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WE DECIDE: Young persons with disabilities call for equal rights and a life free of violence

2016 July 27

Ariadna Capasso is Senior Technical Advisor for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.

Violence against women, including forced or coerced sex, is an epidemic that persists all over the world. But women with disabilities, often marginalized and denied their sexual and reproductive health rights, are particularly vulnerable to such abuse.

In June, UNFPA launched WE DECIDE, a global initiative to promote gender equality and social inclusion of young persons with disabilities and advocate for the end of sexual violence. The FCI Program of MSH worked with UNFPA and a broad range of partners in the field of disabilities to build consensus for the framework of the four-year initiative and to develop communications materials for the initiative, including a video and an infographic that conveys key messages and data on the status of persons with disabilities and gender-based violence.

Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)

An expert and advocate for persons with disabilities attends a strategy meeting to discuss the new WE DECIDE initiative. Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)

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Wilson Center Event: After Copenhagen, What Next for Women and Girls?

2016 July 11
by FCI Program of MSH

This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog.

We are excited to announce the upcoming policy dialogue, After Copenhagen, What Next for Women and Girls? The event will take place in Washington, D.C. at The Wilson Center (and online!) on Monday, July 18, 2016. This dialogue is part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center.

In May, nearly 6,000 people focused on improving the wellbeing of women and girls met in Copenhagen for the Women Deliver conference. They shared stories of progress and hope, discussed challenges, and proposed solutions to some of the most pressing health and rights issues facing girls and women today.

Please join us as we explore ways to deliver results from the largest conference of its kind. Panelists will present in-country perspectives on key maternal health takeaways and the implications for the health and rights agenda in their countries.


  • Alix Bacon, President, Midwives Association of British Columbia
  • Dr. Mary Nambao, Deputy Director, Mother Health, Ministry of Health in Zambia
  • Susan Papp, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Women Deliver

Moderated by Roger-Mark De Souza, Director, Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson Center

Event Details

Register for the event here

When: Monday, July 18, 2016 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST

Where: The Wilson Center, 5th floor conference room, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20004

Join us online! Tune in to the live webcast or view the archive after the meeting here.

Join the conversation on Twitter at @NewSecurityBeat and @MHTF and by following #MHdialogue. To find more coverage of these issues on the Wilson Center’s blog,

Delivering care, delivering change for women and babies: Latin American midwives build skills for country-level advocacy

2016 July 6

Ariadna Capasso is senior technical advisor for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.

We know how to prevent maternal and newborn deaths, but globally, almost 300,000 women and 3 million newborns continue to lose their lives because they lack access to high-quality obstetric services–services which midwives provide. Skilled midwives can prevent up to two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths by ensuring a safe birth for both mother and baby and responding quickly when complications arise.


Photo by Joey O’Loughlin

Midwives not only provide essential care, they also provide a powerful voice for policies and programs that advance access to affordable and high-quality health services. They understand the health needs of women and newborns, as they work to meet those needs everyday. And they experience, firsthand, the gaps in health systems, from human resources and infrastructure to regulations that limit their practice.

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Melissa Wanda nominated for her achievements in reproductive health

2016 June 28
Melissa Wanda, Advocacy Project Officer for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health, was nominated for the 120 Under 40 Project by family planning colleagues for her substantial contributions to improving access to family planning in Kenya. The 120 Under 40 Project will select 40 reproductive health champions in 2016, 2017, and 2019 to build a roster of 120 exceptional young leaders by 2020, when the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) partnership aims to reach 120 million additional women and girls with access to life-saving contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies. Read Melissa’s profile below (re-posted from 120 Under 40) and vote by July 10.
Twitter Image 2 - Melissa

Moving beyond the budget line: Fundraising for family planning in Mali

2016 June 24

Pour une version en français, s’il vous plaît voir ci-dessous.

Adama Sanogo is Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health in Mali.

For years now, countries around the world have made pledges, built coalitions, and developed strategies to demonstrate their resolute commitment to maternal health. On the surface, it seems as though a lot is happening in the realm of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH). But these statements fall flat if women and newborns are still dying from preventable causes and if women, including girls, still do not have access to sexual and reproductive health information and services to lead healthy lives. Achieving the commitment or the law is only part of the advocacy story; actually, it is really only the beginning. To see this story through, we have to follow the money. read more…

Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all

2016 June 22

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch, FCI Program of MSH; Olive Cocoman, WHO; Mary Kinney, Save the Children; Betsy McCallon, White Ribbon Alliance; Kadi Toure, PMNCH

Originally appearing on the Healthy Newborn Network blog, this article provides an update to a previous post on maternal and newborn health integration.


