The EngenderHealth News Blog
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Raise Your Voice : End the Global Gag Rule

The Global Gag Rule has had terrible consequences for the health and lives of poor women and their families, in ways that have nothing to do with abortion. The Global Gag Rule has forced clinics to cut back on all sorts of health services, such as family planning, obstetric care, HIV testing, and malaria treatment.

Urge President-elect Obama to overturn the Global Gag Rule during his first 100 days. Watch the video, sign the petition, then spread the word.

Learn more about the Global Gag Rule.

Friday, December 5, 2008

EngenderHealth on PBS's "Foreign Exchange"

Dr. Isaiah Ndong, EngenderHealth's Vice President for Programs, appeared on PBS's weekly "Foreign Exchange" to discuss the Global Gag Rule, the impact it has had on global health efforts, and what it could mean if President-elect Obama overturns it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HIV and circumcision

An op-ed by Paul Perchal, the director of EngenderHealth's HIV/STI program, appeared in the Los Angeles Times today:

“My downstairs neighbor, eight months pregnant, recently stopped me in the elevator to share her dilemma about whether to have her baby boy circumcised. For a growing number of American parents today -- particularly in urban centers like Los Angeles and New York -- the decision to cut or not to cut is not the foregone conclusion it used to be.

“Forty years ago, the circumcision rate for newborn boys in the United States was 85%; today, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it's about 56%, as more parents rethink whether circumcision is--or ever was--necessary.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, attitudes are moving in the other direction. There, circumcision is gaining a hold in communities where historically it has not been practiced, and there is good reason for the shift.”

Read the rest of the article.

New Initiative Launched to Advance Maternal Health

EngenderHealth announced today that it has received a three-year, $11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to coordinate the Maternal Health Task Force Project, which will contribute to shaping collective efforts to improve maternal health worldwide. The Task Force will serve as a catalyst to address one of the most neglected areas in global health.

Maternal morbidity and mortality rates remain unacceptably high across the developing world. Every minute, a woman dies from complications related to childbirth or pregnancy. While most maternal deaths are preventable, poor health services and scarce resources limit women’s access to life-saving, high-quality care. Although there have been some notable advances, efforts to adequately address maternal health remain fragmented, and the political will remains insufficient to effectively tackle the issues.

Recognizing that real progress will require better coordination and increased global attention, EngenderHealth will bring together existing maternal health networks and engage new organizations to facilitate global coordination of maternal health programs. The Task Force will not duplicate or replace existing projects; rather, it will play a complementary role by convening stakeholders and creating an inclusive setting to engage in dialogue, build consensus, and share information.

The Task Force will provide a new forum dedicated specifically to maternal health, while reaching out to leaders from allied fields – including neonatal and child health, reproductive health, human rights, and HIV/AIDS – to devise innovative solutions to maternal morbidity and mortality. As a key component of the initiative, partners in developing countries will play a central role in setting the agenda. The Task Force will work very closely with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and other critical partners in this field.

The Task Force will harness new opportunities for collaboration and coordination and ensure that efforts pay off for women, families, and communities around the world.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Video: HIV is Real and It's Around

Mogomotsi "Supreme" Mfalapitsa, a senior transformation agent at EngenderHealth in South Africa, works in our Men As Partners® program to reduce both HIV and gender inequality. He performed this original song about HIV and safe sex at the Mexico YouthForce pre-conference just before the 2008 International AIDS Conference. The video was filmed by Marius Juel Hovland. As Supreme says, “I am passionate about music being used to send positive messages and creating change in people's lives.”

Download a free MP3 version of Supreme's song.

Turning the Corner for People Living with HIV

EngenderHealth's president, Dr. Ana Langer, appears in the Huffington Post as a guest columnist.

“Today, people across the globe will rally around World AIDS Day. An AIDS awareness bike marathon will wind its way through the streets of Cairo. Zagreb will host a massive rock concert. And hundreds of activists will gather for a candlelight memorial on GorĂ©e Island in Senegal.... A lot has changed since the World Health Organization designated the first World AIDS Day 20 years ago. Back then, 5 to 10 million people were thought to be infected with HIV worldwide. Today that number is estimated at 33 million.”

