Four priorities on women’s health for new WHO chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus

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Opinion: 4 priorities on women’s health for new WHO chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus
By Shannon Kowalski
23 May 2017

Today, the race to head the global health agency charged with responding to pandemics and setting health policy has culminated with the selection of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. As next director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros will take the helm as countries such as the United States are stepping up their efforts to roll back progress on women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The next WHO director-general is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The former minister of health of Ethiopia was elected as the new leader of the U.N. global health body by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday.

In this context, it will take a particularly courageous leader to ensure that the world’s prominent health body does not let politics trump evidence. Instead, the WHO’s new leader must take the bold action needed to ensure that every woman and girl everywhere can exercise her right to control her body, protect her health and live a healthy, empowered life.

Here are four priorities for women and girls that should be at the top of Tedros’ agenda.

Continued at source: Devex: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-4-priorities-on-women-s-health-for-new-who-chief-dr-tedros-ghebreyesus-90335

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The Global Gag Rule: America’s Deadly Export

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The Global Gag Rule: America’s Deadly Export

The policy that plucks U.S. dollars from any international health care initiative tied to abortion has been reinstated by President Trump — and a lot of African women are going to die as a result.

By Jill Filipovic

Photography by Nichole Sobecki
March 20, 2017

Fred Gbagbo recognized the woman right away, even though the blood had drained from her face and was instead pooling between her legs. There was no trace of the pushy, even demanding young woman in this listless body lying semiconscious in front of him. During their first encounter just hours earlier, he’d concluded that she was a devil trying to tempt angels. Now, seeing her so pale, he wasn’t so sure.

That morning, she had interrupted a pre-work prayer he was conducting with other student doctors in the gynecology unit of a teaching hospital in Ghana; she was pregnant, she said, and she wanted an abortion. Gbagbo and his colleagues, devout Christians all, knew what to do. They told her no, preached her the Gospel, and sent her on her way, proud they had so uncompromisingly cast her out, certain they had deterred her from sin.

But here she was back again, and Gbagbo couldn’t shake the nagging, nauseating feeling that perhaps it was he who had sinned. Their examination revealed a perforated uterus, the likely result of an attempt to perform the abortion herself, or the botched efforts of a local freelancer; either way, she wasn’t talking, and her body told only the worst of the story. They took her to the operating room, but it didn’t matter. She died there hours later, a first-year medical student and her parents’ only daughter.

A decade later, one question still haunts Gbagbo: “Who killed this poor girl?”

The possible answer — that in refusing the woman care, it was Gbagbo who was culpable for her death — branded a mark of guilt on his heart so deep that it set him on a new path. Not long after, he started his work as an advocate for safe abortion, which led him to become a leader in developing Ghana’s national policy on comprehensive abortion care. Now, he is the national director of medical development in Ghana for Marie Stopes, an international NGO, overseeing private facilities that provide family planning, infertility treatment, prenatal care, and safe abortions for women in need.

Continued at source: Foreign Policy: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/20/the-global-gag-rule-americas-deadly-export-trump-africa-women-reproductive-rights/

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U.S. gag rule garrotes global health

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U.S. gag rule garrotes global health

By Sue Davis
Posted on February 5, 2017

The first action President Trump took on his first work day in office was to sign a memorandum signaling a full-fledged attack on health care around the world. He made this assault, directed ostensibly at women’s health and rights, on Jan. 23, the day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and two days after the 5-million-global Women’s March. Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

Continued at link
Source, Workers' World: http://www.workers.org/2017/02/05/u-s-gag-rule-garrotes-global-health/#.WJj5G7qXDMg

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Trump Makes the Global Gag Rule on Abortion Even Worse

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Trump Makes the Global Gag Rule on Abortion Even Worse

By Margaret Talbot January 25, 2017

In 1984, at a population conference in Mexico City, the Reagan Administration brought domestic abortion politics into the arena of international aid for the first time. The Administration declared that “the United States does not consider abortion an acceptable element of family planning programs and will no longer contribute to those of which it is a part.” The so-called Mexico City Policy has been in effect for seventeen of the past thirty-two years—espoused by every Republican Administration, renounced under every Democratic one, including that of President Barack Obama. One of the policy’s requirements is that the United States not contribute to nongovernmental organizations that “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” To receive American funding for any of their family-planning work, in other words, groups would have to promise that they wouldn’t even speak of abortion—hence the nickname that the policy’s exasperated critics soon coined: the global gag rule.

