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Two Global Health Corps Fellows Head to Burundi to Change Lives through Radio

July 23rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

SHELBURNE, VT–“I can’t believe we’ll be in Bujumbura on Friday,” says Alex Bozzette, a 2014-2015 Global Health Corps fellow being placed with Population Media Center. It was a Tuesday, and Bozzette was sitting with his co-fellow, Jean Sacha Barikumutima, in the modest offices of Population Media Center (PMC) in Shelburne, Vermont. On Thursday, July 17, the two would make the 27-hour trip to Bujumbura, Burundi for their year-long placement in PMC’s Burundi office.

“For me, this is the perfect opportunity at the perfect time,” says Bozzette. “It combines my experience in international public health project management with my interests in design and communications. Family planning is a huge priority for public heath, but family planning is also a huge priority for gender equality, environmental sustainability, and economic development.”

This is the first time US-based Population Media Center has teamed up with Global Health Corps to offer year-long paid fellowships in Burundi, one available to a US citizen, Bozzette, and one available to a Burundi citizen, Barikumutima. This opportunity coincides with the launch of a new radio soap opera produced by Population Media Center’s Burundi office to address women and children’s health.

“This year, I’m really excited by PMC’s approach and to see its impact,” says Barikumutima, who had been interning in PMC’s Burundi office when he was awarded the fellowship. “I believe this approach has the ability to address cultural mindsets. It draws people in and as they listen to the drama, they understand the message themselves. I’m excited to see how people change.”

The radio drama, Agashi (“Hey! Look Again!”), addresses issues such as child nutrition and family planning through intriguing storylines and plot twists. Over the course of the episodes, characters demonstrate choices and consequences, learning from their actions and teaching listeners as well. Agashi will run for approximately two years, airing two episodes per week.

Barikumutima, who now lives in Bujumbura, the capital, but grew up in the Kayanza province, explains that many of the issues addressed in Agashi will help individuals and communities that he cares about.

Prior to traveling to Burundi, Bozzette and Barikumutima spent two weeks at Yale University’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut for Global Health Corps training.

“I couldn’t sleep,” says Barikumutima. “I was thinking about things. This is a great opportunity to work on specific issues, and also to work with partners in Burundi to understand what is being done while being part of change. I want to give back to my community. After all this, my family and friends will be proud of me.”

Bozzette will be further from home for the year, but that won’t be a new experience since the California native spent last year coordinating a public health initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“We come from very different backgrounds, Sacha is from Burundi and I’m from San Diego, but we’re both dissatisfied with the world as-is. The simple truth is that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be healthy, and they aren’t,” says Bozzette. “Global health inequity is wrong, and something needs to change. This year, we are pushing that change in our own small way by promoting women and children’s health with Population Media Center.”

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH CORPS (GHC):

Global Health Corps mobilizes a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC believes young people are the future to solving global health challenges. We place recent college graduates and young professionals from diverse professional backgrounds in health non-profits and government offices in the US, East Africa and Southern Africa for a year of service in order to strengthen and learn from the organizations. Fellows focus on creating solutions for a variety of current health issues like HIV, maternal child health, nutrition, and healthcare access. Through additional training, community building, leadership development and mentorship these young people complete their fellowship with skills to be change-makers and paradigm-shifters in the global health field throughout their careers. Since its founding in 2009, GHC has deployed 322 fellows to work in 7 countries.

http://ghcorps.org/

 

Launching the Youth Champions Initiative

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Launching the Youth Champions Initiative with the Packard Foundation 

See: http://www.youthchampionsinitiative.org/

Dear Colleagues,

We are thrilled to share that The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Public Health Institute (PHI) have partnered to launch the Youth Champions Initiative - a new initiative to advance innovation and quality in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.

The Youth Champions Initiative (YCI) will leverage the experience and lessons learned from PHI’s Let Girls Lead and Champions for Change initiatives, building an entirely new and innovative initiative in honor of the Packard Foundation’s 50th anniversary. The YCI will build upon the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to reproductive health and the engagement of youth leaders by investing in visionary young champions who will lead the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement for the next generation.

The Youth Champions Initiative will select 18 visionary young leaders (ages 18-29) from India, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and the US to attend YCI’s innovative Incubator workshop, which will be held from December 4-12, 2014 in Los Altos, California, USA. The Incubator will integrate capacity building in sexual and reproductive health and rights, leadership, innovation, advocacy and project development. YCI will competitively award grants (in the range of $8,000 – $12,000) to participating Youth Champions and their organizations to launch innovative sexual and reproductive health and rights projects they develop during the Incubator.

See: http://www.youthchampionsinitiative.org/

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

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under 

See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/07/california-drought-report-economy-groundwater

California, the producer of nearly half of the nation’s fruits, veggies, and nuts, plus export crops-four-fifths of the world’s almonds, for example-is entering its third driest year on record. Nearly 80 percent of the state is experiencing “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. In addition to affecting agricultural production the drought will cost the state billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and a whole lot of groundwater, according to a new report prepared for the California Department of Food and Agriculture by scientists at UC-Davis. The authors used current water data, agricultural models, satellite data, and other methods to predict the economic and environmental toll of the drought through 2016.

