across the globe into extreme poverty every year. So, in the area of Yirimadio during 2008, the community implemented a free door-to-door health-care plan sponsored by the government in order to ensure wellness and combat health ailments. After 7 years of the trial, the University of California collected data from the region and discovered that child mortality in the region dropped by 95%—marking the program as extremely successful. After this news, the President of Malawi announced the goal for the entire country by 2020 to have localized, free health care for pregnant women and children under the age of 5 to fight maternal and child mortality. This program will focus on training community health care workers, providing door-to-door services, and...
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The Irony of the Mexico City Policy

In his first days as President of the United States, Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy. Also known as the Global Gag Rule, the policy “gags” international NGOs receiving U.S. aid by not allowing them to “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” First enacted by President Ronald Reagan, U.S. funding for critical reproductive healthcare abroad has been a partisan issue ever since with every Republican President instating the policy and every Democratic repealing it. President Trump’s reinstatement of the policy greatly expanded its parameters and includes a wide range of global health programs such as HIV funding through PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). The expansion of the policy diminished the provision of services by international NGOS who weren’t previously affected by the policy and who feared losing critical funding from the U.S. Last week, a study published in the Lancet found that when the Mexico City Policy is instated, rates of abortion...
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Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

There is an unmet need affecting 47% of women in Africa who want modern contraception in order to prevent pregnancy. During the last few years, there has been an increase in the use of injectable contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera, across the continent specifically in Mali, Sierra Leone, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Many African women rely on these types of shots because they are more easily concealable compared to other forms of contraception such as a daily birth control pill. Also, in some health clinics, these shots are the only method of contraception offered. Many women need secret protection due to men refusing condoms and the women wanting to avoid any social, physical, and mental consequences they may endure if they are found trying to keep away from pregnancy. A specialist in HIV at Britain’s Medical Research Council, Dr. Sheena McCormack, stated that African women’s, “husbands or partners, and their families, often want them to have children.” Along with the...
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New State Abortion Bans

  Photo Credits: John Benson After the recent passage of restrictive abortion legislation in Georgia and Alabama, abortion continues to be under attack across the country. The abortion bans signal continued attempts by states to undermine a woman’s right to access an abortion. Last week, Louisiana Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed into law a restrictive “heartbeat” bill. The law, like other recent abortion legislation, would prohibit an abortion after an ultrasound detects electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’ heart—which can occur before most women know they are pregnant. Moreover, the Louisiana law does not include exceptions for rape or incest. Although the law will not go into effect immediately, it is likely to be stalled in the courts. In Missouri, only one abortion clinic remains open. If it closes, it would be the first time a state does not have an abortion clinic since 1974—when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. A judge is expected to a settle...
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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada and United States

In 2014, Tina Fontaine, a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Canada was murdered. Her death garnered national attention as it highlighted the alarmingly high rate of violence against indigenous women in Canada. Such violence prompted the creation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. After nearly three years of investigation, a report was published earlier this week that calls the treatment of indigenous women “a genocide.” The report included policy recommendations that seek to mitigate the violence and address its causes. As in Canada, native women in the United States disproportionately experience violence. A report conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that some counties in the U.S. have murder rates against indigenous women that are more than ten times the national average. Moreover, limited data and reporting on crimes against indigenous women and girls in the United States make it more difficult to understand the extent of the violence. According to a...
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Alabama and Georgia Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws

  On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country. The bill not only bans abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, it also criminalizes the procedure for doctors who perform abortions. Although women who receive an abortion will not be prosecuted, the new law targets doctors who could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. The bill includes protections when a mother’s life is endangered, but it does not include exceptions for rape or incest. While the courts have continued to reaffirm a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion since the decision in Roe v. Wade, the Alabama law is most recent attempt to challenge the 1973 precedent. Since the beginning of 2019, nearly 300 restrictive abortion laws have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. Earlier this month, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law a fetal heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion after a doctor can detect...
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South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

South Korea has fostered an anti-abortion law for 66 years which names abortion a crime with repercussions of heavy fines and women facing up to a year in jail and doctors facing up to two years. Last Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled this law unconstitutional and concluded that Parliament must revise the law by 2020 or else it will become invalid. There are a few exceptions to the law which allow for abortions under the situations of pregnancy from rape or incest, pregnancy which poses great risk to the mother’s health, or pregnancy that will result in a child with a serious deformity. However, a study does prove that since the law has been enacted, there have been huge amounts of illegal abortions—49,7000 abortions took place in 2017 and an estimated 94% of those were performed illegally. There also seems to be a general shift in trends of what South Koreans think of abortion because a poll shows that...
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Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

     Last week, the drug 11-beta-MNTCD, a male contraceptive pill, was introduced at the Endocrine Society annual meeting. There has been a lot of efforts in both the scientific and medical communities to develop male birth control in recent years. Dr. Christina Wang, associate director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, noted how this new pill works to mimic testosterone’s effects, but does not allow for sperm production in the testicles. Dr. Wang then also predicted that this pill will not actually be able to be sold in the market for another decade due to the need of much more research and specific trials testing the pills effectiveness. In addition to the production of pills, the idea of a contraception through a body gel that men apply to their back and shoulders where it is absorbed by their skin is also being researched and made for trials. The production of the...
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Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

    “Every cigarette counts,” stated Tatiana Anderson, a neuroscientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a head author of a new study published relating SUID, sudden unexpected infant death, to smoking during pregnancy. The research analyzed more than 20 million births which included 19,000 SUID cases and concluded that one cigarette a day smoked by a pregnant woman can double the risk of SUID for her baby. In the United States, there are approximately 338,000 women each year who self-report they smoke during their pregnancy. The study also found that “if no woman smoked in pregnancy, SUID rates in the United States could be reduced substantially.” Ongoing studies analyzing exactly how SUID and smoking are related are being conducted and one possible theory is that smoking increases serotonin levels in infants during sleep which may affect the ability of the brain stem to regulate the respiratory system and therefore leads to SUID. There is also evidence that cigarette usage...
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The Inaccessibility of Sexual Health Care for Disabled Women in Canada

The Inaccessibility of Sexual Health Care for Disabled Women in Canada

In Canada, standard health protocol recommends that women receive a Pap test every few years in order to detect cervical cancer as early as possible. However, health practitioners at ACCESS, a clinic in Vancouver which provides sexual health services exclusively for disabled women, have identified a significant deficit in the accessibility of such services for the demographic they serve. This inaccessibility is derived in part from a widespread lack of appropriate equipment. Many offices do not possess an accessible exam bed with a lift, preventing gynecological screening for disabled women. Additionally, many doctors, in providing care to these women, draw upon the misguided assumption that individuals with disabilities are not sexually active and thus neglect to ask their patients for a comprehensive history of their sexual health. Because this discourse does not occur, or is  not prioritized due to more immediate health issues directly relating to the disability, cervical cancer is rarely screened for amongst disabled women, and thus persists largely...
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