PROGRES requires a keen gender perspective

By Alanna Savage and Andrew Gaydos

Alanna Savage is a Senior Communications Specialist for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and Andrew Gaydos is a Project Support Associate at MSH.

In our ambitious vision to reach all people, everywhere, it is ever more necessary to examine the varying life experiences–the actual realities–of the people whose health we work to improve. Part of this examination requires a critical look at how gender plays out in the power structures of society, the daily lives of people, and more concretely, in the “who, what, where, when, and how” of health-seeking behavior and access to essential reproductive and maternal health care.

Maternal mortality in Mali remains high–587 women die for every 100,000 live births–but only 28 percent of sexually active women of reproductive have satisfied their demand for family planning.  Women and girls continue to confront widespread sexual and gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); in 2015, about 126,000 women and girls received prevention services, protection, and care related to FGM/C. And thanks to the work of the FCI Program of MSH, traditional and faith leaders are advocating for family planning and coming together to provide support to survivors of gender-based violence and to identify early warning signs of imminent violence.

Gender inequality undoubtedly plays a role in high maternal mortality and unmet need for family planning and the continuance of sexual and gender-based violence. As long as women and girls must continue to fight for equal voice and an equal share of opportunity and power, their lives and health will remain under threat. Gender influences health outcomes, access to care, providers’ treatment of patients, relationships among health workers and supervisors, and health career barriers and opportunities.

Photo by Catherine Lalonde

Continue reading “PROGRES requires a keen gender perspective”

We are fearless. #FearlessFeb

Photo by Joey O’Loughlin

We are celebrating Fearless February to rally the global community around advocacy for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health!

This month, the FCI Program of MSH will feature stories about fearless champions, powerful evidence, and advocacy wins from the Rights & Realities archive. Follow #FearlessFeb on Twitter and Facebook to read the story of the day.

Join us on Twitter and Facebook, and tell us:
What makes you fearless? What does “fearless” mean to you?
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Uniting the Community to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence in Mali

Martha Murdock is Technical Strategy Lead for regional programs at the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health. This post originally appeared on MSH’s Global Health Impact Blog

As a part of the international “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls, MSH is sharing its experience working to eradicate gender-based violence.

Photo credit: Adama Sanogo/MSH
Photo credit: Adama Sanogo/MSH

“We remember the hard times the women and girls of Douentza have experienced,” said Animata Bassama, a representative of the women of Douentza, referring to the fighting and ensuing gender-based violence (GBV) that plagued Mali in 2012.

Animata spoke to a crowd of 100 government officials, NGO representatives, health and finance officials, women’s advocates, and community members. A new center for GBV survivors, fortified by concrete and adorned in yellow and pink, was her backdrop. Continue reading “Uniting the Community to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence in Mali”

Advocacy success story: Kenya approves misoprostol for PPH

Melissa Wanda Kirowo is advocacy project officer for FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health in Kenya. 

This blog post provides an update to an earlier post.

The Kenya Constitution states that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including reproductive health. To realize this right, every person must have access to high-quality, life-saving medicines.

Photo credit: Mark Tuschman
Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

Recently, the government achieved great strides toward making this right to health a reality for its citizens. For the first time, the Kenya Essential Medicines List 2016 (KEML) included misoprostol in the oxytocics section, indicating its use for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), excessive bleeding after childbirth and a leading cause of maternal death. Misoprostol is stable at room temperature, available in pill form, and inexpensive. Because of these advantages and the drug’s wide availability, misoprostol may be a woman’s only chance for surviving PPH in settings with limited infrastructure and a shortage of skilled birth attendants–like many parts of Kenya. Continue reading “Advocacy success story: Kenya approves misoprostol for PPH”

WILD women with disabilities call for social inclusion through photos and stories

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

Women and young persons with disabilities are particularly powerful voices in the movement for gender equality and social inclusion. Last month, I had the privilege to moderate a panel of outspoken activists with disabilities to commemorate the opening of the two-week photo exhibit, Brilliant and Resilient: Celebrating the Power of Women Activists with Disabilities, at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “WILD women with disabilities call for social inclusion through photos and stories”

LAC 2016: Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health among adolescents

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

Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health–especially for adolescents and youth–remains a priority focus among policymakers, healthcare practitioners, and advocates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In September 2016, twenty-two governments and a broad range of partners–including international and regional technical, professional, funding and research organizations, INGOs and the private sector–came together for the LAC 2016 Conference in Cartagena, Colombia. Continue reading “LAC 2016: Reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health among adolescents”

Countdown to 2015 becomes Countdown to 2030

By Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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

CountdownCountdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival (“Countdown”) was established in 2005 in response to The Lancet Child Survival Series with the goal of monitoring countries’ progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health) by 2015. Countdown is led by a team of multi-disciplinary leaders in the maternal and child health field, including researchers, governments, international agencies, professional organizations and other stakeholders. Now that the world has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Countdown has extended its work to monitor progress toward achieving SDG 3 (ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages) by 2030. Continue reading “Countdown to 2015 becomes Countdown to 2030”

Global Leaders in Maternal and Newborn Health: Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta (Canada and Pakistan)

By Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Zulfiqar_BhuttaIn July 2016, 35 global leaders in maternal newborn health gathered for the second annual Safe Mothers and Newborns Leadership Workshop (SMNLW) hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and The Aga Kahn University, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The participants represented 26 countries from five continents.

SMNLW participant Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta is the Robert Harding Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and the Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, at the Aga Khan University, unique joint appointments. He also holds adjunct professorships at several leading Universities globally including the Schools of Public Health at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore), Tufts University (Boston), Boston University School of Public Health, University of Alberta as well as the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is a designated Distinguished National Professor of the Government of Pakistan and was the Founding Chair of the National Research Ethics Committee of the Government of Pakistan from 2003-2014. Continue reading “Global Leaders in Maternal and Newborn Health: Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta (Canada and Pakistan)”

Youth advocates share challenges with health ministers at UNGA

Anoyara Khatun speaks about working in her community to end human trafficking and child marriage. Also pictured (left to right): Patrick Mwesigye, Yemurai Nyoni, and Michalina Drejza Photo credit: J. Cook Photography
Anoyara Khatun speaks about working in her community to end human trafficking and child marriage. Also pictured (left to right): Patrick Mwesigye, Yemurai Nyoni, and Michalina Drejza (Photo by J. Cook Photography)

Youth advocates and representatives from health ministries around the world  came together September 18 to share achievements, challenges, and innovative strategies to improve the health and well-being of women, newborns, children, and adolescents. Continue reading “Youth advocates share challenges with health ministers at UNGA”