Here are four key takeaways:

  • The drought will cost the state $2.2 billion this year: Of these losses, $810 million will come from lower crop revenues, $203 million will come from livestock and dairy losses, and $454 million will come from the cost of pumping additional groundwater. Up to 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs will be lost.
  • California is experiencing the “greatest absolute reduction in water availability” ever seen: In a normal year, about one-third of California’s irrigation water is drawn from wells that tap into the groundwater supply. The rest is “surface water” from streams, rivers, and reservoirs. This year, the state is losing about one-third of its surface water supply. The hardest hit area is the Central Valley, a normally fertile inland region. Because groundwater isn’t as easily pumped in the Valley as it is on the coasts, and the Colorado River supplies aren’t as accessible as they are in the south, the Valley has lost 410,000 acres to fallowing, an area about 10 times the size of Washington, DC.

See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/07/california-drought-report-economy-groundwater

Food, population and the post-2015 development agenda

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Food, population and the post-2015 development agenda 

See: https://www.devex.com/news/food-population-and-the-post-2015-development-agenda-83892

Meeting the growing demand for food may be the world’s single greatest challenge, but it is part of a much larger complex of problems, all relating to the overuse of our planet and, ultimately, to the larger challenge posed by population growth.

Addressing that challenge is both a moral and a global imperative. That’s why earlier this month, the Population Institute unveiled “Population by the Numbers,” a series of compelling factoids focusing on population and its implications for economic and human development.

As the United Nations prepares for its General Assembly in September, many questions remain about the new global development agenda that is emerging from high-level negotiations among world leaders. For the past 14 years, the Millennium Development Goals have played a leading role in shaping the international development agenda. But the MDGs expire at the end of next year and progress toward a post-2015 agenda has been kept tightly under wraps.

See: https://www.devex.com/news/food-population-and-the-post-2015-development-agenda-83892

A Practical Guide to Population and Development

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

A Practical Guide to Population and Development

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2014/population-development-guide.aspx

(July 2014) Throughout human history, the world’s population had grown slowly and by the beginning of the 20th century was only 1.6 billion people. Today, after only 110 years, the world’s population has surpassed 7.1 billion people.

During this time, the world has witnessed tremendous development-including innovations in health care, education, infrastructure, and technology-but more than 2 billion people still live in poverty and remain left out of this progress. The great challenge leaders of the world face today is to reduce poverty and inequity, and improve people’s lives without compromising the environment and the well-being of future generations.

At the same time, world population continues to increase by more than 80 million people a year, with most of the growth occurring in the world’s least developed countries. By 2050, according to the United Nation’s medium projection, the world’s population will increase to 9.6 billion people and will continue to grow through 2100. This continued growth has strong implications for health, well-being, and economic development. Leaders of nations everywhere must ask themselves: How does population growth affect national development and what must be done to manage the challenges of population growth?

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2014/population-development-guide.aspx

 

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

See: http://www.boredpanda.com/7-days-of-garbage-trash-pollution-photography-gregg-segal/

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Keeping pace with population growth

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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.

Get Over the Growth Fetish

July 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Get Over the Growth Fetish

See: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/get-over-the-growth-fetish/article6182959.ece

Perpetual growth is a piece of nonsense. The focus should be on protecting livelihoods through sustainable means

Construct a building, demolish it, reconstruct, break it down again, and go on repeating this meaningless exercise. You will have economic growth, as currently measured. But no net gain in employment during the endless cycle of construction and demolition, no net increase in productive capacity, and no appreciable change in poverty levels.

Add to this the ecological cost of mining materials and using energy for the construction. And when the owners of the building decide it is more profitable to employ machines instead of people, you’ll have net loss of livelihoods.

India’s growth story is, of course, not as caricaturish, but it is not far off. Despite many years of a cracking pace of growth, net increase in employment in the formal sector has been insignificant in the last two decades.

See: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/get-over-the-growth-fetish/article6182959.ece

FG targets 36% contraceptive rate through family planning

July 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

FG targets 36% contraceptive rate through family planning

See: http://www.punchng.com/news/fg-targets-36-contraceptive-rate-through-family-planning/

The Federal Government will promote all family planning methods to achieve a contraceptive prevalence of 36 per cent by 2018, the Minister of  Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said.

The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Linus Awute, made the statement in Abuja on Thursday at the national family planning stakeholders’ consultative meeting.

Chukwu said the theme, ‘Reducing maternal deaths in Nigeria through healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies’, was appropriate given that family planning was relevant to safe motherhood.

“In repositioning family planning, the goal and commitment of government is to achieve a contraceptive prevalence rate of 36 per cent by 2018. To achieve this goal, there is the need to aggressively promote all family planning methods so as to meet the needs of women of reproductive age,” he said.

See: http://www.punchng.com/news/fg-targets-36-contraceptive-rate-through-family-planning/