Facebook Twitter



Articles by Category for ‘Public Health’

The Next Phase of the Birth Control War: Religious Discrimination Lawsuits

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The Next Phase of the Birth Control War: Religious Discrimination Lawsuits 

See: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-next-phase-of-the-birth-control-war-religious-discrimination-cases.html

As more states push bills to strip family planning funding from Planned Parenthoods, or relocate funding so that Planned Parenthood affiliates are last in line, other clinics that provide care to low-income and uninsured residents will be forced to shoulder the burden of reproductive health care services, especially when it comes to offering birth control.

Yet, as a case in Florida shows us, those clinics are now being drawn into the war on contraception thanks to “pro-life” medical specialists who are seeking positions within those networks with absolutely no intention of providing the full range of services the clinics were set up to offer. And sadly, refusing to hire these people won’t work as then you’d be facing a discrimination lawsuit.

The Florida Lawsuit

Sara Hellwege applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers (TFHC), but was turned down. According to lawyers representing Hellwege, by refusing her an interview after noting that she was a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and learning that she would refuse to offer hormonal contraception, TFHC has discriminated against her on the basis of her religion.

See: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-next-phase-of-the-birth-control-war-religious-discrimination-cases.html

Keeping pace with population growth

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Keeping pace with population growth 

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61130-2/fulltext

By Vladimíra Kantorová, Ann Biddlecom, Holly Newby

July 11 marks World Population Day, calling attention to the crucial part that population growth plays in meeting the health needs of a global population projected to reach 7·3 billion people in 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end.1 The region of sub-Saharan Africa faces particular challenges, where the population is projected to nearly double from 510 million people in 1990 to 989 million in 2015, driven mainly by high fertility and large cohorts of women of reproductive age.
When compared to other regions, sub-Saharan Africa is often described as lagging behind in terms of MDG progress on reproductive health. Looking at the absolute numbers of people reached, however, reveals unrecognised efforts made by countries in the region. For example, the percentage of women who received at least four antenatal care visits during pregnancy from skilled health personnel increased minimally over the past two decades, from 48% in 1990 to 50% in 2012 (figure).2 However, the estimated number of births for which mothers had received four antenatal visits increased by 61%. Moderate progress in increasing coverage of skilled attendance at birth (from 40% in 1990 to 53% in 2012) also masks a substantial increase in the absolute number of births attended by a skilled health provider, doubling from an estimated 9 million births in 1990 to 18 million births in 2012.

Global Poverty Levels Halved But More Africans In Extreme Poverty Than In 1990: UN Report

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Global Poverty Levels Halved But More Africans In Extreme Poverty Than In 1990: UN Report 

See: http://www.ibtimes.com/global-poverty-levels-halved-more-africans-extreme-poverty-1990-un-report-1621680

While the world has managed to slash the number of poor people by half in the last 20 years, more people in sub-Saharan Africa now live in a state of extreme poverty and hunger than ever before, according to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals report publishedMonday.

According to the 2014 edition of the report, the global target for reducing poverty by half was achieved five years ahead of schedule and the number of poor people — those living on less than $1.25 a day — had halved to 18 percent in 2010 from 36 percent of the population in 1990. However, the number of those people living in extreme poverty in the sub-Saharan region increased to 414 million in 2010 from 290 million in 1990.

“We know that achievements have been uneven between goals, among and within regions and countries, and between population groups,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a foreword to the report. The Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, signed by all UN member states in 2000, aim to reduce, among other things, world poverty and hunger to half of 1990 levels by 2015.

While the number of undernourished and stunted children below the age of five fell to 25 percent of the world’s population in 2010 from 40 percent in 1990, in sub-Saharan Africa, this number rose to 58 million from 44 million. The report warned that, owing to an increase in the poverty level in the region, sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely to meet any of its MDG targets.

See: http://www.ibtimes.com/global-poverty-levels-halved-more-africans-extreme-poverty-1990-un-report-1621680

Post-2015 Agenda: Organized Chaos or Hot Mess?

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Post-2015 Agenda: Organized Chaos or Hot Mess? 

