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  • Blog post
    Leyla is now 21, with a four-year-old son named Salim.

    Leyla is now 21, with a four-year-old son named Salim. Photo by Mina Kaci.

    She was like an earthquake: shaking everyone around her to the core, exposing their fault lines, damaging their usual demeanor, and challenging their beliefs in what should be the order of things. Unlike other huge natural phenomena like typhoons and hurricanes, earthquakes don’t have names—but this one did, because it was a positive earthquake. It was called Leyla.

    Leyla is the new normal for girls in Niger. A girl of 18 who spoke her mind, she was at the youth center to talk about how she benefited from an eight-month empowerment program for adolescent girls to reduce child marriage and teen pregnancy. Leyla had been chosen to speak because she had completed a program called Illimin, which in Houasa means “the knowledge.” Developed by UNFPA, Illimin has since become the flagship program of the government of Niger and is a successful model of what works in adolescent empowerment and child marriage and teen pregnancy reduction.

  • Blog post
    David Alexander, Liz Futrell, and Sarah Harlan pose for a pre-interview selfie with Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, 120 Under 40 winner from South Africa.

    David Alexander, Liz Futrell, and Sarah Harlan pose for a pre-interview selfie with Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, 120 Under 40 winner from South Africa. Photo by David Alexander.

    There’s no better way to take the pulse of a movement than to listen to what its youngest leaders have to say. Last week, K4Health and FP2020’s Family Planning Voices initiative did just that in New York City, when we interviewed the 2016 World Contraception Day Ambassadors and several winners of 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders about their commitment to expanding awareness of and access to contraception and related services to underserved populations. We spoke with young leaders from Uganda, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Lesotho, Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, Kenya, and the U.S. about the work they’re being recognized for and their priorities for the future. While their countries, backgrounds, disciplines, and programs are diverse, several common threads that highlight the innovation that young people are bringing to the movement emerged from our conversations.

  • Resources

    In 2014, the Senegal Ministry of Health and Social Action (MOHSA) began the development of a national eHealth strategy. This report documents the process of developing the Senegal eHealth Strategic Plan; compares the process to the steps in the WHO/ITU eHealth Strategy Toolkit; and shares successes and challenges encountered during the process, to inform the work of those involved in similar efforts.

  • Blog post
    Girls making crafts at an ECHO-funded youth center in Jordan's Zaatari camp.

    Girls making crafts at an ECHO-funded youth center in Jordan's Zaatari camp. Photo credit: © EU/ECHO/Peter Biro via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

    Zahra is a 14-year-old girl living in Jordan. When she was five years old, she dreamt of going to school. When she was ten and in school, she dreamt of becoming a doctor.

    At 12 years old, Zahra fled Syria with her family. As refugees, her parents encountered a life of unprecedented instability and poverty. Desperate to secure a future for his daughter, Zahra’s father arranged for her to marry a man in his 20s. Zahra protested, but she had no other options: She wasn’t in school, her family couldn’t afford to feed her, and she had no way of earning an income on her own. Given this desperate situation, she married an adult man before she was old enough to drive a car or vote. At age 14, she became a mother.

  • Blog post
    A woman in Pemba, Mozambique receives an explanation on how to take ACTs for malaria.

    Photo source - Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photoshare. Description - A woman in Pemba, Mozambique receives an explanation on how to take ACTs for malaria.

    On September 21st, global leaders attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly will discuss one of the most pressing global public health threats of our time: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This AMR meeting is only the fourth time in the global body’s history that a health topic will be discussed at a High-Level Meeting. It’s an overdue signal of the problem’s severity and reflects the global collaboration and coordination required to address it.

  • Blog post
    Hospital staff in Niger prepare a woman for fistula repair surgery.

    Hospital staff in Niger prepare a woman for fistula repair surgery. © 2015 Cambey Mikush, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Former UNFPA representative Monique Clesca had a tough job: trying to prevent adolescent pregnancy in Niger, the country with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Earlier this year when I interviewed her for Family Planning Voices, Clesca, who has since retired, told me about a program whose goal was to reach Niger’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls, 77% of whom are married by the time they’re 18. Program staff find the girls by going door to door. Without this painstaking effort, she lamented, too many adolescent girls will fall through the cracks.

  • Blog post
    Meeting announcement for the Deep Dive

    The announcement for the Deep Dive: Sustainable Business Models for Digital Health Impact

    A few weeks ago I attended a half-day workshop called the “Deep Dive: Sustainable Models for Digital Health Impact.” The meeting was co-hosted by the Global Digital Health Network and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) to explore sustainable business models. About 70 Network members came together with industry business experts to discuss sustainable business for digital health—including how to consider costs, opportunities, and pitfalls in public-private partnerships; how to coordinate with donor communities; and where there may be emerging markets.

    The Deep Dive included lessons from social enterprises, consulting firms, collaboratives of multi-domain partners, and even a private equity investor. We explored types of financial sustainability; discussed a variety of digital products, from open source to proprietary technologies; and wrapped our minds around the non-financial factors in ensuring sustainability. My role was to facilitate the latter part of the discussion.

  • Blog post
    A newlywed college student in Jakarta, Indonesia, uses a mobile app for family planning to learn about contraceptive methods.

    A newlywed college student in Jakarta, Indonesia, uses a mobile app for family planning to learn about contraceptive methods that may help delay her first pregnancy until she finishes her degree and secures employment. © 2016 Radha Rajan, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Youth and contraception: two words that when used in combination excite visceral responses throughout the world. The response is even more fraught when we consider long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for youth. Both intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are LARCs, and the challenges for young women who wish to use them—lack of access, myths and misconceptions, provider bias, and community stigma—are pervasive. We have to understand more about these challenges in order to overcome them.

  • Blog post

    This post was originally published on the Zika Communication Network.

    Los investigadores no tardaron mucho tiempo en descubrir cuál es la amenaza más grave que presenta el virus del Zika: el mayor riesgo de microcefalia y otros defectos congénitos en bebés nacidos de madres infectadas con el virus del Zika durante el embarazo. Al mismo tiempo, la reacción ante la crisis del Zika ha puesto en evidencia problemas mucho mayores de los sistemas de salud en los países afectados, que incluyen la falta de acceso a la información y a los servicios de anticoncepción integrales en algunas comunidades afectadas o amenazadas por el virus del Zika.

  • Blog post

    This post was originally published by PMA2020.

    Melinda Gates at Women Deliver 2013

    Melinda Gates, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, speaking at the Women Deliver 2013 conference. Photo by Rabin Martin, courtesy of Women Deliver.

    Data on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) are scarce, especially at a large scale. As Melinda Gates noted at the recent Women Deliver conference in May, “Data underpins everything… If you don’t have data, you don’t know where to make good investments. This is why I’m so excited about the potential of the commitment to close the gender data gap.” 

    Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) is responding to this need by collecting some of the first large-scale, population-level data on menstrual hygiene management (MHM).