Women in sub-Saharan Africa often use abortion as a method of limiting their fertility and spacing births. However, it is not well understood whether having an abortion influences contraceptive behavior. The goal of this study was to examine associations between abortion history and use of a modern contraceptive method among women in Luanda, Angola. To learn more, access the paper here.
Men in the study generally supported couples’ use of contraception, especially citing socioeconomic reasons. Some had reservations stemming from perceptions that family planning could facilitate infidelity and promiscuity. They also thought family planning decisions should be made jointly. All men expressed interest in learning more about family planning, preferring dissemination from community health workers, trusted men, and current family planning users. To learn more, access the paper here.
The open access version of Bixby’s most recent publication in Social Science and Medicine – Population Health, Do Perceived Contraception Attitudes Influence Abortion Stigma? Evidence from Luanda, Angola, is now available online.
The Bixby Center’s Associate Fellow Sarah Jane Holcombe has just published an article in the journal Health Policy and Planning on advocacy by Ethiopia’s obstetrician-gynecologist society in support of the country’s 2005 reform of its law on abortion.
Globally, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, health professionals have significant influence in shaping national health policy, including in the often sensitive field of reproductive health. Obstetrician-gynecologists have perhaps the most clout related to reproductive health policy, given their high levels of training, social standing and male gender. However, their ob-gyn professional societies have rarely supported abortion law reform, despite its promise for reducing women’s mortality and morbidity. This study of the contributions of Ethiopia’s ob-gyn society yields several lessons for leveraging the involvement of ob-gyn involvement in reform elsewhere:
- Ob-gyn societies can be central to building a research base for reform, conducting evidence-based advocacy and framing the rationale for reform as grounded in public health and maternal mortality prevention;
- Ob-gyn and ob-gyn society engagement can be grounded in personal and organizational commitments to reducing maternal mortality, including that due to unsafe abortion, and experience with post-abortion care (PAC); and
- Ob-gyn society policy contributions can capitalize on political openings and can be facilitated by civil society allies.
Dr. Holcombe’s earlier related work, also based on her dissertation research, focused on Ethiopian midwives’ attitudes toward providing abortion services in the wake of the country’s legal reform.
Written by Malcolm Potts on San Francisco Chronicle | November 29, 2017
The Center for Global Public Health established its annual graduate student research fellowships in 2008 to provide experiential learning for Berkeley students who are interested in global public health. This year, eight to ten research fellowships in the amount of $3,000-$5,000 will be awarded to qualified students who are selected, via a competitive evaluation process, to support 8-12 weeks of international travel and research activities in summer 2018.
The project must take place at an approved faculty research site in a low- to middle-income country (LMIC). These sites are often long-term field study sites of UC Berkeley and/or UC San Francisco (UCSF) faculty members. The student’s primary supervisor can be their on-site field supervisor for the proposed research, but students must also have a direct faculty supervisor from UC Berkeley or UCSF who will help oversee their work and provide a letter of support and has signed the affiliation agreement with the CGPH. The CGPH welcomes proposed research projects in all public health disciplines.
Deadline: January 26, 2018
Edited by: Ndola Prata, Paula Tavrow, and Ushma Upadhyay
Published: 8 November 2017
The link to the supplement is permanently accessible via the Supplements link on the article page of the journal website.
Empowerment is widely acknowledged as a process by which those who have been disempowered are able to increase their self-efficacy, make life-enhancing decisions, and obtain control over resources [1, 2, 3]. In addition, empowerment is multi-dimensional – a woman may be empowered in one dimension or sphere (such as financial) but not in another (such as in sexual and reproductive decision-making). Most countries now recognize the importance for girls and women to become more empowered, both as a goal in itself, as well as to achieve a more gender equitable society . More recently, researchers have been assessing the contexts and mechanisms by which empowerment directly or indirectly affects various aspects of women’s health [5, 6, 7]. A better understanding of the situations where greater empowerment is associated with improved health outcomes can assist policymakers in planning and prioritizing their investments.
Although associations between women’s empowerment and some aspects of their health, such as fertility and contraception, have been studied fairly extensively and seem to be mostly positive [6, 8, 9], the relationship between women’s empowerment and pregnancy or childbirth, including abortion, has not received sufficient attention. Moreover, empowerment measures still need to be critically evaluated [10, 11] and to encompass a range of potential empowerment domains – psychological, social, political, economic and legal [8, 9, 12, 13]. The purpose of this special issue in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is to bring a multidisciplinary lens and varied methodologies to the central question of how women’s empowerment relates to pregnancy and childbirth. By highlighting women’s health concerns, rights, and empowerment, this special issue aims to catalyze societal-level changes that will yield sustainable improvements in health and well-being for women on a global scale.
This special issue is sponsored by the Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment Center of Expertise (COE), a part of the University of California Global Health Institute. The COE is comprised of faculty, staff and students from across the campuses of the University of California, along with practitioners and international partners. The COE promotes research, education, and community engagement at the intersection of health and empowerment in the US and globally. Collectively, it represents a wide variety of disciplines and approaches to improving women’s health and empowerment.
In the fall of 2015, the COE put out an open call for long abstracts from multiple disciplines on the role of women’s empowerment on pregnancy and childbirth. We received a total of 52 submissions, which were evaluated by all managing editors using several criteria, including strength of the empowerment construct, methodology, clarity, significance, innovation, and suitability for the supplement. The top 16 submissions were invited to submit full papers. All selected articles included a construct that is conceptualized as women’s empowerment, defined broadly. To further develop and share ideas concerning the articles for this issue, the COE conducted a one-day research workshop, which was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NIH NCATS UCLA CTSI Grant Number UL1TR000124). Members of the COE submitting full papers had the opportunity to give an oral presentation presenting their study’s aims and methods, receive feedback and guidance on how to improve their study’s conceptualization, hear about other scholars’ work for this special issue, and network with others interested in these topics. A total of 12 papers successfully went through peer review and were accepted for this special issue .
The 12 studies included in this special issue apply methodologies from different disciplines – anthropology, sociology, law, demography, and public health – to provide empirical data on an aspect of women’s empowerment during a critical period of the reproductive life-course. The authors were also asked to discuss how their research results could affect future policies and programs. We have grouped the articles into three main subject areas, namely (1) fertility, family planning, and abortion; (2) antenatal care, delivery, and the perinatal period; and (3) maternal health and mortality.
Tuesday, October 31 2017 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Ndola Prata – University of California, Berkeley
Susheela Singh – Guttmacher Institute
For more information: http://ipc2017capetown.iussp.org/