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By the end of this month, the global population will have reached its newest milestone: 7 billion. With one-third of the world's population under age 19, and 85% living in developing countries, there is an urgent need for young people to access quality information and services to achieve sexual and reproductive health. Learn how one young couple in Nepal are championing reproductive health in their community to promote stronger, healthier lives. Also in this issue:


Policy Updates


The Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth has partnered with Ashoka to release an e-book that tells the stories of the Young Champions of Maternal Health, a fellowship program aimed at supporting a new generation of leaders in maternal health. In Their Own Words describes the successes and challenges of their nine-month experience working with Ashoka Fellow mentors.

Nepalese Couple Inspire Peers
In small communities in Nepal, marrying out of romance rarely happens. But for Ram Kumar and Kaushalya Devi, it did. The couple fell in love and got married as teenagers; they now live in a small village 160 miles from Kathmandu. Find out how, together, Ram and Kaushalya learned about family planning and chose to dedicate their time to helping their peers make thoughtful choices about their reproductive health. Read more.

Study Suggests Link between Hormonal Contraceptives and HIV Risk
The Lancet Infectious Diseases has published a study showing that the use of injectable contraceptives may double the risk that women will contract HIV. And when the injectable is used by HIV-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected. While the findings are serious, experts agree the study has limitations that warrant further investigation and that the results do not yet call for any change in contraceptive policies or programming. The World Health Organization plans to convene a meeting of scientific experts in January to determine whether the evidence is strong enough to revise current guidance around hormonal contraception and HIV risk. Read more.

New Study: Global Maternal, Newborn Health Progress Falling Short of Goals
While progress in improving maternal and child health is accelerating, most developing countries will not meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals set by the global community in 2000, according to a new report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Today, 31 of the 137 countries are on track to achieve MDG 4 (on child mortality), 13 will achieve MDG 5 (on maternal health), and only nine are currently on track to meet both goals. These findings, however, do not negate the incredible progress that has been made across the globe, including a 40% drop in maternal mortality in Bangladesh in less than a decade and a 20% decline in maternal mortality in Tanzania between 2004 and 2008.


Global Perspectives

Strength in Collective Action for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Health
A high-level alliance of global development agencies established last year has reported success in improving health in 10 focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Created to support the United Nations Every Woman Every Child effort, the Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health provides “added value, not added work” that is helping to boost the number of trained midwives and streamline the contraceptive supply process, among other benefits, according to its first-year progress report (PDF, 2.3MB). The Alliance includes U.S., British, and Australian development agencies, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. EngenderHealth this year announced a new commitment under Every Woman Every Child to build the capacity of health professionals and to protect the ability to make informed and voluntary decisions about sexual and reproductive health.

World Bank Launches New Blog to Promote Strong Health Systems
The World Bank has launched a new blog, Investing in Health, to highlight the importance of strengthening health systems to save lives and eradicate poverty. Investing in Health is the newest in a collection of World Bank blogs dedicated to global development education. The inaugural post is a two-minute animated video that uses maternal and child health to demonstrate the critical importance of health systems and their broader linkages to education, infrastructure, clean water, and poverty.


In the News <empty>

House Foreign Affairs Committee Votes to End Support for UNFPA
In a strict party-line vote, the Republican-led House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-17 yesterday to prohibit United States financial support for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). President Barack Obama had requested $50 million for the group. In denying this request, Republicans cited UNFPA's work in China, where they believe funds could be used to coercively enforce that country's one-child policy. Democrats on the committee offered various amendments to allow U.S. money to UNFPA to be directed to specific programs, such as ending child marriage and female genital mutilation, preventing and repairing obstetric fistula, and providing safe birth kits to pregnant women following a natural disaster. Republicans uniformly voted against each one. We will continue to keep you updated on this and other policy developments.

Senators Challenge House Cuts to Family Planning, Reproductive Health
In a challenge to the dramatic cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July, the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to provide $700 million for international family planning and reproductive health in fiscal year 2012—a $239 million increase over the amount proposed in the House version of the State Department and Foreign Operations bill. Senate appropriators also voted to block the Global Gag Rule and to permanently prohibit its imposition under future leadership. Read more.

In the News <empty>

A Dialogue on Maternal Morbidities (Washington, DC)
On September 27, the Maternal Health Task Force, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Woodrow Wilson Center co-hosted an event to address maternal morbidities and the serious social and economic consequences they carry. The event, Silent Suffering: Maternal Morbidities in Developing Countries, is part of an ongoing Dialogue Series addressing issues of maternal health. Speakers included Fistula Care Director Karen Beattie and Maternal Health Task Force Director Ann Blanc.

Revival of the Partograph in Maternal Health (New York City)
On November 15-16, EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care project will host an event, Revitalizing the Partograph—Does the Evidence Support a Global Call to Action? at the New Yorker Hotel. The partograph is a simple tool used to manage the progress of labor, allowing health providers to detect and respond early to potential complications.

In the News <empty>

On September 29, the Guardian Reporter highlighted President Pamela W. Barnes’ trip to Tanzania to visit health workers and facilities supported by the ACQUIRE Tanzania Project and the CHAMPION Project.

EngenderHealth’s Edith Ronah Mukisa is featured in a new book, Extraordinary: Significant Women of Uganda, for her work in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in Uganda since 1994. Edith is the Project Manager with EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care project in Uganda.

In its Summer 2011 issue (PDF, 4.7MB) Voice Male Magazine highlighted MenEngage, a global alliance dedicated to engaging men and boys to reduce gender inequality. EngenderHealth is a founding member of the alliance.

The Global Post showcased the work of EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care project in an August 31 blog post.

On August 30, Medscape’s Global Mama blog highlighted the Maternal Health Task Force’s “WASH” blog series, dedicated to addressing water, sanitation, and hygiene as it relates to maternal health.

New Publications and Resources <empty>

A new report (PDF, 1.4MB) by the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child includes EngenderHealth’s new commitment to strengthen the capacity of health professionals and protect the ability of individuals to make informed and voluntary decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

The RESPOND Project, for which EngenderHealth is the managing partner, published Kenyan Family Planning Providers Leverage Local Resources to Train Their Peers on Long-Acting and Permanent Methods (PDF, 3.3MB), a project brief describing RESPOND's work with Kenya's Ministry of Public Health to improve health care providers' capacity to offer long-acting and permanent methods of contraception.

The RESPOND Project has also published Stay Healthy: A Gender Transformative HIV Prevention Curriculum for Youth in Namibia (PDF, 2.1MB).

EngenderHealth's Clinical Quality team's Infection Prevention: A Reference Booklet for Health Care Providers, 2nd Edition (PDF, 900KB) is now available. This revised and updated handbook covers infection prevention topics including handwashing, gloving, aseptic technique, use and disposal of sharps, instrument processing, housekeeping, and waste disposal.



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