Read the rest of the article.

Champions Speak: Voices from Uganda

The theme of the 2008 World AIDS Day is leadership, and we are reminded of the leaders we encounter every day who take bold steps to address HIV and transform their communities. In this photo essay, “Champions Speak: Voices from Uganda,” meet individuals like Alice Kiyonga, who helped change attitudes toward people living with HIV.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gates foundation funds circumcision

Several media outlets have noted EngenderHealth's participation in the new Male Circumcision Consortium (noted previously), including the News & Observer (quoted below) and First Science.

“Family Health International, a global public health and development organization, has won a five-year, $18.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to boost male circumcision in Kenya. The practice is gaining recognition for limiting the spread of HIV/AIDS across Africa. Durham-based FHI will be working with the Kenyan government, the University of Illinois at Chicago and EngenderHealth, a reproductive health organization.”

Read the rest of the article.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Remorseful father fights to stop rape

Several media outlets have covered the personal transformation of Dumisani Rebombo, Senior Program Coordinator for EngenderHealth’s Men As Partners® program in South Africa, most recently the Toronto Star (quoted below) and the Huffington Post.

umisani Rebombo is protective of his daughters. He wants them to be happy and marry men who treat them well. It's a dream most fathers have, but not an easy one to accomplish in South Africa. According to the country's Commission on Gender Equality, a woman is raped every 17 seconds. Rebombo knows this too well. That's why he wants to make sure his daughters don't meet someone like his younger self. "In my youth, my friends and I, we gang-raped a girl in the village where I was growing up," he says.”

Read the rest of the article.

Advancing Male Circumcision to Prevent HIV in Kenya

“Expanding male circumcision services is a great opportunity to engage men to take greater responsibility for HIV prevention. Reaching a population that does not usually access health services, we can maximize chances to educate men about behavior change and the importance of shared sexual decision-making, which would improve health outcomes for both men and women.”
—Feddis Mumba, Country Director, EngenderHealth-Kenya, and Project Director, EngenderHealth–Male Circumcision Consortium

EngenderHealth is pleased to announce that it is partnering with Family Health International and the University of Illinois at Chicago on the Male Circumcision Consortium, which launched November 24 in Kenya. The Consortium will improve and expand access to voluntary medical circumcision services in Kenya as part of an overall strategy to reduce HIV infections in men.

Male circumcision is gaining recognition as an important practice for limiting the spread of HIV across Sub-Saharan Africa. Several studies have shown that being circumcised dramatically reduces a man’s chances of acquiring HIV during sex with a female partner who has the virus. The challenge now is to transform this clinical knowledge into a public health strategy that can save millions of lives.

Working closely with the Kenyan government, the Consortium will focus on Nyanza Province—which has the country’s highest HIV prevalence and low rates of male circumcision. The experience and knowledge the Consortium gains in Kenya will offer positive lessons for similar programs in other countries.

Given the large number of men who are expected to want circumcision and the shortage of skilled health care professionals, EngenderHealth will develop a national training plan to increase the number of medical staff able to provide safe male circumcision services. EngenderHealth will also conduct research to assess the safety, efficacy, and cost of having nonphysicians (e.g., nurses) provide male circumcision, as well as study community outreach models.

The Consortium’s activities complement EngenderHealth’s other work in Nyanza to improve male circumcision services, supported by the APHIA II project.

Read more about the Male Circumcision Consortium.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

USAID Project Treats Nigerian Women with Reproductive Tract Afflictions

Voice of America has reported on The ACQUIRE Project, one of EngenderHealth’s programs supporting treatment of women with fistula.

Helping USAID in its effort is an NGO called ACQUIRE – or Access, Quality and Use in Reproductive Health. Together, they are working to prevent and repair fistula, or V.V.F. It’s an abnormal opening or passageway between the birth canal and one of the internal organs, including the bladder. Fistula can occur during obstructed labor or by tears in the birth canal inflicted during female circumcision, or Yankan gishiri’, in Hausa. Waste material seeps through the passage, often leading an unpleasant – and embarrassing – odor. But with surgery, the passageway can be sealed.”

Read the rest of the article.