Sexual and Reproductive Health in Trouble as Goals Move Forward 

See: http://www.populationaction.org/blog/2014/07/03/post-2015-agenda-organized-chaos-or-hot-mess/

The latest version of the zero draft report from the Open Working Group developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hit the internet late Monday evening. This is the final draft that member states will have a chance to respond to before the final report is produced and shared with the Secretary General prior to the United Nations General Assembly in September. It is fairly similar to the last draft (discussed here) in that it still has the same 17 goals, with small semantic differences. Overall, there are fewer targets, but both the targets and the process are becoming increasingly convoluted.

This draft misses the integration, aspiration, transformation and sustainability that were meant to drive the post-2015 agenda.  We see important targets missing in this lengthy draft, but we have yet to really see the difficult trade-offs that a final set of implementable goals would require.

See: http://www.populationaction.org/blog/2014/07/03/post-2015-agenda-organized-chaos-or-hot-mess/

Just the Numbers: The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Just the Numbers: 

The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

See:  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2014/06/13/index.html

For more than 45 years, the United States-through its Agency for International Development (USAID)-has been a global leader in enhancing women’s access to contraceptive services in the world’s poorest countries. Empowering women with control over their own fertility yields benefits for them, their children and their families. It means fewer unintended-and often high-risk-pregnancies and fewer abortions, most of which in the developing world are performed under unsafe conditions. Better birth spacing also makes for healthier mothers, babies and families, and pays far-reaching dividends at the family, society and country levels.

The Benefits of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

A total of $610 million (of which $35 million is designated for the United Nations Population Fund) is appropriated for U.S. assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs for FY 2014.

See:  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2014/06/13/index.html

How Bangladesh’s female health workers boosted family planning

Monday, June 16th, 2014

How Bangladesh’s female health workers boosted family planning
Contraception delivered through female community health workers has helped to reduce birthrates and infant mortality

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/06/bangladesh-female-health-workers-family-planning

Wearing sandals and draped in a dark-blue sari, Aparajita Chakraborty glides into the cluster of hilltop homes with the self-assurance of someone who has long been making house calls.

She has. For more than 30 years, Chakraborty has been visiting this extended family, doing checkups and dispensing advice. But she is no doctor, she’s a community health worker who has been dispatched by the local hospital. Yet she has won the trust and gratitude of the surrounding villages by saving lives – mainly from cholera and other deadly diarrhoeal diseases.

With all the men away, either working in the rice fields or having migrated to the city, Chakraborty quickly gets down to business in the family compound of half a dozen homes. She and a colleague conduct a group interview, asking four women personal questions such as: when did they last menstruate? Are they taking the pill, or using another method of family planning?

One woman explains that she stopped taking the pill when her husband began working in Chittagong, a day’s journey away. She resumed her use of contraceptives immediately after his surprise visit. By then it was too late, and she is now expecting their third child.

Another woman says she is not using any form of contraception. The woman’s husband, it transpires, had a vasectomy after their fourth child. But he doesn’t want his brothers to know for fear they will think him impotent. So it’s a secret, albeit one that has been documented by hospital staff, along with every birth, death, marriage, divorce and other vital statistic of 225,000 people in the region.

Chakraborty knows more intimate details about the community than they know about one another. But discretion is paramount, she says: “I keep what I hear to myself. I feel like I’m part of the family.”

She is part of an all-female cadre of community health workers who span this portion of Bangladesh‘s low-lying delta, carefully maintaining one of the longest-running and most detailed health and population data sets in the developing world.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/06/bangladesh-female-health-workers-family-planning

Where Does Reproductive Health Stand in the Sustainable Development Goals?

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Where Does Reproductive Health Stand in the Sustainable Development Goals? 

See: http://www.populationaction.org/blog/2014/06/06/where-does-reproductive-health-stand-in-the-sustainable-development-goals/

Defining the world’s next development agenda is a huge job, and so it’s not surprise that the process has been going on for more than 18 months. But as we edge ever-closer to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals-and the U.N. General Assembly in September where official negotiations will begin-things are starting to come into focus.

This week, the Co-chairs of the Open Working Group (OWG) shared the zero draft for the 12th session which will take place June 16-20. With only 10 days of formal negotiations remaining, these last two sessions are crucial to defining proposed goals and targets for the Sustainable Development Goals.

So, what’s new in the latest draft of the Sustainable Development Goals?  Well, for starters, we’re actually talking about goals now, having made the important shift from focus areas.

