Regional Technical Meeting Report –
Lusaka, Zambia, April 11-13, 2016 –
The Population Council, the World Health Organization, and the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception convened a three-day regional technical meeting aimed at helping participating countries meet their obligations under the Maputo Protocol to protect and promote the reproductive health rights of women and girls, with a special emphasis on survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence.
Access to safe and legal abortion services is a far reach for women and girls in Uganda. Although unsafe abortion rates have fallen from 54 to 39 per 1,000 women aged 15–45 years over a decade, absolute figures show a rise from 294,000 in 2003 to 314,000 women having unsafe abortions in 2013.
Although abortion is legal in Thailand for a number of indications, women from Burma residing in Thailand are rarely able to access safe services. We evaluated the outcomes of a community-based distribution program that provides migrant, refugee, and cross-border women from Burma with evidence-based information about and access to misoprostol for early pregnancy termination.
Medical abortion was introduced in 2011 in South Africa, is very effective and safe for abortion up to 9 weeks and does not require specialized surgical skills. However, introductory protocols required an ultrasound examination be done to date the pregnancy using equipment and expertise not widely available, especially in more remote rural areas. If women can remember the first day of their last menstrual period (LMP), this can be used to work out their pregnancy duration, and if community health workers (CHWs) can ascertain pregnancy duration from women’s LMP, this could assist expansion of medical abortion services into primary care public health facilities across the country.
On 28 September, the Croatian Platform for Reproductive Rights demanded, loud and clear, not just safe and legal, but widely available and free abortion. Reproductive rights acknowledge the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy but also to plan to become a parent.
Romanian ASTRA Network member Daniela Draghici of the Society for Feminist Analyses (AnA) organized and coordinated events for World Contraception Day, September 26, and International Safe Abortion Day, September 28, under the “SEXed Talk” Campaign, in partnership with the Society for Education in Contraception and Sexuality, Astra Youth, Youth for Youth Foundation, Romanian Anti-AIDS Foundation, Midwives’ Association and Marie Stopes International Foundation Romania.
Women’s Resource Center Armenia initiated a press conference with local media to raise the issues for the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion. A reproductive health and rights expert, a lawyer and a disability rights expert participated in the press conference. The main topic of concern was access to safe abortion for different groups of women, including women with disabilities and rural women.
Zika disappeared from the headlines soon after the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the end of the global public health emergency in November 2016. It is easy to say now that the virus is at most spreading at a slow, non-threatening way. But, for the nearly forgotten, more than 14,000 Brazilian families affected by suspected cases of congenital Zika syndrome and the 2,800 families with confirmed cases, the lasting impacts of the epidemic are very real. This book stresses the continued lack of supports for families affected by one of the country’s most devastating public health crises. This is the English translation of the book first published in Brazil in August 2016.