Since the 1994 International Conference on Population Development in Cairo, the importance of male involvement in reproductive health programs, including maternal health, has come into focus. In their roles as fathers, partners or healthcare workers, men influence not only their own health but also women’s reproductive health. Men tend to be the decision-makers within families and often take the lead in issues regarding the allocation of money, transport, women’s workload and access to health services, family planning and use of contraceptives… read more
Over the last several years, research on male involvement in reproductive and maternal health care has shown incredible impacts on the health outcomes of women and newborns. In response to this overwhelming research, Uganda officially launched a male involvement strategy in November 2014. The main objective of this strategy is to include men in all aspects of a family’s health: nutrition, water and sanitation, family planning, immunizations, and the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS. However, this and other male involvement strategies have had unexpected consequences on women’s access to care… read more
I spent many of my teenage years living in Malawi, enjoying swimming in beautiful Lake Malawi. Wind on to age 30, and I was struggling to get pregnant. Eventually, following illness, I was diagnosed with schistosomiasis and told that I had probably been infected for a while and that it might be affecting my fertility. So I took praziquantel—the only available drug against the parasite—and soon after I was pregnant. Whilst the links between urogenital schistosomiasis (also called female genital schistosomiasis), sub-fertility and HIV have become increasingly well-established, sadly lacking is a combined and robust health system that brings together HIV, sexual, reproductive, maternal health and neglected tropical disease communities to address and scale up treatment for urogenital schistosomiasis… read more
As we left the facility, my colleague and I shared a glance and giggled. I couldn’t help but express my mind. “You know if this was to be [the] only facility within my jurisdiction, [even though] the health workers are very friendly, I might still consider a home birth,” I said. How can I, a health worker advocating for respectful maternity care (RMC) and facility delivery, talk like this you may ask? By visiting some facilities, you would come to a conclusion that homes are many times cleaner and better equipped than some health facilities… read more
The burden of ensuring safe delivery does not fall solely on the shoulders of women and girls, but falls on all of us. Whether we are policymakers, service providers, development workers, husbands, fathers or mothers-in-law, we can all make a difference. It is our responsibility to do so. As a society, we owe it to women to ensure they have a safe delivery and access to family planning information and services… read more
As momentum builds towards the unveiling of the post-2015 agenda, the global health community has its eye on universal health coverage (UHC) as a priority for operationalizing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The issue at hand is not whether UHC is achievable, but is ensuring that UHC researchers, implementers, and policy-makers collaborate to provide rich evidence to improve and ensure quality health care for all. In order to facilitate this collaboration, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and USAID|TRAction hosted the session, Woman-Centered Care as the Engine for Universal Health Coverage, at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town, South Africa on September 30, 2014.