A “leave no one behind” spirit clearly prevails throughout the first round of 17 goals-from “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” to “Attain healthy life for all at all ages.” While not necessarily catchy, these statements are hard to oppose.

See: http://www.populationaction.org/blog/2014/06/06/where-does-reproductive-health-stand-in-the-sustainable-development-goals/

Scientists vindicate ‘Limits to Growth’ – urge investment in ‘circular economy’

Monday, June 9th, 2014
Scientists vindicate ‘Limits to Growth’ – urge investment in ‘circular economy’
Early warning of civilisational collapse by early to mid 21st century startlingly prescient – but opportunity for transition open

See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/04/scientists-limits-to-growth-vindicated-investment-transition-circular-economy

According to a new peer-reviewed scientific report, industrial civilisation is likely to deplete its low-cost mineral resources within the next century, with debilitating impacts for the global economy and key infrastructures within the coming decade.

The study, the 33rd report to the Club of Rome, is authored by Prof Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence’s Earth Sciences Department, and includes contributions from a wide range of senior scientists across relevant disciplines.

The Club of Rome is a Swiss-based global think tank consisting of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders.

Its first report in 1972, The Limits to Growth, was conducted by a scientific team at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), and warned that limited availability of natural resources relative to rising costs would undermine continued economic growth by around the second decade of the 21st century.

Although widely ridiculed, recent scientific reviews confirm that the original report’s projections in its ‘base scenario’ remain robust. In 2008,Australia’s federal government scientific research agency CSIROconcluded that The Limits to Growth forecast of potential “global ecological and economic collapse coming up in the middle of the 21st Century” due to convergence of “peak oil, climate change, and food and water security”, is “on-track.” Actual current trends in these areas “resonate strongly with the overshoot and collapse displayed in the book’s ‘business-as-usual scenario.’”

See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/04/scientists-limits-to-growth-vindicated-investment-transition-circular-economy

OPINION: Want fewer abortions? Then fund contraception

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

OPINION: Want fewer abortions? Then fund contraception

See: http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2014/05/23/opinion-want-fewer-abortions-then-fund-contraception-a-508988.html#.U4xrKPldW8x

May 23–Want to know what a failure of public policy looks like?
In 2006, the State of Michigan spent $5 million to fund family planning and contraception. In 2013, it was $692,300, according to a report from the Detroit News this week. And while the state cut funding for women’s health by a devastating 99%, the abortion rate in Michigan’s poorest city soared to three times the state rate.
If you are opposed to abortion rights, asking lawmakers to restore this funding should be your top priority. Because there is no surer way to reduce the number of abortions performed in this city, state or country than to lower the number of unwanted, unplanned pregnancies.
And it’s time for anti-abortion-rights groups that oppose contraception, and funding for same, to admit that they’re part of the problem.
But here in these United States, we’re living in some kind of alternaverse in which groups that claim to be concerned with the sanctity of life urge governments to slash essential public health funding to our most vulnerable residents, blithely oblivious to the devastating impact on the lives they claim to cherish.

New Kenyan Population Policy a Model for Other Countries

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

New Kenyan Population Policy a Model for Other Countries

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2014/kenyan-population-policy.aspx

(March 2014) In 2012, the government of Kenya passed a landmark policy to manage its rapid population growth. The new population policy aims to reduce the number of children a woman has over her lifetime from 5 in 2009 to 3 by 2030.2 The policy also includes targets for child mortality, maternal mortality, life expectancy, and other reproductive health measures.

Participatory Process a Formula for Success

Between 1999 and 2009, Kenya’s population added 1 million people every year, growing to 41 million, and was expected to hit 77 million by 2030.1

Kenya’s long-term development plan, known as Vision 2030, recognizes that rapid population growth could severely derail progress in reaching its primary goal: To achieve a high quality of life for all Kenyans that is sustainable with available resources.3 The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), under the Ministry of Planning, National Development, and Vision 2030, initiated a series of consultations to achieve a population policy that would bolster this vision. Although Kenya has made great strides in increasing contraceptive coverage, from 27 percent in 1989 to 46 percent in 2009, concerns over worsening unemployment, food shortages, and a large youth population threaten Kenya’s economic future.4

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2014/kenyan-population-policy.aspx