Family Planning & Reproductive Health

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U.N.’s Ban Launches Global Campaign To End FGM

News outlets report on the launch of a U.N. campaign to end female genital mutilation. Agence France-Presse: U.N. chief launches campaign to end female genital mutilation “U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon launched Thursday a global campaign to end the often deadly practice of female genital mutilation within a generation, as survivors…

U.N. Report Calls For Investment In Health, Education As World Population Approaches 7 Billion

“Instead of worrying about sheer numbers when the world’s population hits seven billion next week, we should think about how to make the planet a better place for people to live in, the United Nations said” in its report, “The State of World Population 2011,” released Wednesday, Reuters reports (Ormsby, 10/26). “The world must seize the opportunity to invest in the health and education of its youth to reap the full benefits of future economic development or else face a continuation of the sorry state of disparities in which hundreds of millions of people in developing nations lack the most basic ingredients for a decent life, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in the foreword of the study,” the U.N. News Centre writes.

Exclusion Of Family Planning, HIV Prevention From Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership Is ‘Counter-Intuitive’

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, examines the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership, which was launched last month by PEPFAR in conjunction with the George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNAIDS with the aim of “integrat[ing] cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment with HIV services.” She continues, “Given that women living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, it makes sense. It’s a logical and critical part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support services.” But while the initiative “has the potential to reduce the number of cancer deaths among women living with HIV and improve their overall health,” the fact “that planning a family and preventing further HIV transmission is not part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support” is “counter-intuitive and counter-productive,” Sippel writes.

Zanzibar’s Islamic Leaders Use Qur’an To Shift Attitudes About Sex, Contraception, HIV/AIDS

The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” examines how religious leaders on the island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, are using the Qur’an to shift attitudes about the issues of sex, contraception, and HIV/AIDS in an effort to reduce HIV infection, improve maternal health and curb rapid population growth. “Their aim is to shift deep-rooted views in their devout Islamic society that contraception is a sin,” according to the blog. “Compared with the Tanzanian mainland, Zanzibar has half the rate of use of contraception — just 13 percent in fertile women in 2011 — and more than double the proportion of Muslims, at 95 percent,” the blog notes, adding that imams’ work to educate the population is working, as “contraceptive use has crept up from nine percent to 13 percent in the past four years” (Carrington, 10/31).

‘Fresh Efforts’ Needed To Understand, Deliver Family Planning In Order To Curb Birth Rates In Developing Countries

In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines the challenges of family planning in some poorer countries, where public health programs “risk adding to population pressures and inadvertently setting back development,” writing, “In a number of countries, notably in central and western Africa, health programs have contributed to cutting infant mortality rates, but birth rates have continued to remain stubbornly high. The unintended consequence is a fast-growing population that adds further pressure on poor families and fragile environments.”

Public Health Leaders File Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Case Challenging ‘Anti-Prostitution Pledge’

“The case of the ‘anti-prostitution pledge’ heading for the Supreme Court this month focuses on whether the requirement that groups funded by [PEPFAR] create policies ‘explicitly’ condemning prostitution is compatible with the First Amendment,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “A brief filed Wednesday in the…

IRIN Examines How Mining Industry In Mozambique Increasing Fears Of HIV

IRIN examines how “[e]very mining boom brings the fear of a rising HIV infection rate, particularly in a country like Mozambique, where the estimated prevalence is already 11.3 percent.” The news service looks at how the promise of a large coal mining operation in the Tete province of Mozambique could affect…

Ghana Health Official Urges Media To Help Change Negative Perceptions About Pregnancy

Speaking at a workshop on maternal morbidity and mortality in Korofidua, Ghana on Thursday, which was organized for journalists in the region, acting Eastern Regional Director of Health Services Larbi Addo challenged the media to help change negative perceptions about pregnancy and child-bearing in an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country, GhanaWeb reports. “He said the campaign to reduce maternal mortality was a shared responsibility and asked the media to support the health sector in educating the public on the subject,” the news service reports.

Global Study Says Young People Are Having More Unsafe Sex, Know Less About Contraceptive Options

“Young people across the globe are having more unprotected sex and know less about effective contraception options, a multinational survey revealed on Monday,” Reuters reports. “The ‘Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception’ study prepared for World Contraception Day (WCD) reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the USA and 19 percent in Britain in the last three years,” the news service writes.