reproductive health Tag

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Global Health Council Statement on the Release of the Six-Month Review of Mexico City Policy

Washington, DC (February 8, 2018) —  Today Global Health Council responds to the Department of State’s recently released 6-month review of the expansion of the Mexico City Policy (renamed to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance). The State Department proposed the review to gauge the policy’s impact on U.S. global health programs. Specifically, this review focuses on implementation challenges since the reinstatement of the policy.

“While Global Health Council recognizes the Department of State conducted a review six months after the reinstatement of the policy, we believe that this initial analysis does not offer a complete picture,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “This review is only the first step to understanding the full impact of the expansion. Given the expanded policy has far-reaching effects across a number of programs and beneficiaries, we urge the State Department to prioritize and ensure the full participation of civil society and other stakeholders in the review to be completed in 2018.”

On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which requires foreign non-governmental organizations to certify that they will not use their own funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country as a condition of receiving U.S. global health assistance. In May, the State Department released guidance on the implementation of the expanded policy and at the time committed to conducting a six-month review of its impact on global health programs.

Last year, Global Health Council released a statement of principles endorsed by over 100 civil society organizations, which provided recommendations for a review that is meaningful and comprehensive, and proposed an annual review to understand how the policy affects U.S. programs and their outcomes long-term.

Global Health Council is concerned that the first review does not fully embrace the recommendations put forth in this statement. Of particular concern is that the policy does not affect programs until a foreign NGO receives new funding, therefore the current review, which covered the period May through September 2017, cannot provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact. Full implementation of the policy could come as late as September 30, 2018. As a result, while initial challenges to implementation were documented, the significant impacts of the policy will not be evident until much later.

Moreover, while the State Department did solicit feedback from civil society organizations, the comment period was less than two weeks and minimal guidance was offered to ensure comprehensive comments were provided.

“Global Health Council remains committed to ensuring that transparent and thorough reviews are conducted each year,” said Pace. “U.S. investments in global health have helped millions of people around the world, and it is critical that we understand the impact of this policy and how we can mitigate harm.”

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About Global Health Council

Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.

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Media Contacts

Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager
Global Health Council
dheiberg@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5286

 

 

Strategic Partnerships and Global Reproductive Health at the UN Population Fund

Organized by Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH)

January 29
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST
Webinar

REGISTRATION

Reproductive health is a lifetime concern for both women and men, from infancy to old age. Evidence shows that reproductive health in any of these life stages has a profound effect on one’s health later in life. UNFPA supports programs tailored to the different challenges people face at different times in their lives, including comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, antenatal and safe delivery care, post-natal care, services to prevent sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), and services facilitating early diagnosis and treatment of reproductive health illnesses (including breast and cervical cancer).

UNFPA works with governments, the private sector, other UN agencies, and donors to develop comprehensive efforts to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care. UNFPA advocates for integrating the delivery of these services into primary health care, so it is as accessible as possible. This means, for instance, that a woman could address her family planning, antenatal care, HIV testing and general health needs all in one place.

Join Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief, Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA, as she walks the audience through the global partnerships that facilitate for the achievement of UNFPA’s mandate towards universal access to reproductive health services. Ms. Cutillo’s presentation will be followed by an audience Q&A session moderated by CUGH Executive Director Dr. Keith Martin.

10
Voices of Experience: A Conversation with Former Directors of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health

Organized by Center for Global Development

January 17
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Center for Global Development
Washington, DC

MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION

(This event will also be a Live Webcast)

Join Center for Global Development (CGD) for a conversation with four former directors of United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health. Since the Office’s inception in 1969, the US government has played a substantial role in supporting expanded access to voluntary family planning around the world through technical assistance, diplomatic and policy engagement, and financial support. But differences in policy across administrations have meant that US leadership in international family planning has often faced periods of uncertainty. CGD is convening a panel to revisit historic experiences and to shed light on lessons learned that may be used to inform stakeholders in the current landscape.

Featured Speakers:

1) Duff Gillespie, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
2) Liz Maguire, Senior Advisor for Reproductive Health and Rights
3) Margaret Neuse, Independent Consultant
4) Scott Radloff, Senior Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Introduction: Amanda Glassman, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Moderator: Felice Apter, Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development

18
Microbicides: Innovative Solutions to Help Women Stay HIV-Free

This guest post was written by GHC Member International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM). IPM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing new HIV prevention technologies for women and making them available in developing countries where the epidemic has hit hardest. IPM collaborates with a global network of public, private, philanthropic, academic and civil society partners to develop products designed to empower women with the tools they need to protect themselves against HIV and improve their sexual and reproductive health, so they can live healthy and productive lives.

Why do women continue to be at high risk for HIV? Social expectations, cultural norms and economic inequities all limit women’s ability to negotiate safe sex practices, or even select their partners or the timing of sex. Condoms, while highly effective, are simply not a feasible option for many women. Women are also biologically more susceptible to HIV infection than men.

As a result, HIV/AIDS remains a serious epidemic among women. It is the leading cause of death globally in women ages 15-49. In sub-Saharan Africa, infection rates among women are alarmingly high—young women there are at least twice as likely to become infected with HIV as young men, putting their sexual and reproductive health at risk.

How can we stem the tide of HIV infection among women?
Women urgently need new prevention options, particularly discreet methods they can use without partner involvement. Among the most promising women-centered products are vaginal microbicides, biomedical products being developed to protect women from HIV during vaginal sex. They could come in different forms—such as a monthly vaginal ring developed by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) recently shown to reduce women’s HIV risk—and other products in early development like films and tablets.

The flexible silicone ring, which women insert and replace themselves each month, slowly releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine over the course of a month.

IPM’s dapivirine ring is the first long-acting HIV prevention method shown to safely reduce HIV risk and is under regulatory review.

What are the next steps for microbicides?
Several vaginal microbicides are being studied in preclinical studies or early-stage clinical trials. The most clinically advanced microbicide is IPM’s dapivirine vaginal ring, which is currently in open-label studies following late-stage efficacy trials. At the same time, IPM is seeking regulatory approval to license the product for public use. The monthly ring is under review by the European Medicines Agency and will be submitted to the South African Medicines Control Council and US Food and Drug Administration in 2018, followed by applications to additional regulatory agencies in Africa. The first regulatory decisions on the ring could come as early as 2019 in some African countries. If approved, the dapivirine ring would become the first microbicide licensed for HIV prevention.

Multipurpose products are also being developed that would offer women increased convenience by combining STI prevention and contraception in a single product. IPM has designed a three-month HIV prevention-contraceptive ring that entered its first safety clinical trial earlier this year.

 

How do microbicides fit in the HIV prevention landscape?
No one product will end the HIV epidemic. Women need multiple prevention options that they can choose from that makes sense for their lives, from monthly vaginal rings to daily oral ARV pills to products still in development like vaccines. Modeling studies show that a safe and effective microbicide like the dapivirine ring would have a significant impact on the epidemic while empowering women with tools they need to protect their sexual and reproductive health. And when women are healthier, so are their families and communities as a result.