[continued at link]
Source, New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trump-makes-the-global-gag-rule-on-abortion-even-worse

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Access to Safe Abortion Care in Ethiopia Has Improved Following Expansion of Services

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Despite Progress, Unsafe Abortion is Still Common
Jan 13, 2017
Guttmacher Institute

After liberalizing Ethiopia’s abortion law in 2005, the government implemented programs designed to train health care providers, to equip facilities and expand the services they offer and to integrate abortion care into broader reproductive health services. These efforts have resulted in significant improvements in access to abortion and postabortion care in the country. A new study reveals that, although many procedures continued to occur outside health facilities, often under unsafe conditions, the share of abortions that took place in health facilities nearly doubled between 2008 and 2014.

[continued at link]
Source: Guttmacher Institute

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Sierra Leone delegates return from Abortion Confab

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By A Special Correspondent
Dec 16, 2016, Awareness News

A two-man delegation from Sierra Leone has returned to Freetown after adequately representing the country in the “2016 Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy” held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The delegation comprising Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Hon. Zulianatu Cooper and Senior Medical Superintendent at the Princess Christian Maternity (Cottage) Hospital Obstetrician/Gynecologists Dr. Alimamy Philip Koroma joined 250 researchers, policymakers, advocates, health care providers, youth, journalists, and donors, all focused on reducing the detrimental impact of unsafe abortion on African women, especially among young women and adolescents.

[continued at link]
Source: Awareness Times, Sierra Leone

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The Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy Conference Declaration

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Guttmacher Institute, International (Ethiopia), Dec 15, 2016

During the last decade, women in Africa have made progress in achieving greater gender equality, financial security and access to health care. Women have assumed positions of leadership and governance in international forums, national offices and at community levels. Young African women and men have grown more vocal in their support for women’s equality.

But throughout the region, women and girls are still denied the ability to control their reproductive lives. In many places, reproductive health care, including safe abortion care, is inaccessible—particularly for young, rural, poor, displaced and uneducated women—for a variety of reasons including legal restrictions, cost and cultural stigma. This stigma extends to health care providers who may not provide abortion care as a result.

[continued at link]
Source: Guttmacher Institute

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Ethiopia: Comprehensive Abortion Care to Decline Maternal Death

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11 December 2016
The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa)
By Girmachew Gashaw

Induced abortion or the deliberate termination of pregnancy is one of the most controversial issues in legal discourse. As a legal issue, abortion is usually discussed in light of the principles of criminal law. Depending on circumstances, however, abortion can also be discussed from the standpoint of constitutional law.

In the former case, the issue usually takes the form of criminalizing or decriminalizing the act, while in the latter, the issue becomes whether a pregnant woman has a constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. The issue thus usually involves the competing arguments in favour of the "right" of the fetus to be brought onto life (i.e. personhood) vis-à-vis the right of the mother to abortion based on her interests and choice.

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Source: All Africa

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Ethiopia to Host Africa Regional Conference On Abortion

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29 November 2016, Addis Standard (Addis Ababa)

Experts will discuss issues ranging from research to policy into action toward ending unsafe abortion in Africa

Addis Abeba Nov. 29/2016 - The Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy will be held from today to Friday, December 2, 2016, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. According to organizers, the Guttmacher Institute, African Population and Health Research Center and Ipas, the conference "builds on a decade of work linking research to action to reduce unsafe abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa."

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Source: All Africa

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Coalition Brings Together Experts for the Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy

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November 28, 2016, News Release, Guttmacher.org

Working to Transform Research into Action toward Ending Unsafe Abortion in All Parts of Africa

The Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy will be held from Tuesday, November 29 to Friday, December 2, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This conference builds on a decade of work linking research to action to reduce unsafe abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The three-day event will bring together 250 researchers, policymakers, advocates, health care providers, youth, journalists and donors who are focused on reducing the detrimental impact of unsafe abortion on African women, especially young women and adolescents, as well as on their families and on society as a whole.

[continued at link]
Source: Guttmacher.org

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