Maternal & Reproductive Health



How a Medical Mystery in Brazil Led Doctors to Zika – The New York Times

A sudden, sharp increase in babies with “no foreheads and very strange heads” was baffling doctors in Brazil. That set off a search for answers Read More


National, regional, and worldwide estimates of stillbirth rates in 2015, with trends…

Progress in reducing the large worldwide stillbirth burden remains slow and insufficient to meet national targets such as for ENAP. Stillbirths are increasingly being counted at a local level, but countries and the global community must further improve the quality and comparability of data, and ensure that this is more clearly linked to accountability processes including the Sustainable Development Goals.


The US Supreme Court and the Future of Reproductive Health

See the article here: The US Supreme Court and the Future of Reproductive Health


Breast-feeding boosts intelligence and global growth

Ditching milk substitutes could generate US$302 billion a year by improving cognition, researchers find.

Zika Virus Sheds Light on Shortcomings in Family Planning and Reproductive Health

As the Zika virus spreads across the Americas, it’s shedding light on the systemic shortcomings some countries face in providing family planning and reproductive health services.Last week, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global public health emergency. It has been linked (although not yet conclusively, we are cautioned) to severe birth defects in babies whose mothers contract the virus during pregnancy. More than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly—a birth defect marked by an unusually small head and an underdeveloped brain—have been reported in Brazil since October. For families already living in poverty, providing ongoing medical care for their disabled children will be especially challenging.So when the vice minister of health in El Salvador recommended that women postpone getting pregnant for up to two years, it begged the question of how exactly they should do that.  Meanwhile, as the virus continues to spread wildly, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are in a tough spot.In many of the Latin American countries most affected, abortion is illegal and while modern contraception is lawful, using it goes against church teachings for the millions in these countries who identify as Roman Catholic. And, in many areas, health services and commodities like contraceptives are in short supply.So when the vice minister of health in El Salvador recommended that women postpone getting pregnant for up to two years, it begged the question of how exactly they should do that

U.N. SG Ban Calls For New, Unharmful Rites Of Passage To Replace FGM

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Replace female genital mutilation with new rites of passage, says U.N. chief “New, unharmful rites of passage should replace female genital mutilation, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday after new data showed there were more victims of the custom than previously estimated. The call by the U.N.

Sierra Leone’s Last Known Ebola Patient Released From Hospital; Ebola Widows Struggle To…

Reuters: Sierra Leone discharges last known Ebola patient “Sierra Leone’s last known Ebola patient has been released from hospital, medical officials said on Monday, allowing authorities to begin a six-week countdown before declaring the West African country free of the virus once more…” (Fofana, 2/8). Thomson Reuters Foundation: Liberia’s Ebola widows learn to become the…More

“I wish we knew more . . . I wish we could do more,” a White House request, and more,…

Categories: What we’re readingWith confirmation that the Zika virus was transmitted sexually in Dallas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its guidelines to protect pregnant women from infection to include recommendations that men who have traveled to areas where the virus has surfaced use condoms or abstain from sex with pregnant partners. At […](Read more…)

Latin American Nations Must Consider Access To Contraceptives, Abortion, Human Rights Of Women… U.N. Human Rights Chief Urges Expanded Access to Contraception, Abortion in Light of Zika Virus “U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Latin American governments Friday to increase access to ‘reproductive health services,’ including emergency contraception and abortion, in light of the rise of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Brazil…More

Brazilian Researchers Detect Zika In Urine, Saliva, Continue Search For Answers On Virus’s…

Agence France-Presse: Zika detected in urine, saliva: top Brazilian researchers “Brazil’s top research institute said Friday that Zika has been detected in urine and saliva, but added that there is no proof the virus can be transmitted through those fluids…” (2/5). New York Times: Brazil Finds Zika Virus in Human Urine and Saliva, but Risk…More

Men Who Visit Zika-Affected Areas Should Use Condoms, Consider Sexual Abstinence, Especially…

News outlets report on the CDC’s Interim Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus — United States, 2016. Associated Press: CDC: Men who were in Zika areas should use condoms “U.S. health officials issued guidelines Friday to prevent the sexual transmission of the Zika virus, telling men who have been to outbreak areas…More

Latin American, Caribbean Nations Address Zika Virus Outbreaks, Especially Among Pregnant…

GlobalPost: There’s a chance Venezuela’s Zika outbreak is worse than Brazil’s (Tegel, 2/5). Reuters: Puerto Rico declares public health emergency over Zika virus (Davies/Cohen, 2/5). Reuters: Doctors puzzle over severity of defects in some Brazilian babies (Berkrot/Boadle, 2/8). USA TODAY: More than 3,100 pregnant women infected with Zika in Colombia (Stanglin, 2/6).

E.U.’s Efforts To End FGM Should Address Underlying Discrimination Of Girls, Women

Devex: We can end FGM in a generation Madina Bocoum Daff, female genital mutilation project manager at Plan International Mali “…[Female genital mutilation (FGM)] is a major violation of a girl’s rights and a brutal manifestation of the violence and discrimination to which girls and women the world over are subjected. It has no justification…More

Performing Arts Raises Awareness Of FGM/C In Egypt

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Breaking the Silence on FGM/C in Egypt: One Activist’s Story Catherine Russell, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, speaks with Nada Sabet, activist and co-founder and current manager of Noon Creative Enterprise, about how her organization is using performing arts and working with UNFPA to raise awareness of and end the practice…More

Malaria in pregnancy: a passive surveillance study of pregnant women in low transmission areas…

Malaria causes a significant burden in highly endemic areas where children and pregnant women are more susceptible to severe disease and death, however, in low transmission settings malaria in pregnant women i…

In West Africa, mHero Inspires Country to Country Collaboration

During the Ebola crisis my fellow Sierra Leoneans and I saw how conflicting messages and misperceptions about the disease contributed to its spread.I began working with IntraHealth International as a consultant in November 2015, right after the World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free. The consultancy was an opportunity for me to help improve the health system in my country. My assignment is to help the Ministry of Health and Sanitation implement two technologies.The first is iHRIS—open source software that helps countries track and manage their health workforce data, including mobile phone numbers. The second is mHero—a mobile phone-based communications system that connects ministry staff with frontline health workers via two-way SMS text messages.I am excited to support the ministry’s implementation of mHero and confident that it will strengthen health information systems in Sierra Leone.Learning from Liberia’s planLike in Sierra Leone, the Ebola crisis severely weakened Liberia’s health sector and revealed system weaknesses, including a fragmented health information system. At the time of the outbreak, health officials found it difficult to obtain reliable information to make timely decisions

Measuring the impact of non-monetary incentives on facility delivery in rural Zambia: A…

Objectives In Zambia, only 56% of rural women deliver in a health facility, and improving facility delivery rates is a priority of the Zambian government.

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