Ending the violence: Prioritize respectful treatment for childbearing women in India

Reblogged : By Kerryescott Respect and dignity in childbirth is a human right. Tragically, women around the world all too often endure violations of these rights, including verbal and physical abuse, non-consensual or non-confidential care, discrimination, abandonment, denial of care or detention in facilities. … Continue reading

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IRIN Global | Women and aid: beyond box-ticking | Kenya | Nepal | Philippines | Aid Policy | Gender Issues

Reflagged from IRIN Global Humanitarian News and Analysis

Write by: Louise Redvers

Photo: Mathieu Galtier/IRIN Women are receiving more targeted humanitarian aid but how much do aid agencies really know about what their programming is achieving?

Photo: Mathieu Galtier/IRIN
Women are receiving more targeted humanitarian aid but how much do aid agencies really know about what their programming is achieving?

DUBAI, 28 July 2015 (IRIN) – Aid agencies have no problem agreeing that gender-sensitive programming is a good idea, but few have come up with concrete methods for evaluating the impact it has on those it is supposed to be helping.

The humanitarian sector’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) “Gender Marker” rates aid proposals on whether they ignore, take into account, or prioritise Gender Equality Programming (GEP).

However, the tool, introduced in 2009, only looks at projects on paper, it doesn’t monitor how well (or otherwise) they are rolled out or take into account their end results.

In an effort to close this knowledge gap, academics from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, commissioned by UN Women, carried out four in-depth studies involving 2,000 crisis-affected households in Kenya (in Turkana and Dadaab), the Philippines and Nepal.

As well a detailed qualitative review of how GEP was being received by women and girls in these communities – a mix of protracted conflict, refugee and rural settings – the team also created a first-of-its-kind indexing tool to quantitatively measure the outcomes of gender-focused projects.

Their findings, published this month in a new report, represent an important step forward in gender thinking ahead of an expected review of the IASC’s Gender Marker and the wider GEP debate at next year’s World Humanitarian Summit.

“We were lacking empirical data about what impact GEP had on humanitarian situations,” explained David Coffey, a humanitarian programme specialist at UN Women.

“Most aid practitioners had an idea that GEP was a good thing and that it would have a positive impact, but that was not backed up with solid evidence,” he told IRIN.

“One of the weaknesses of the Gender Marker, is that you can write the most amazing proposal, but once you implement it, you have no mechanism for monitoring it.”

Formulaic approaches

Jean-Pierre Tranchant, a research fellow at IDS, who co-led the project, said he had been surprised how little aid agencies knew about GEP, despite promoting it as a core strategy.

“There is a lot of box-ticking,” he said. “People in HQ tend to approach gender programmes in a very formulaic way, like setting targets for women’s involvement, and then ticking the box when the target is met, without really looking at what that involvement meant on the ground.”

IDS’s new GEP Index tool measures how satisfied women are with humanitarian aid, their perceived ability to influence programming, their appraisal of the level of gender equality in the programmes, and the proportion of programmes that women felt met their needs.

The model is still being worked on but it could become a key tool for measuring GEP impact in humanitarian settings.

“This is only a starting point because the GEP Index isn’t yet a finished item, but it’s an opportunity and idea that is full of promise,” said Coffey.

“The Gender Marker gives us a clue about how well-designed a project is, but the GEP Index takes us to the other end of the project cycle, giving us real on-the-ground feedback and allows us to be more accountable to the beneficiary population.

“Programmes are designed in-country and with specific contexts and nuances in mind – but this is an additional tool to help guide the design process to ensure the project delivers the best results.”

Positive interventions

Overall, the report noted that despite the current lack of detailed evaluation about gender programming, interventions were positive.

Examples included: providing school meals and uniforms to increase girls’ attendance in school; involving women in committees to improve location of water and sanitation facilities; ensuring women were economically active, which leads to more stable incomes for households; and giving women primary management of food collection to make diets more diversified and stable.

One issue however that the IDS findings did flag was that aid agencies needed to make sure they engaged men – and not just women – in GEP.

“If you want to empower women and girls, you need to involve men and boys,” Tranchant explained.

“Especially in settings like Dadaab [a Somalia refugee complex in Kenya], where refugees don’t have freedom to move around and already feel quite side-lined, it can add to that sense of exclusion if humanitarians then appear to be more interested in women.”

Limited feedback mechanisms have played a part in this consideration not always getting back to aid organisations, according to Tranchant.

Danielle Spencer, senior humanitarian advisor (gender and protection) for CARE International UK, welcomed the publication of the UN Women’s report.

“This is a very important and timely study,” she said. “While we at CARE are already doing a number of the things included in the recommendations, we welcome anything that moves this conversation along.”

