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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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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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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Kenyan Women Victorious in “I AM 2.0” Competition

Kenyan Women Victorious in “I AM 2.0” Competition

Global Fund for Women is an organization which supports the efforts of women’s groups who work to improve the quality of safety and happiness for women and girls around the world. Recently, the Global Fund for Women, partnered with the United Nations Population Fund, Graca Machel Trust, and Nairobi Incubation Lab, facilitated a competition titled “I AM 2.0” to reward women’s groups who develop the most scalable, unique, sustainable, and impactful solutions for reproductive health challenges. Three organizations- Inteco Kenya ARI, Silmak Agencies and Mums Village- all run by Kenyan women, have been declared the winners, with each receiving $10,000. Inteco Kenya ARI provides menstrual hygiene product distribution services through a network of accessible ARI vending machines. Silmak Agencies produces adult diapers, menstrual hygiene products, product dispensers, and product disposals, which it then provides for Kenyan schools at a subsidized cost. Mum’s village has cultivated a peer-interactive network which supports women experiencing gender-based violence. These three organizations will appear before...
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World Health Organization Releases New App

World Health Organization Releases New App

The World Health Organization has recently launched its new app entitled “Medical Eligibility Criteria For Contraceptive Use.” The purpose of the app is to allow anyone with a smartphone to be able to access recommendations for the best and proper contraceptive methods according to one's medical conditions. The WHO released the fifth edition of the medical eligibility criteria (MEC) in 2015 as a 276 page document as “part of the process for improving the quality of care in family planning” for “guidance on the safety of various contraceptive methods for use in the context of specific health conditions and characteristics.” The app condenses this information into an easily accessible and user-friendly interface. MED takes into account a woman’s medical condition and history in order to note which contraceptive methods would adversely affect the woman and to note if the condition could interfere by making the contraceptive method less effective. It truly emphasizes safety as a priority to promote female reproductive...
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