The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and AdolescentsHealth (Global Strategy) calls for ending all preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Greater quality of care is needed to preserve and protect the health of both mothers and babies, especially for those living in areas that are hardest to reach and where crisis prevails. At the Women Deliver conference in May, maternal and newborn health experts and advocates united to launch a powerful, integrated advocacy campaign focused on quality, equity and dignity of care for all mothers and babies. read more…

Meeting the needs of urban youth: What does the community say?

2016 June 14

By Carol Gatura

Carol Gatura is Communications Officer at African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC). This article originally appeared on the APHRC blog, and is an update to the post Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty.

Youth living in urban informal settlements face numerous challenges when it comes to accessing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services. Comprehensive sexuality education is hardly taught in schools, and parents are not quite sure how to talk about sex with their children.

As part of our work on the USAID-funded African Strategies for Health project – a multi-year initiative in collaboration with Management Sciences for Health that examined barriers to access to reproductive health services in urban and peri-urban contexts across the continent – the African Population and Health Research Center produced a short film based in the Nairobi, Kenya slums of Viwandani and Korogocho.

Senior Chief Omache Nyabuto welcomes participants in Korogocho

Senior Chief Omache Nyabuto welcomes participants in Korogocho.

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Health workers: The unattended resource

2016 June 9

Melissa Wanda Kirowo is Advocacy Project Officer with the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Melissa was nominated for the 120 Under 40 Project by family planning colleagues for her substantial contributions to reproductive health at the national level or local level. Learn more about Melissa’s work and vote here until July 10!

Clementina Ilukol, a Ugandan midwife, and I discuss challenges health workers face everyday.

At Women Deliver 2016 last month, I had the opportunity to talk with one of a number of young midwives attending the conference. Clementina IIukol, a 22 year-old Ugandan midwife, represents the commitment of health care providers as they work, often under very difficult conditions, to provide essential services to women, newborns, children, and adolescents in the communities they serve. “I walk for miles before daybreak,” Clementina told me, “to fetch water for use at the clinic where I work.”

A week after Women Deliver, global health security was the top subject of discussion at the World Health Assembly, as member states recognize that sustainable development will be unattainable if resilient health systems cannot withstand epidemics like the Ebola, MERS, and Zika viruses. Ultimately, global health security requires individual health security; we must not only support rapid detection and response to cross-border infectious disease threats, but we must also guarantee that every individual has access to safe and effective health care. And what this requires, in turn, is an adequate, equitably distributed, skilled, and well-equipped health workforce. Healthcare workers, like Clementina, turn aspirations into actions. They constantly ‘innovate,’ building bridges to work failing health systems so that everyone facing a health emergency can get the treatment they need. read more…

Preventing pregnancy after sexual assault: Do women and girls have access to emergency contraception?

2016 June 8

Sarah Rich is Senior Technical Advisor at the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, hosted by Management Sciences for Health.

Mapingure was raped and sought EC at a hospital. The provider told her that she needed a police report. But by the time she came back… she was told it was too late to assist her. She became pregnant as a result of the rape.

–Zimbabwe case from 2014, presented by Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude in “Country overviews of legal grounds/policies related to health, rape, and safe abortion,” April 2016

Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, including in cases of rape. Global guidance on EC access for sexual assault survivors is clear: EC should be offered to women and girls within 120 hours of the assault to prevent the traumatic consequences of pregnancy resulting from rape. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) clinical and policy guidelines for sexual assault and clinical handbook  include strong recommendations to provide EC as part of comprehensive, woman-centered care. read more…

EML Search: New resource for reproductive and maternal health advocates

2016 June 7

Shafia Rashid is Senior Technical Advisor at the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.

In June 2013, Imtiaz Kamal–a crusader for midwifery and women’s health–celebrated Pakistan’s official recognition of the essential maternal health medicine, misoprostol, which has proven easy to administer, safe and effective for preventing and treating excessive postpartum bleeding. “Given the high prevalence of home births,” Imtiaz explained, “we need to invest in solutions, such as misoprostol, that save lives now, until we can achieve the long-term goals of strengthening health systems and increasing rates of facility births.” read more…