• Blog post

    Jane Bertrand, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Philip Anglewicz, PhD, Assistant professor at the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, contributed to this post.

    Findings from the first round of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2013 (PMA2013) survey carried out in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo (PDF), show modest gains in key family planning indicators. Since the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 2007, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among married women in Kinshasa has increased from 14.1 to 18.2% in 2013.

    The leading modern method among currently married contraceptive users was the male condom (42%), followed by injectables (23%) and pills (16%). Of note, married women in Kinshasa are more likely to use traditional than modern methods.

    Unmet need for family planning among married women has increased by 9 percentage points since 2007 from 23.5 to 32.5%, with 8.3% having an unmet need for limiting and 24.2% for spacing. The high unmet need was similar across wealth quintiles.

  • Blog post
    A man and child participating in the PATH-led Peer Family (PF) Program

    A man and child participating in the PATH-led Peer Family (PF) Program implemented in Kenya under AMKENI, a USAID/Kenya-funded project. Under the PF Program, PATH brought individuals together to explore health issues as a family.

    © 2006 Mike Wang, Courtesy of Photoshare

    You know that African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”? Many people in low resource countries forget that means the ENTIRE village-both males and females. In a predominately male driven society where fathers tend to be the primary decision makers, women are not able to well execute good reproductive, maternal, and child health behavior. These decisions are not only crucial to the health of the mother, but also the health of their children.

    June 1st marks Global Day of Parents, a time to honor parents throughout the world and the selflessness they exhibit for their children.  It also encourages and reminds parents that their primary responsibility is to protect and nurture their children. One way that this can be done is for both fathers and mothers to be well-versed in reproductive and child health, even before the child is born. Unfortunately, some of today’s maternal and child health programs are focused on teaching to mothers and women. Males can be integral to improving maternal and child health and programs should strive to incorporate fathers in all aspects of the program.

  • Blog post

    Nearly all population growth in the future will be in less developed countries, particularly in urban areas of these countries. Expanding access to voluntary family planning can help mitigate rapid population growth as well as provide many other benefits to individuals, families, and societies.

    In the latest issue of the Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) journal, Malcolm Potts examines the renewed attention being paid to voluntary family planning and population in recent years and how it might help shape the world that our children and grandchildren inherit. Also in this installment, editor-in-chief James Shelton clears up a common misunderstanding about the relationship between reduced mortality and population growth, explaining that improving child survival does increase the motivation for families to reduce their fertility but that it comes too little and too late to forestall substantial population growth. He argues that couples need effective means to control their fertility, in addition to the motivation to do so. And Associate Editor Victor Barbiero urges the global health community to address the triple health burden that growing populations in urban areas of developing countries are experiencing—the burden of communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases, and injuries.

  • Blog post

    Findings from the first round of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) Ethiopia survey, an innovative mobile-phone-based survey, show impressive progress for Ethiopia’s national family planning programs.  Since the most recent Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) in 2011, the modern contraceptive rate among married women has increased markedly from 27 to 33%; representing a 6% increase in just three years.  

    Gains in contraceptive use is highest in rural areas and among the poorest segments of the population.  PMA2014/Ethiopia also found marked increases in the use of more effective long-term methods such as implants, with an increase from 12% to 16% of the method mix.  

    Moreover, the survey’s findings reveal that the average number of children per woman in Ethiopia has steadily declined from 5.5 in 2000 to 4.4 in 2013.  Furthermore, the unmet need for family planning has sharply declined from 25% in 2011 to 19%, today with 9% of women wanting to delay their next birth and 10% wanting no more children.  The unmet need is highest for women in the poorest wealth quintile.

  • Blog post
    Comfort Zone, Growth Zone, and Groan Zone, adapted from J.S. Gernstein (1990)

    Comfort Zone, Growth Zone, and Groan Zone, adapted from J.S. Gernstein (1990).

    As I leafed through The 2014 International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS) program, I found some presentation titles to be a little intimidating. My fears were realized when terms like fuzzy miner algorithm, social ergonomics and persuasive technologies were used by presenters the first day.

    I was there to showcase K4Health’s experience developing a network of social learners in Nigeria. From Microscope to Computer: Using Facebook to Assist Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria Access and Navigate eLearning Courses discussed Facebook as a coordination and cooperation mechanism and collaborative knowledge management tool. It expanded on an earlier K4Health blog post about the ubiquitous social media’s potential to connect people and how social networking analysis (SNA) can be used visualize these connections.

  • Blog post

    “Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020” (PMA2020) -- a project that supports regular low-cost, rapid-turnaround, nationally-representative surveys using smartphones -- has released the findings from the first round of data collection in Ghana: our first launch country. This innovative approach to data collection allows policy makers, program managers, and public health researchers access to national estimates of various health indicators.

    The indicators generated from PMA2020 data provide consistency with the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) measures.  The surveys also introduce new measures of family planning access, equity, quality and choice (e.g. whether contraceptive users obtained the method of their choice, decision-making on choice of current method, and availability of integrated health services). In addition, PMA2020 survey data captures indicators for adolescent reproductive health and family planning access and utilization for all women of reproductive age.

  • Blog post
    A Senegalese midwife performing a prenatal checkup

    A Senegalese midwife performing a prenatal checkup.

    Credit: African Birth Collective

    This post, originally appearing on K4Health partner Hesperian's blog, spotlights the African Birth Collective, who designed a knowledge exchange network among midwives in Senegal and the United States. In honor of International Day of the Midwife, Hesperian recently released new lifesaving information about cervical cancer cryotherapy in the HealthWiki.

    “Midwives provide amazing services to our communities. Aside from assisting with births, they’re a great resource for reproductive health, family planning, and STD information. They are well connected with communities, and distribute critical health information.” 

    Kaya Skye, African Birth Collective

  • Blog post

    Do you ever feel like a fraud?


    Instagram photo courtesy of SwitchPoint

    Not the kind who swindles the vulnerable out of their hard-earned savings or phishes for credit card digits online, but the kind who presents herself more authoritatively than she should? Masquerading as an expert?

    Or is it just me?

    An article in The Atlantic last month on the confidence gap suggests that success has just as much to do with confidence as with competence. And the tendency to underplay or question our credentials and skills is more familiar to women than men.  

    As it happens, I read this article right before attending IntraHealth International’s annual SwitchPoint event last week.

  • Blog post
    Members of One Child's Village

    Members of a group called One Child's Village that cares for HIV/AIDS orphans proudly stand above their garden in Mumias, Kenya.

    © 2013 Molly Snell, Courtesy of Photoshare

    The human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted viral infection, is often the cause of cervical cancer. It occurs when the body’s immune system is unable to fight off the virus, leading to an abnormal growth of tumors in the cervix. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death for women with more than 85% of cervical cancer deaths occurring in developing countries. High incidences of cervical cancer are reported in Africa at an estimated rate of 50 per 100,000 individuals, killing about 53,000 women a year. In high-income countries like Western Europe, the incidence rate is 2 per 100,000 individuals.  In 2006 the first vaccine to prevent against four types of HPV was licensed.

    Currently, two licensed HPV vaccines exist: Cevarix (made by GlaxoSmithKline) and Gardasil (made by Merck). The licensure of the vaccines is exciting because it has the potential to save roughly 250,000 deaths per year. However, due to limitations and challenges, the vaccine may be more beneficial for high-income countries where incidence rates are not as high as in low-income countries.