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Ensuring The Rights Of Women Worldwide To Reproductive Health Care

November 30, 2010

Access to quality reproductive healthcare for women around the globe is a fundamental aspect of a woman’s human rights, freedom, equity, and right to control her own body. A Special Section on Global Women’s Reproductive Health in the current issue of Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., explores the compelling medical, socioeconomic, and gender-based factors that impact global women’s health issues. The Special Focus articles are available free online.

“In 2010, no woman should die or suffer the morbidity associated with lack of access to contraception, safe abortion, or delivery with a skilled attendant,” state the Guest Co-Editors, Stacie Geller, PhD, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Suellen Miller, PhD, CMN, University of California, San Francisco.

Amy Stenson, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Chisina Kapungu, PhD, University of Illinois, Drs. Geller and Miller describe the challenges in performing reproductive health research in economically disadvantaged and low-resource settings. The sensitive areas explored in reproductive health research can be particularly challenging in light of the different cultural, social, and ethical standards around the world. The authors focus on the importance of global collaboration and community partnerships, staff training and logistical planning, and informed consent in the article entitled, “Navigating the Challenges of Global Reproductive Health Research.”

In “Women Front and Center: The Opportunities of Involving Women in Participatory Health Research Worldwide,” authors Martha Decker, DrPH and Anke Hemmerling, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, and Fatimata Lankoande, LSW, World University Service of Canada (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), highlight the need to involve women as active participants in health research. They describe a more inclusive approach to health research that requires relationship building with communities and the sharing of power with research subjects resulting in improved data accuracy and greater study relevance.

Donna Baptiste, EdD, Chisina Kapungu, PhD, and Manorama Khare, PhD, University of Illinois, Chicago, Yvonne Lewis, MPH, Ministry of Health, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, and Linda Barlow-Mosha, MD, Makerete University & Johns Hopkins University Care Ltd., provide a framework for combining the focus on outcomes in global healthcare research with an emphasis on improving women’s right to freedom, equity, and equality of opportunities.

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