Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health: Your Views Are Needed!

The Department for International Development (DFID) has announced its commitment to ensuring every pregnancy in the developing world is wanted, and every birth is safe… but to do this, they need your views.

The DFID have created a survey to find out more about which issues people think they should try to tackle first (reducing unsafe abortions, increasing availability of contraception etc.), which countries they should prioritise (those where the poorer members of society find it hard to access health care, for example) and how women’s rights can be improved.

Failure to address the issues of family planning, adolescent fertility, unsafe abortion, delivery and antenatal carecontributes to up to 1,000 women dying needlessly in pregnancy, during childbirth or due to an unsafe abortion every day.

The decision to open up the consultation to the public has come after Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell declared reproductive, maternal and newborn health to be “the most off-track of all the Millennium Development Goals.” Mitchell also promises that, to get things back on track, “DFID will now have an unprecedented focus on family planning, which will be hard-wired into all our country programmes.”

Please make your voice heard and take a few moments to fill out the questionnaire HERE. The results will help prioritise the government’s work in following through on its G8 pledge to improve the health and well-being of women and children in the developing world – so the few moments of your time really will be worth it!

The SURVEY will run until Tuesday, October 20.

By: Sarah Barnes, 14.08.2010 | Comments (0)
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Worth Talking About…

An admission; I’m completely enamoured with the new ‘Worth Talking About…‘ adverts from the NHS! And it’s not just because of the fantastic typography… If you haven’t seen them yet, the first in the series depicts several conversations around contraception (watch the advert here). The second advert takes the same approach whilst tackling Chlamydia testing (see it here).

This conversational approach is original and confident, using expressive words in cartoonish speech bubbles to covey how people should be talking about sex, STIs and contraception. I say ‘should be talking’, because I don’t think everyone is too comfortable with talking so frankly about these subjects – and, of course, that’s part of the problem.

I love the scene in the first, contraception themed, advert – where it seems a mother and daughter are watching a soap opera together. ‘Looks like they’re finally getting it together,’ says the daughter, to which the mother replies; ‘Let’s hope they’ve talked about contraception then.’ I mean, how cool is that?! In this perfect, speech-bubbly world, contraception is something so taboo-less that any young girl can chat about it with her mum in front of the telly. Where is this world, and can I go live there?

It’s also great news that this campaign is opening up dialogue around different contraceptive methods. In October 2008 Company Magazine reported that; ‘more than a third of you (their readers, as surveyed in their ‘Your Voice Your Choice’ survey) are unhappy with your contraception and one in five of you haven’t even had different forms of contraception discussed with you’. Company’s readers complained that GPs tended only to talk about contraception in terms of the Pill or Condoms. The magazine also concluded that it was unfair that 20% of primary care trusts refuse younger women Long Acting Reversible Contraception (the coil, implant and injections).

Two years on from Company’s survey, and this advert gives the impression (at least on the surface) that NHS GPs will be much more open to offering different contraceptives to their patients. Also, my feeling is that (after watching the ad) women will be much more confident in bringing up the subject of contraceptive choices (beyond the pill) with their doctors, and will strive to find the right method for them.

What I love most about these ads is that they are really effectively making the dialogue around sex, and sexual health, much less intimidating.  With every viewing, I can visualise these adverts turning our up-tight and tight-lipped world into a lovely speech-bubbly land where girls gather on park benches to moan about the pill, and couples discuss contraceptive implants over egg and chips at the local caf. I’m completely convinced that, thanks to this campaign, a whole heap of parents are waiting impatiently for a saucy storyline on Corrie just so they can FINALLY bring up the subject of sex with their adolescent offspring!

It’s not often that advertisements are praised for making the world a better place, but I think this one is doing a damn fine job of it.

By: Sarah Barnes, 23.01.2010 | Comments (0)
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