South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

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 now...
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Continuous Medical Education at Migosi Sub-County Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya

Continuous Medical Education at Migosi Sub-County Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya

Migosi Sub-County Hospital is a government level 4 hospital situated in Migosi sub-location of Kisumu County. The hospital is staffed with a Medical Officer Superintendent, Nursing Officer, Lab Technologists, Clinical Officers, Pharmacy Technologist, Support Staff, HTS Service Providers, Peer Counselors, and a Nutritionist. The facility has a catchment population of over 20,000 and is expected to provide services to over 5,000 women of reproductive age per year. Some of the services offered include Antenatal, MCH services, Anti-Retroviral Therapy, Family Planning, Home-based Care, Basic Emergency Obstetric Care, and Inpatient care. The Hospital has strengthened its cervical cancer department and has been in the forefront of beating cervical cancer. The department embraces a “see and treat” slogan and uses the Visual Inspection with Acetic (VIA) method and treatment by means of cryotherapy. The Hospital has intensively engaged Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) who take advantage of any chance to urge women to come for cervical cancer screening. On 14/02/2019 Dr. Phil Gorrindo visited the facility to...
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Professor Spotlight: Dr. Nunn

Professor Spotlight: Dr. Nunn

Dr. Nunn is a professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health and is currently teaching the course “Human Health in Evolutionary Perspective” here at Duke. The following is the transcript of an in-person interview conducted with Dr. Nunn. What inspired you to teach “Human Health in Evolutionary Perspective” at Duke? In particular, what long-term perspectives do you hope students will gain from this course? “I came to Duke in 2013 from Harvard where I taught this course and it was called Evolutionary Medicine. I was really excited to teach it there because it was in the General Education Curriculum and a colleague of mine, Peter Ellison, and I developed a course that was aimed at people without any background in evolution or background in pre-med. It was meant to be a course that attracted any student and it was amazing. It allowed me to engage with the material in a more basic level and I came to realize the material is something...
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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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New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

The “grandmother hypothesis” represents the idea that a grandmother has beneficial effects on the reproductive success of her children and the survival of her grandchildren. Therefore, it is predicted that women who have the genes for living longer would then have grandchildren who also carry these genes. Recently, two more studies that further explore the notion of the grandmother effect were published in Current Biology. The first analyzes data of birth, death, and marriages in certain Catholic parishes from 1608 in an area that is present-day Quebec. The findings point to the fact that families who stayed geographically near their grandmas not only created larger family sizes and shifted child mortality rates, but positively promoted mothers to have children at younger ages. The second study was led by Dr. Chapman of the University of Turku in Finland and analyzed data from pre-industrial Finland. Dr. Chapman concluded that specifically, when a grandma is in her 50-70’s, she is most capable of...
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Update on Health Efforts in Nigeria

Update on Health Efforts in Nigeria

Reproductive health supplies are dwindling in Nigeria, with family-planning funds provided by the United States having been revoked two years ago in accordance with Trump’s gag-rule. This revocation of funds was catalyzed by the Trump administration’s accusations that the United Nations Population Fund was facilitating coercive abortions and sterilization- accusations which turned out to be entirely unfounded. Regardless, Nigeria, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality, subsequently lost more than half of its family planning funds within one year, bringing about devastating impacts upon contraceptive accessibility and efforts to address gender-based violence. FP2020 is a family planning initiative launched in 2012 with the goals of improving accessibility to family planning services and commodities, slowing the rate of population growth, and empowering the agency of women within decisions having to do with their bodies and health. However, without U.S. Funding, FP2020 has seen Nigerian health services deteriorate. And yet, despite the gag rule, studies have shown...
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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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How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

Author and founder of the M&K Health Institute in Hyogo, Japan, Dr. Misao Fukuda, led a study with results that stated, “temperature fluctuation may play a role in the recent decrease in the sex ratios of births.” Since the mid-20th century, climate change has been a direct result of human activity and has caused a warming trend of the planet. Extreme weather has a connection to human stress which is likely to impact the birth sex ratio. Climate change very well may affect the number of male newborns; more male newborns are predicted to be born in areas with rising high temperatures. Scientist Steven Orzack of the Fresh Pond Research Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts claims that sex ratio is equal at conception, but there are external factors throughout birth and childhood which cause the ratio to differ. Specifically, senior researcher in the Section of Ecology, Department of Biology at the University of Turku in Finland, Samuli Helle, discovered evidence that...
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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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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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