Reproductive Health

Women and Girls at the Center of Planetary Health Solutions

Ndola Prata

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)


Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health

Ndola Prata
Karen Weidert


The World Health Organization (WHO) (2019B) defines adolescence as the period between 10 and 19 years of age, when children transition into adults. In 2020, there will be an estimated 1.25 billion adolescents in the world, with almost 90% of them residing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Adolescence is a phase marked by both biological changes and brain development. However, the biological maturity often precedes psychosocial maturity, affecting how young people respond to the new risks and opportunities that also emerge in adolescence (World Health...

Shining the light on abortion: Drivers of online abortion searches across the United States in 2018

Ndola Prata
Sylvia Guendelman
Elizabeth Pleasants
Elena Yon
Alan Hubbard


Legal abortion restrictions, stigma and fear can inhibit people’s voices in clinical and social

settings posing barriers to decision-making and abortion care. The internet allows individuals
to make informed decisions privately. We explored what state-level policy dimensions were
associated with volume of Google searches on abortion and on the abortion pill in 2018.


We used Google Trends to quantify the relative search volume (RSV) for “abortion” and
“abortion pill” (or “abortion pills” hereafter referred to as “abortion pill”)...

Microbicides and HIV: Help or Hindrance?

Eran Karmon
Malcolm Potts
Wayne Getz

We present a simple mathematical model for assessing the effects of introducing a microbicide as an HIV infection protective method. As very little is known about the in vivo efficacy of microbicides, we ran sample scenarios for microbicides of various efficacies. We found that, in general, if existing condom usage in a community is low, introducing a microbicide will most likely have a positive impact on HIV incidence as abandonment of condom use in favor of microbicides will not play a significant role. If condom use in a community is high, though, attrition of condom users could play a...

Franchising of health services in low-income countries

Dominic Montagu

Where do the poor go for health care? The answer may surprise you. It is not the government-sponsored public sector; it is usually the private sector. In doing so, the poor pay more for health products and services than many richer people. But, in resource-poor settings, it is often their only option.

Grouping existing providers under a franchised brand, supported by training, advertising and supplies, is a potentially important way of improving access to and assuring quality of some types of clinical medical services. While franchising has great potential to increase service...

Meeting the contraceptive and AIDS prevention needs of people living on a dollar a day

Malcolm Potts

The new millennium sees the largest cohort of young people in history entering its fertile years. Many of these people are too poor to pay the full cost of modern contraception, but the money available for subsidizing their needs is exceedingly limited. The AIDS pandemic is placing additional, unprecedented demand on already overstretched resources. Existing methods of contraception that are well established and off-patent can be produced in bulk at low cost, and will remain the backbone of future programmes. The use of misoprostol as an abortifacient is likely to spread rapidly. New...

Tackling India’s HIV epidemic: lessons from Africa

Malcolm Potts
Julia Walsh

India stands on the brink of a major HIV epidemic. However, by examining where public health initiatives went wrong in Africa, the international community may be able to help India avoid the devastating effects seen in Africa

Published in BMJ, 6 21 2003, 326(7403):1389-92

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Using microbicides to fight the spread of HIV

Malcolm Potts
R Short

his letter to Science discusses the future of microbicides

“If we are to prevent the AIDS pandemic from overwhelming developing countries in the next decade, we desperately need to develop new methods for preventing the sexual transmission of HIV. These must be available, acceptable, and affordable to that quarter of the world’s population eking out a living on less than $2 a day.

Published in Science, 4 18 2003, 300(5618):431

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Where will Benedict XVI lead his sheep?

Martha Campbell
Malcolm Potts

Since the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), a majority of theologians and the vast majority of the laity have accepted sexual intercourse as an intrinsic part of a loving relationship. However, the white puff of smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel signifying the election of Pope Benedict XVI will turn into a black cloud for reproductive freedom for a billion Catholics. In the short term it may also hurt non-Catholics, as the new Pope’s stand on these basic human issues may encourage other fundamentalists to impose new constraints.

Published in Journal of Family Planning...