Ndola Prata, MD, MSC, presented at the Stanford WHSDM Women’s Global Health Forum. Dr. Prata is a Professor in Residence, Maternal Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Californina, Berkeley; Fred H. Bixby Endowed Chair in Population and Family Planning, Director, Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability, Co-Director, Innovations for Youth (I4Y) School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley Co-Director, Center of Expertise on Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment University of California, Global Health Institute (UCGHI)
It is imperative to make family planning more accessible in low resource settings. The poorest couples have the highest fertility, the lowest contraceptive use and the highest unmet need for contraception. It is also in the low resource settings where maternal and child mortality is the highest. Family planning can contribute to improvements in maternal and child health, especially in low resource settings where overall access to health services is limited. Four critical steps should be taken to increase access to family planning in resource-poor settings: (i) increase knowledge about the safety of family planning methods; (ii) ensure contraception is genuinely affordable to the poorest families; (iii) ensure supply of contraceptives by making family planning a permanent line item in healthcare system’s budgets and (iv) take immediate action to remove barriers hindering access to family planning methods. In Africa, there are more women with an unmet need for family planning than women currently using modern methods. Making family planning accessible in low resource settings will help decrease the existing inequities in achieving desired fertility at individual and country level. In addition, it could help slow population growth within a human rights framework. The United Nations Population Division projections for the year 2050 vary between a high of 10.6 and a low of 7.4 billion. Given that most of the growth is expected to come from today’s resource-poor settings, easy access to family planning could make a difference of billions in the world in 2050.
To learn more, access the paper here.
The UC San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health is proud to share findings from their 2019 study on sexual harassment and assault in the United States, “Measuring #MeToo: A National Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault”. This work, conducted in partnership with Stop Street Harassment, Raliance, and Promundo, non-governmental organizations focused on prevention of harmful social norms and violence nationally and globally, was conducted with a nationally representative survey of 1,182 women and 1,037 men. Key findings of this study are that 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime nationwide, and approximately one-third of people admit to perpetration of sexual harassment. However, only 1-2% of individuals has ever been accused of sexual harassment or assault, indicating that sexual harassment is widespread, particularly among women, but accusations remain very rare.
Last week, students from the Bixby Center joined students from all over California to lobby senators at the Capitol in support of SB 24, a fully-funded bill that would mandate California UCs and CSUs to provide medication abortion. Community colleges and private institutions may opt-in to receive funding grants as well.
Trust students! Do not allow barriers to their healthcare access!
#justCARE #SB24 #caleg
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.