Plan International Meeting

Plan International Meeting

I met with Plan International on January 17th. Plan International is an independent children’s rights organization committed to supporting vulnerable and marginalized children and their communities. The organization directly works with the community, schools, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and County Government. PLAN International works in 18 counties across Kenya: Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Siaya, Bungoma, Busia, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Vihiga, Kakamega, Kisii, Migori, Homabay, Kisumu and Marsabit. PLAN’S key areas of focus are; Child protection Improving access to basic, quality education and early childhood development Quality healthcare including water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as adolescent and child health Youth employment and economic opportunities Resilience-building through disaster risk management To achieve part of this core activities, PLAN implements an Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (ASRHR) Project in Kisumu County, in the 2 sub-counties Kisumu West and Seme. The project targets children, parents and the community at large to enhance the wellbeing of the youth. The project implements: Training...
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Looking At Gender Based Violence in Kenya

Looking At Gender Based Violence in Kenya

The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Household Survey (KDHS) indicates that Gender Based Violence (GBV) occurs in all parts of the country. Specifically, 47% of women and 40% of men between ages 15 and 49 reported that they have experienced either physical or sexual violence, while 45% of women and 44% of men between ages 14 and 49 have experienced physical violence (KDHS 2014). Reports further indicate an alarming increasing number of cases, demonstrating that GBV remains one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the country. The areas Nyanza and Western have the highest rates of GBV cases in Kenya. More than 500 survivors within and beyond are set to benefit from an established Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre in Kisumu (Africa Women and Child Magazine). The Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre based at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) was constructed with support from KEMRI/CDC, which funded the construction of the building. It is a fully-fledged Recovery...
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Judges Block Trump Birth Control Policy

Judges Block Trump Birth Control Policy

This Monday, Philadelphia District Judge Wendy Beetlestone decided to block a Trump administration rule that would allow employers to decline contraceptive healthcare coverage on religious grounds. While the Women's Health Amendment of the Affordable Care Act originally required employer-provided healthcare plans to include free or affordable birth control, the current administration amended the ACA to expand religious-based exemptions. The Trump administration's rules would have impacted tens of hundreds of childbearing-age women, increasing pressure on state-funded healthcare services. This nationwide injunction followed a similar decision earlier in the day, in which a California judge blocked the new rules for 13 states and the District of Columbia. After this decision, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that “the law couldn’t be clearer – employers have no business interfering in women’s healthcare decisions. Today’s court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care. It’s 2019, yet the Trump Administration is still trying to roll...
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Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

     The country of Pakistan has one of the highest rates of abortions in the world; it is noted there are 50 abortions for every one thousand women. However, this procedure is “legal only in very limited circumstances” according to the Guttmacher Institute. Pakistan states an abortion can occur if there is a “need” for it such as if a woman’s health is in danger. But, otherwise, the term “need” is very vaguely defined—culturally, abortions are not accepted or promoted in Pakistan. As a deeply conservative and Muslim country, most hospitals and doctors refuse to perform abortions for religious and moral reasons and beliefs. As a result, a huge underground abortion industry thrives. This contributes to the statistic that ⅓ of all women who undergo abortions in Pakistan suffer complications largely because those who are performing the operations are likely not properly qualified. The high amount of abortions comes from the fact that there is a large unmet need...
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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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C-Sections: A Global Dichotomy of Overuse and Inaccessibility

C-Sections: A Global Dichotomy of Overuse and Inaccessibility

A new health care study by Lancet has illuminated a frightening trend in the global prevalence of caesarean sections. In wealthy countries, C-sections are often performed in the absence of underlying medical causes, while in developing countries, C-sections are inaccessible even when medically necessary. As of 2015, the C-sections were used for approximately 30% of births in North America, 44% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and only 5% in East Africa, standing in stark opposition to the World Health Organization’s recommendation rate of 10-15%. C-sections invite major risk, including maternal and postpartum infections, in addition to newborn death or extended hospitalization.  However, many women report that they are not informed by doctors of the implications and possible risk involved with this procedure and report being immensely pressured to receive C-sections. In short, the decision is driven not by mothers, but by doctors who allow financial motivations, fear of litigation, and even racial bias to inform their decisions. One potential...
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TEEN PREGNANCY IN KENYA

TEEN PREGNANCY IN KENYA

A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report in Kenya shows 378,397 adolescent and teenage pregnancies for girls ages 10-19 between July 2016 and June this year. More specifically, there were 28,932 girls ages 10-14 and 349,465 girls ages 15-19 who became pregnant. The counties with the highest number of teenage pregnancies begin with Narok, where 40 per cent of its teenagers became pregnant. The list goes on to include the counties Homa Bay at 33 per cent, West Pokot at 29 per cent, Tana River at 28 per cent, Nyamira at 28 per cent, Samburu at 26 per cent, and Migori and Kwale both at 24 per cent. Teenage pregnancies have been linked to poverty. Many people believe girls in poverty engage in “transitional” sex to meet basic needs. Others blame “absentee parents” or a lack of parental guidance and exposure to information on the Internet - both which can lead to curiosity and therefore teenage pregnancy. Yet, others even say these...
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Family Planning Use in East Africa

Family Planning Use in East Africa

Family planning (FP) is critical in the promotion of community health. It is an intervention that is proven to save lives and foster development. Research supports the notion that family planning is directly linked to improvement in maternal and child health in addition to socio-economic progress. Understanding the unmet need for family planning services is key to improving worldwide reproductive health. During the last three decades in East Africa, research shows that Kenya and Rwanda are clear leaders in regards to access to and use of contraception. These two countries have a history of implementing targeted and focused programs to improve access to FP services. FP differs in each country in ways such as the amount of methods offered and the extent to which each method is available. Across the sub-region there is an increase in the use of modern contraceptives. But, a steady proportion of women in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania are still using traditional methods. While short-term contraception is frequent in the sub-region, there is...
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California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have required all health centers at University of California and California State University schools to offer prescription abortion pills. Introduced in February 2017, Senate Bill 320 would have made California the first state to require access to medication abortion at public universities. Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, and currently accounts for one-third of abortions in the United States. A combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, allows the patient to undergo the procedure in their own home. In spite of years of research deeming the procedure safe, thirty-four states heavily regulate medication abortion by requiring licensed physicians, rather than midwives or nurse practitioners, to administer the drugs. In spite of living in a state with otherwise progressive abortion legislation, women at public universities in California often have restricted access to abortion options. More than 500 women at California's public universities seek the abortion pill at off-site healthcare providers every...
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