What's New in STEP UP
Capitol Hill Presentation on Safe Abortion: As a part of Population Action International’s US Capitol Hill Global Women’s Health Series, STEP UP team members Nafissatou Diop and Joanne Gleason discussed the consequences of limited access to safe and legal abortion on women’s health and well-being in the developing world, including the negative impact the Global Gag Rule has had in making it more difficult to access family planning services and decreasing access to safe and legal abortion. The presentation included descriptions of firsthand experiences of Senegalese women who had survived unsafe abortion, and framed the critical role that the US government and its staff can play, in particular as related to the implications of US policies around access to safe and legal abortion in the developing world.
Dissemination event in Senegal: In collaboration with the Senegal Ministry of Health, the National Assembly, and other key stakeholders, STEP UP partners hosted a dissemination meeting to engage decision makers in utilizing STEP UP evidence on unwanted pregnancy among adolescents in Senegal. The opening ceremony was presided over by the Director General of Health Dr. Pape Amadou Diack and the Hon. Aimé Assine, President of the Health Commission at the National Assembly. Their remarks, event highlights, and recommendations were featured in national media coverage. An interview with Hon. Assine was also published; he emphasized Parliamentarians’ willingness to collaborate on addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health needs and the Health Commission’s strong commitment to passing the law to, within a clearly-defined framework, legalize abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Presentation on STEP UP Safe Abortion updates: In a meeting that engaged DFID and external partners, STEP UP presented updates on our safe abortion work and on the importance of this research and their policy and programme impacts to the sector. A rich discussion touched on the opportunities for disaggregation of research results, considerations of how the needs of adolescent girls differs from those of adult women, and the future of research on safe abortion and sexual and reproductive health.
Research Report: "Adolescent sexual and reproductive health situation: Insights from the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey": Although estimates from the 2014 Kenya DHS indicated improvements in key reproductive, maternal and child health outcomes in Kenya, it is likely that adolescent outcomes remain poor given the challenges associated with adequately addressing their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs. This report presents findings of deeper analysis of the 2014 Kenya DHS on key SRH outcomes among adolescent girls and boys age 15–19 in Kenya. Understanding the situation of adolescents is essential for identifying areas or sub-groups that need attention and for the design of appropriate interventions.
Journal Article: "Previous induced abortion among young women seeking abortion-related care in Kenya: A cross-sectional analysis": Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of death among young women in sub-Saharan Africa, and although having multiple induced abortions may increase risk, there has been minimal research pertaining to young women in this region who have had multiple induced abortions. In the research that produced this article, STEP UP assessed this question among Kenyan females aged 12–24, and indicated that nearly one in ten of young women seeking abortion-related care in Kenya reported a previous induced abortion. Not only are comprehensive PAC services needed, but service providers must ensure that clients also receive comprehensive contraceptive counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies that may result in further induced abortions.
Meeting Report: "The consumer perspective: A consultation with senior health officials from developing countries on standards of evidence for reproductive and maternal health care": The Population Council (through the STEP UP consortium and the Evidence Project) and the HIP Collaboration hosted the final meeting in a series of three consultative meetings on the topic of standards of evidence in reproductive and maternal health. This event brought together “producers” and “consumers” of evidence in order to (1) better understand how developing country decision-makers vet the recommendations that emerged from the second meeting, and (2) to learn how to better generate and package evidence to meet the needs of decision-makers. Four major categories of recommendations that emerged from this meeting were: global mechanisms, country mechanisms, implementation research and decision science, and packaging and communication of evidence.
What's New in Unintended Pregnancy
Special supplement published on adolescent SRH: A new review from WHO on what works to support the sexual and reproductive health of youth has been published in a special supplement of the Journal of Adolescent Health: What works? Systematic Assessment of Sexual and Reproductive Interventions for Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Hormonal contraception and risk of HIV acquisition: A new review of evidence: Guttmacher has released a new review which raises increased concern about a potential causal association between the contraceptive method DMPA (commonly sold as Depo-Provera) and HIV acquisition. This updates a previous review by incorporating evidence published between January 2014 and January 2016; while it shows no increased risk of HIV acquisition for women using oral contraceptive pills and other contraceptive methods, it does heighten previous concerns about such a relationship with DMPA. Yet since the evidence comes from observational studies, it remains unclear whether this correlation is definitively causal.
Call for abstracts: The SVRI Forum 2017 is accepting abstracts for their fifth annual conference in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil 18-21 September 2017. The SVRI (Sexual Violence Research Initiative) Forum is the largest worldwide conference dedicated to research on prevention and response to sexual and intimate partner violence. Submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations by 1 February 2017.
Call for papers: The Population Association of America has released its call for papers for the 2017 PAA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, USA. the Call for Papers and other information on the PAA Website. Admissions will be accepted online until 29 September 2016.
Awards available for innovation in preventing gender-based violence: Violence against women is both a violation of women’s human rights as well as a public health problem with consequences for women’s reproductive health, including impeding their ability to use family planning. The World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) have announced a new open call for awards recognizing promising innovations aimed at preventing gender-based violence. Applications must be received online by 1 October 2016.
Upcoming Event: "Evidence 2016" will be held in Pretoria South Africa on 20–22 September 2016. This event (organised by the Africa Evidence Network) aims to encourage and promote evidence-informed decision-making in Africa and contribute to the development of effective public policies, efficient implementation of services, and joint learning on interventions that tackle poverty and inequality in African countries. Abstracts must be submitted by 31 May 2016. Click here for more information.
New Resource: The Newlywed-Subharambha Project concept aims to reach out to Nepalese young couples who are planning their conjugal lives but may not have thought about planning their family. In an attempt to increase low rates of contraceptive use in Nepal, this newly-launched website offers both wedding services as well as advice on family planning and reproductive health.
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