And, she added: “It is rewarding that we are seeing the fruits of our collective labour. I remember in the past how difficult it was to even get people to put gender issues on a meeting agenda. Now it’s becoming a mainstream part of the system.”

IRIN Global | Women and aid: beyond box-ticking | Kenya | Nepal | Philippines | Aid Policy | Gender Issues.

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Health through Vaccination via CA Senate Bill 277

California was an example of why it is so important to vaccinate children and continue vaccinations as an adult for the Publics Health. Check out this action in the right direction from the California government.

SBFPHC Policy Advocacy

(Image Courtesy of Vaccine Conspiracy Theorist BlogSpot)

Vaccination (or “Immunization”) remains one of the most currently contentious topics in the United States. Despite it’s proven disease prevention statistics, a vast number of residents across the United States oppose mandated vaccination, supporting ‘parental choice’ of their child’s vaccination status.

Understandably, this widespread opposition stems from parents’ natural concerns for their children’s health and wellbeing. A slightly increased association between paralytic Guillain-Barre syndrome in the 1970s and the prominent influenza vaccination that year heightened the public’s awareness of the slim, potential adverse effects of certain vaccinations. However, many parents fail to recognize the significant public health accomplishments achieved by mandated vaccination programs.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends proper vaccination as a key prevention strategy of infectious diseases.   Diseases such as tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, several influenza strains, polio, and many others are not commonly seen today (or even eradicated) due…

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New Cartoon Video Demystifies Ebola

Reblogged #huffingtonpost August 12, 2015

By Georgianne Nienaber

July 19th, 2015

Remember the panic that ensued when the United States encountered its first cases of Ebola? Despite the parade of experts across our First World television screens, misinformation, fear and confusion spread faster than the virus. Imagine how a family living in a small village in Western Africa feels to see health workers clad in dehumanizing protective gear descending upon their homes. Reach deep for empathy for the family whose loved one was wrapped in a body bag and hauled away with no traditional ceremony. Consider the fear and confusion that clouds judgment and results in reactions that give a virus undeserved power.

The Global Health Media Project has produced a cartoon video, The Story of Ebola, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNICEF, and award-winning cartoonist Yoni Goodman. The video presents the Ebola virus in scientific, yet understandable terms for West African countries still facing the viral threat.

The challenge was to relate the concept of an “invisible germ” as something that can be fought through understanding of how Ebola is spread. Preventive behavior is the key to winning the fight against Ebola. Ebola is small. Ebola is a germ. It is not a superhuman entity. Villagers have the power to take control of this disease, and the Story of Ebola tells them how to accomplish this.

In an email conversation Deborah Van Dyke, Director of the Global Health Media Project, said “We set the narrative in the communities where people are at risk so the story feels like it’s about them, relatable.” Currently produced in French, Portuguese, Swahili, Kissi, Krio, Thembe, and Fular, the goal is to provide voice-overs it in a number of other West African languages if funds become available.

The Story of Ebola is skillfully presented through the eyes of a young girl whose revered grandfather dies from the virus. The family is confused, frightened and saddened when the grandfather is taken away without the benefit of a traditional burial. This is a double loss. The health care worker, who is from the community and thankfully not a foreigner, explains how Ebola is spread and how a simple thing like regular hand-washing is a vital tool in prevention.

To watch the short video go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCrOde-JYs0

The visuals are simple, direct and clearly understood. Purple coloring is a stand-in for the invisible virus, making it real, but less frightening. Seeing is believing. Knowledge is power.

The girl’s mother also contracts Ebola, but because she is treated early, survives. The drama ensues when her parents initially decide to run away, fearing that the health care workers are the source of death, instead of the virus. The young girl is the heroine of the film, convincing her frightened parents to go to the clinic immediately. Of course, the mother survives.

I especially like the animated visual of the sun rising and setting to represent the passage of time. It is a very African concept. The connection with nature is soothing in the midst of the frightening drama that unfolds.

The end result is that a complicated scientific message is delivered in an easy to understand format.

Ebola has not been eliminated. Just this week, the New York Timesreported that a young woman died hours after being admitted to an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. This was the second Ebola fatality since Liberia was declared free of the virus on May 9. Six Liberians have been infected since then.

“The new cases in Liberia show us that that our efforts should not be focussed on becoming Ebola-free, but on staying Ebola-free,” said Savita Naqvi, UNICEF Regional Advisor on Communications for Development in a press release. “It’s not over yet and no one should drop their guard. We need to continue working with communities, keeping them engaged and vigilant, even beyond zero new cases.”

Correction: Translations, but not productions, have been completed in other languages, as noted in original post.

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