On the Radar in Reproductive Health: The President’s Picks for 2012
The year 2011 saw many significant moments affecting women’s reproductive health, including a major population milestone, promising breakthroughs in HIV, and positive steps for the health of mothers. As we begin a new year, EngenderHealth President Pamela W. Barnes highlights five priority issues to watch for in reproductive health:
- The Youth Imperative
Some 27% of the world’s population today is under the age of 15. Most of them live in developing countries. As youth enter or continue on into their reproductive years in the coming decades, their need for health information, services, and contraceptive options will surpass the needs we already see today. To meet this demand, it is essential that we strengthen programming that is sensitive to the unique needs of adolescents.
- HIV Risks and Hormonal Contraception
Last October, Lancet Infectious Diseases published a study suggesting that hormonal contraceptives may double a woman’s risk of transmitting or contracting HIV. This is a very serious discussion that EngenderHealth intends to participate in very closely in the coming months. But at the moment, we do not believe there is cause to change contraceptive policy or programming, given the methodological limitations of the study, along with inconsistent findings from previous studies on this subject.
Stay tuned for developments on this issue by visiting our blog or subscribing to our monthly e-newsletters.
- Engaging Men in Family Planning
The vast majority of reproductive health programming focuses on educating women. But in many places around the world, the unfortunate reality is that women still lack the sole power to make decisions affecting their sexual health. Bringing men into the conversation, therefore, is vital to inform them of the transformative benefits of family planning, maternal health, and other services—not just for their wives, but for the entire family.
Learn more about what we’re doing to engage men through our global Men As Partners® program.
- Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention
Voluntary medical male circumcision services have been slow to scale up across Africa, even though the procedure is proven to dramatically reduce female-to-male HIV transmission. Finding a way to accelerate these services will be critical to achieving an AIDS-free generation. Some recent efforts that have shown promise include a new joint framework by PEPFAR and UNAIDS to expand male circumcision services, along with ongoing research by EngenderHealth on the Shang Ring, an innovative device for male circumcision.
See the latest on our research to scale up male circumcision to prevent HIV.
- Investments in Global Health
The last two budgetary cycles in the U.S. government have generated heated debates nationwide about women’s reproductive health and rights. Through our advocacy efforts, we are working to maintain critical investments in family planning, maternal health, and HIV treatment and prevention programs that are needed to save lives. Any decrease in support would be devastating for the health of women and families and would risk reversing the important gains that have been made in each of these areas.
Help us by taking action in our year-round advocacy campaigns, which you can access by joining our mailing list.
What YOU Can Do:
We at EngenderHealth have high hopes for continued progress in the year 2012. You can help us accelerate success by visiting our blog, following us on Twitter and Facebook, and joining our mailing list, where you can learn about and support our advocacy campaigns year-round to promote sexual and reproductive health. And if you’re feeling generous in the New Year, please consider giving—any support will go a long way.
Pamela W. Barnes, President and CEO