What's New in STEP UP
Upcoming event: The Africa Abortion Research to Policy Meeting will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 29–December 2, 2016. This invitation-only meeting (registration is not available) will include presentations from STEP UP team members and from many other organizations on a range of topics relating to abortion. Please stay tuned for further details.
New draft bill in Kenya to support pregnant girls in school: The Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill, 2016 is being introduced to the Kenyan Senate by its sponsor, Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro (click here to read local news coverage). The introduction of this Bill is thanks in part to increasing attention to the issue of pregnant girls continuing with school and parenting girls returning to school. The work of several partners in the past few years, including STEP UP’s work with the Homa Bay County Department of Education, contributed drawing attention and support to this issue. For more information about these STEP UP activities, please read the baseline study report and meeting report.
Research Report: Senegal has some of the most restrictive laws on abortion in the world. In 2013, the Advocacy Committee for Access to Safe Abortion in Senegal (also called the Taskforce) was created to conduct advocacy for the revision of that law. Since then, abortion is more openly discussed, but the voices of women who have experienced unwanted pregnancy are not heard. STEP UP conducted this qualitative study in partnership with the Taskforce to develop a better understanding of the lives of women who have had an unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape or incest and to bring their voices to the debate on the legalization of safe abortion.
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.
What's New in Unintended Pregnancy
New analysis on what a Trump presidency may mean for family planning funding: PAI’s Craig Lasher has written this analysis based on the funding requests of Republican presidents and considers how it may presage international FP funding in a Trump administration. Trump’s skepticism on the value of foreign assistance and Mike Pence’s long record of hostility towards reproductive rights already paint a dim picture; Lasher outlines examples of how essential the commitment of high-level advocates have been to preventing wholesale axing of funding of international RP/RH programmes during previous Republican administrations.
FP2020 launches fourth annual progress report: FP2020 is a global partnership (established in 2012 and supported by USAID) that aims to provide access to voluntary family planning information and services to 120 million more women and girls in 69 focus countries by 2020. This progress report marks the midway point of this partnership and provides a comprehensive look at progress towards the FP2020 goals of increasing access, improving service quality, expanding choice, and reducing barriers to use of family planning.
New working papers on Quality of Care: The Population Council has published two new working papers completed under the Measuring and Monitoring Quality of Services and Quality of Care project, funded by the Packard Foundation. The first paper, "How does quality of care relate to a right-based approach to family planning programs?" written by Jan Kumar, compares definitions of quality and contrasts them with the essentials of a right-based approach. The second paper, "Measuring quality of care: A review of previously used methodologies and indicators," written by Katherine Tumlinson, systematically reviews the methodologies and indicators used so far for measuring quality of care.
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.
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