Women's Health

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Young Women In India 'Fare Much Worse' Than Those In Many Developing Countries, World Bank Report Says

“Young women in India are much better off than their mothers, but they fare much worse than their counterparts in many developing countries when it comes to the physical survival rate of women and participation in labor force, says a report by the World Bank … titled ‘Gender Equality and Development,'” Business Standard reports (10/13). The report “said that while life expectancy had increased in low- and middle-income countries by 20 years since 1960 … almost 4 million women died too early in the developing world compared to rich countries,” with almost one million of these excess deaths occurring in India, according to the Times of India (Dhawan, 10/13).

AMREF Selects Ugandan Midwife To Lead Maternal Health Campaign

The African Medical and Research Foundation [AMREF] has selected Esther Madudu, a midwife at the Tiriri health center in northeast Uganda, to lead its global campaign, Stand Up for African Mothers, the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” reports. The goal of the project is to reduce maternal deaths worldwide by 25 percent and train an additional 30,000 midwives, “including 10,000 in Uganda,” according to the blog. Madudu will travel to France this week, “where she will address delegates at the Women’s Forum Global meeting, alongside Uganda’s minister of health, Christine Ondoa,” the blog notes (Ford, 10/12).

VOA News Examines How A Public-Private Partnership Will Combat Cancer Among Women In The Developing World

This VOA News editorial examines how a public-private partnership between PEPFAR, the George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, as well as private sector partners will launch a program called Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon to “combat cervical and breast cancer for women in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.” “In the developing world, women’s cancers are often neglected and associated with stigma that discourages women from seeing a doctor,” VOA writes. The editorial quotes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who said, “If we want to make progress on some of the toughest challenges we face in global health — fighting HIV, preventing childhood deaths, improving nutrition, stopping malaria, and more — then investing in women must be at the top of the agenda” (10/11).

Escalating Sexual Violence Amid Famine In Horn Of Africa Is 'Going Largely Ignored'

In this Guardian opinion piece, Lisa Shannon, founder of A Thousand Sisters, Run for Congo Women, and co-founder of Sister Somalia, examines how, in the context of famine, sexual violence in the Horn of Africa, and particularly in Somalia, “is being de-prioritized as primarily a psychosocial issue,” and asserts that grassroots international organizations offer a solution “outside the traditional big-aid model.”

Human Toll Of Denying Women Right To Family Planning 'Extraordinarily High'

In this post in the Guardian’s “Response” column, Jenny Tonge, chair of the U.K. all-party parliamentary group on population, development and reproductive health, responds to a Guardian opinion piece published last month entitled “Welcome baby seven billion: we’ve room on Earth for you.” Tonge writes, “The article seems to miss the point that more than 200 million women who are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant are not using modern contraception,” adding, “The human toll of denying women the fundamental right to plan their families is extraordinarily high and also a significant source of population growth. If all women who want to avoid pregnancy were able to use and access family planning, the rate of population growth would slow substantially” (10/10).

Time Examines Maternal Mortality In Afghanistan

Time examines the issue of maternal mortality in Afghanistan, where the Health Ministry says “about 18,000 Afghan women die during childbirth every year.” The magazine writes, “According to a recent report by the NGO Save the Children, Afghanistan ranked as the worst place to give birth, followed by Niger and Chad,” Time writes, adding that getting women in rural areas to hospitals, a lack of midwives and a stigma against pregnancy “because it’s a public acknowledgement of sex with their spouses” are all challenges to improving maternal health in Afghanistan. The magazine highlights the HHS-funded Afghan Safe Birth Project, which has “has helped reduce deaths during [caesarean] sections at [Kabul’s Rabia Balkhi Hospital] by 80 percent” since 2008, according to Faizullah Kakar, an epidemiologist and special adviser on health to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Time reports. “[I]n April, the U.S. government cut the program’s $5.8 million annual funding, and Kakar says the Afghan government doesn’t have the money to keep it going,” the magazine notes (Kakissis, 10/11).

Breast Cancer Education And Detection A Challenge In Egypt

In this Washington Times Communities column, Anwaar Abdalla, a lecturer on Civilization and Cultural Affairs at Egypt’s Helwan University, writes, “While breast cancer is a global issue, in Egypt, the figure for people suffering from breast cancer is alarming,” adding, “According to official statistics of the National Cancer Institute (Cairo University), breast cancer accounts for 35.1 percent of the cases of cancer in Egypt.”

Rwandan Government, UNFPA Step Up Campaign To End Obstetric Fistula

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Program and Engender Health have partnered with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health in “a campaign to treat and end obstetric fistula in women in Rwanda,” the New Times/AllAfrica.com reports. Through the campaign, “at least 50 women are expected to be treated by Issa Labou, a urologist from Senegal, assisted by a team of Rwandan physicians during an exercise to be held at Kibogora Hospital, Nyamasheke District, Western Province from 10-21 October 2011,” according to Anicet Nzabonimpa, the family planning and HIV integration coordinator in Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, the newspaper writes. “We commit to supporting government’s efforts to fully integrate services that are permanent for on-going, continuous and holistic care of obstetric fistula cases until we entirely end this preventable and treatable condition,’ she said,” according to the New Times (10/9).

IPS Examines The Issue Of Gender-Based Violence Against Women Fleeing Somalia For Dadaab

Inter Press Service examines the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) against women as they make the journey from their homes in Somalia to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp in search of food aid and refuge, calling it a “hidden side” of the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa. “So far, only 30 cases of rape were reported between January and July 2011 according to the UNHCR at Dadaab,” IPS writes, adding, “But medical experts at the camp say that this is a small fraction of a huge problem faced by women” because many do not report instances of rape out of fear they will be blamed by family members and rejected from the community (Esipisu, 10/5).

Foreign Affairs Committee Votes To Prohibit U.S. Funding To U.N. Population Fund

The Republican-led House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would prohibit the U.S. government from providing funding to the U.N. Population Fund, an organization “that helps women and children in developing countries with reproductive health and family planning,” Agence France-Presse reports (Cassata, 10/5). “House Republicans say they are pushing the legislation because the fund, known as the UNFPA, is complicit in China’s controversial one-child policy, which enforces abortion and sterilization,” the Huffington Post writes (10/5).

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