January 2013

  • K4Health Highlights

    Stephen Goldstein

    CCP | Senior Consultant

    Six months after the London Family Planning Summit there are signs of hope that 2013 will be a positive year toward providing an estimated 120 million more women in the world’s poorest countries with access to contraceptives by 2020 so that they can plan the number of children to have or space their births.

    A health worker counsels a woman on reproductive health and family planning in the Visayas region of central Philippines

    A health worker counsels a woman on reproductive health and family planning in the Visayas region of central Philippines. Voluntary family planning programs are allowing women and couples to plan the number of children they want to have.

    © 2000 Liz Gilbert, Courtesy of Photoshare

    As of January 8, 2013 financial commitments by donors and the private sector at the London Summit reached a total of US$2.625 billion. My colleague Allison Bland wrote in an earlier K4Health blog: “Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) will continue to frame our discussions as governments, civil society, and technical institutions move toward the 2020 target.”

    Also in January, after more than a decade of opposition, Philippines President, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, III, signed into law the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. The new law guarantees universal access to contraceptive methods, sexual education, and maternal care. A guiding principle states: “The provision of ethical and medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable, non-abortifacient, effective and quality reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially those of women, the poor, and the marginalized, and shall be incorporated as a component of basic health care.”

    Congratulations to the people of the Philippines for taking a huge move that will undoubtedly reduce the unmet need for family planning and eventually help to lower the total fertility rate for the country, which was estimated at 3.2 children per woman in 2012.

  • K4Health Highlights

    Vanessa Mitchell

    CCP | Technical Advisor

    Throughout the Global Maternal Health Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, presentations on mHealth and broader eHealth were numerous. As a person working on an eHealth initiative and concerned with knowledge management, I have to wonder how we’re ever going to coordinate and integrate all of this work not just within countries but globally. Or are the needs and lessons for eHealth too context specific?

    It is important that we continue to explore new avenues for partnering and forums for sharing important lessons with each other. As part of those partnerships, ministries and government need to be in the driver’s seat for sustainability. The Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) understands this well and is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to implement their eHealth initiative.

  • Vanessa Mitchell

    CCP | Technical Advisor

    At the Global Maternal Health Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, one of the plenary sessions called Science for Activism: How Evidence can Create a Movement for Maternal Health focused on the need for maternal health research to be published and shared, and for research to be translated into new policies.

    With regards to publishing, some journals are still charging a hefty subscription fee. This is hurting development progress. Until we have free and open access to publications for all, we are withholding information from people, especially in lower income countries. This is about creating equal opportunity for all people to have the same access to knowledge for learning and decision-making. Can publishers consider other options other than charging fees to sustain themselves? At a minimum could they give free access to residents of low-income countries? The new Global Health Science and Practice Journal may be a good model for how to provide open access health information to all.

  • Vanessa Mitchell

    CCP | Technical Advisor

    At the Global Maternal Health Conference in Tanzania, participants are presenting and buzzing about the importance of institutional delivery, and improving access to health services. But is improving access enough? What about the quality? And does it matter where women deliver as long as they are tended to by skilled birth attendants? Shouldn’t we give them the choice?

    Women should have a choice, and ultimately they will go wherever they feel safe, respected, and comfortable. As I understand it, the argument for institutional delivery is that health providers are better able and equipped to manage a complication. But all of our work and resources to encourage institutional delivery could be thwarted, and women will refuse to go, if health systems, governments, and providers don’t act on providing respectful maternal health care and being able to ensure the same level of comfort they would expect at home. Maternal health programs that are creating demand in communities for facility-based deliveries should first ensure that the facility is able to handle that demand and maintain quality of services.

  • K4Health Highlights

    Sidhartha Deka

    Formerly CCP | Program Officer

    As a part of the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative’s (BKMI) capacity building efforts with three government units in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), I helped facilitate a Message and Materials Design Workshop outside of the capital Dhaka January 6-9, 2013. BKMI’s in-country partner Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) organized the workshop.

    BKMI Strategic Communication Workshop Participants

    Participants on the last day of the BKMI/BCCP Strategic Communication Workshop in Bangladesh

    Participants included staff from the MOHFW units, NGOs, and copywriters and artists from advertising agencies. Sessions in the workshop covered the importance of strategic communication through the message development process. In her opening remarks, BKMI team leader Vanessa Mitchell encouraged participants to be creative and collaborative in their approach toward creating messages that are coordinated and cross-sectoral within the realm of health, population, and nutrition (HPN).