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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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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Immigrant Women Facing Maternal Health Struggles

Immigrant Women Facing Maternal Health Struggles

In a recent CNN piece, obstetrician Dr. Cristina Gamboa reveals her insights on trends in regards to her pregnant immigrant patients at the community health center Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville, California. She has noted that patients who are Mexican Immigrants seem to be suffering from increases in stress during their pregnancy. These increases have led to high blood pressure which can be further characterized as the condition preeclampsia. Stress can be a result of a multitude of factors, but Dr. Gamboa analyzes that America’s current political climate could be a root cause. It is considered a crime for someone to enter and stay in the United States without permission. Approximately 25% of unauthorized immigrants reside in California and 26.9% of the population in Watsonville are non-US citizens. Although there are no scientific studies connecting a woman’s immigration status and maternal health, Dr. Gamboa believes research is needed. There is, however, evidence pointing to a lack of general health...
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MY NEWFOUND AWARENESS ON SEXUAL HEALTH RIGHTS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

MY NEWFOUND AWARENESS ON SEXUAL HEALTH RIGHTS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

As a student physical therapist, my future career is primarily to serve individuals with short-term or long-term physical disability. Working with individuals of various forms of physical disability such as those with cerebral palsy, to stroke survivors, to amputees, I have become more aware and appreciative of buildings and spaces that are physically accessible with ramps, elevators, and ADA bathrooms. However, despite my acute awareness of physical accessibility for individuals with disability, accessibility to sexual and reproductive health for this population was not something that crossed my mind until I stumbled on the anecdote by Stella Chiwaka. Chiwaka, born with albinism, was denied contraceptives at a local health center in Malawi and was told by a health provider that “People like you should not have sex”. As a future health provider, I found this discriminatory act appalling. People with disabilities, just as those without disabilities, have the right to make their own choices--including choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health. To...
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When Social Constructs Incorrectly Assume Scientific Validity: The Myth of Virginity and Incidence of “Virginity Testing”

When Social Constructs Incorrectly Assume Scientific Validity: The Myth of Virginity and Incidence of “Virginity Testing”

This past Wednesday, the United Nations called for the end of a practice known as “virginity testing,” declaring such tests a violation of human rights. While these tests possess zero scientific merit or clinical foundation, they are still performed in nearly 20 countries, including but not limited to India, Brazil, Afghanistan, South Africa, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Northern Ireland, and Jordan. Virginity testing entails a physical examination of the hymen, usually by an insertion of fingers, to determine whether a woman has had sex. However, such measures are incapable of determining whether a woman has had intercourse or not, and reinforce the anatomically incorrect term “intact hymen.” Furthermore, as delineated in the UN’s statement, this test, "further reinforces socio-cultural norms that perpetuate women’s inequality, including stereotyped views of female morality and sexuality, and serves to exercise control over women and girls." In short, "virginity testing" robs women of the right to protection from discrimination, and of the right to...
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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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Sharp Rise in C-Section Births Around the Globe

Sharp Rise in C-Section Births Around the Globe

A study recently published in The Lancet journal reveals that from 2000 to 2015 there has been approximately a double in the number of cesarean section (C-section) births in the world. C-section births occur when a surgery is performed to open a woman’s lower abdomen and remove the baby. These procedures can either be planned in advance or they can happen suddenly if problems occur during birthing. There are risks to C-section births for the woman, such as infection and postpartum heavy bleeding, and the baby, such as trouble breathing and injury. Additionally, C-sections create a more complicated labor recovery for the mother and pose a threat to future labor complications. The figures from the study state that in 2000 C-sections accounted for 12.1% of all births and in 2015 they accounted for 21.1% of all births. There is evidence published by the World Health Organization stating that there is "no justification for any region to have a caesarean section...
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The Alarming Incidence of Unsafe Abortion Worldwide

The Alarming Incidence of Unsafe Abortion Worldwide

Approximately 56 million abortions are performed globally each year, with half of these procedures falling upon some continuum of danger that they pose. 97% of these unsafe abortions are performed in low-income countries within Africa, Asia, and Latin America, illustrating the enormous reproductive health disparity borne by geographic location. Abortions are classified by the World Health Organization as “safe”, “less safe”, and “least safe.” Many abortions conducted in developing countries are qualified as “least safe,” characterized by the insertion of foreign objects such as sticks and broken glass bottles, or the ingestion of harmful cleaning products. Ultimately, 6.9 million women each year are treated for complications attributed to unsafe abortions, and 23,000 women die from such complications. Yet, safe abortion procedures such as manual evacuation and abortion-inducing drugs are not financially out of reach even for low-resource countries. Thus, the solution to this horrific lapse in reproductive health lies in political discourse. While some countries, such as Ethiopia and Nepal,...
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