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News

Latest news from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of news from across the Federation

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Uganda

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Ugandan LGBTQI+ organization banned by government

The Ugandan National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations has unfairly halted the activities of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) – a prominent LGBTQI+ rights organization
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| 26 March 2022

Statement on the outcome of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 66)

For the first time, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has adopted Agreed Conclusions on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. IPPF has actively engaged in the process by providing technical inputs and raising awareness about the interlinkages between SRHR, climate change, gender equality and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls.  IPPF welcomes CSW’s recognition that sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical to ensuring women’s resilience and adaptation to climate and humanitarian crises. As well as climate change is a gendered crisis and disproportionately affects women and girls in all their diversity while recognizing the importance of climate adaptation and resilience for women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and humanitarian crises.  Additionally, we welcome references to comprehensive sexuality education, multiple intersecting forms of discrimination, reslience and adaptation, access to justice and accountability of violations, and civil society organizations' meaningful participation, including feminist organizations and women human rights defenders.  Consensus reached at this year’s Commission reflects the broad based support of Member States to take gender-responsive action to address and tackle the climate crisis - a crisis that is happening now and requires immediate and urgent action.

banner of CSW66
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| 26 March 2022

Statement on the outcome of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 66)

For the first time, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has adopted Agreed Conclusions on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. IPPF has actively engaged in the process by providing technical inputs and raising awareness about the interlinkages between SRHR, climate change, gender equality and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls.  IPPF welcomes CSW’s recognition that sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical to ensuring women’s resilience and adaptation to climate and humanitarian crises. As well as climate change is a gendered crisis and disproportionately affects women and girls in all their diversity while recognizing the importance of climate adaptation and resilience for women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and humanitarian crises.  Additionally, we welcome references to comprehensive sexuality education, multiple intersecting forms of discrimination, reslience and adaptation, access to justice and accountability of violations, and civil society organizations' meaningful participation, including feminist organizations and women human rights defenders.  Consensus reached at this year’s Commission reflects the broad based support of Member States to take gender-responsive action to address and tackle the climate crisis - a crisis that is happening now and requires immediate and urgent action.

Opening of the IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Office, Bogotá Colombia March 14th 2022
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| 18 March 2022

IPPF Office in Bogota

We are overjoyed to announce the opening of the first of two locations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation -  Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office (ACRO), in Bogota, Colombia. IPPF Director-General Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF ACRO's Regional Director Eugenia López Uribe, Deputy Regional Director Dona Da Costa Martinez, and IPPF Director of External Relations Mina Barling were joined by team members from the ACRO and London Offices to reinforce the commitment to the fight for rights and access to sexual and reproductive services in the region. This is an especially exciting time as Colombia stands as the latest champion to step forward to protect the bodily autonomy of everyone with the possibility of gestation, with a recent Constitutional Court victory legalizing access to abortion until 24 weeks. The new IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office serves Member Associations and Collaborative Partners in over 24 countries across the region, and which are growing in their movement building and service delivery capabilities, including comprehensive sex education, provision of contraceptive, safe abortion, and maternal care and responding to humanitarian crisis. IPPF pride ourselves on being local through our members and global through our network. At the heart of our mission is the provision of – and advocacy in support of – integrated healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, gender, sex, income, and crucially no matter how remote. Volunteerism is central to our healthcare delivery. It underpins the vital work of our members and their teams, whether through community outreach and distribution of contraceptive care or the regional Youth Action Movements championing change.  

Opening of the IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Office, Bogotá Colombia March 14th 2022
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| 17 March 2022

IPPF Office in Bogota

We are overjoyed to announce the opening of the first of two locations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation -  Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office (ACRO), in Bogota, Colombia. IPPF Director-General Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF ACRO's Regional Director Eugenia López Uribe, Deputy Regional Director Dona Da Costa Martinez, and IPPF Director of External Relations Mina Barling were joined by team members from the ACRO and London Offices to reinforce the commitment to the fight for rights and access to sexual and reproductive services in the region. This is an especially exciting time as Colombia stands as the latest champion to step forward to protect the bodily autonomy of everyone with the possibility of gestation, with a recent Constitutional Court victory legalizing access to abortion until 24 weeks. The new IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office serves Member Associations and Collaborative Partners in over 24 countries across the region, and which are growing in their movement building and service delivery capabilities, including comprehensive sex education, provision of contraceptive, safe abortion, and maternal care and responding to humanitarian crisis. IPPF pride ourselves on being local through our members and global through our network. At the heart of our mission is the provision of – and advocacy in support of – integrated healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, gender, sex, income, and crucially no matter how remote. Volunteerism is central to our healthcare delivery. It underpins the vital work of our members and their teams, whether through community outreach and distribution of contraceptive care or the regional Youth Action Movements championing change.  

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| 30 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 15 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 09 March 2022

IPPF announces appointment of 8 new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel

IPPF is proud to announce the appointment of eight new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel (IMAP). Since its inception in 1979, the IMAP has convened leading experts in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and acted as an independent advisory body on SRHR topics and as strategic support to the Federation. We expect the new members to enrich the discussions of and development of IMAP Statements which address the most urgent issues in our field for the benefit of Member Associations and external partners globally. The new members come from diverse backgrounds and expertise including HIV/STIs, cervical cancer, adolescent health, infertility, sexual and transgender health, maternal morbidity and mortality, comprehensive abortion care and, SRH quality of care. We look forward to working with the new and existing members of the IMAP to produce high-quality guidance for the years to come. To learn more about the new members, please check out their bios here: Dr. Edmore Munongo is currently the Principal Managing Partner and Founder of HEARTS consultancy and a technical expert for Global Fund Local Fund Agent (LFA) in Zimbabwe.  He has worked as the technical expert in the area of NCDs for WHO from 2019 to 2021. prior to that he had worked in the southern African region as a consultant in different areas of public health including SRHR and SGBV. These covered countries like Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. He has experience working with several donors and program implementers including Global fund, UN agencies, DFID, USAID, FHI360 among others. A holder of an MBChB, MBA, MPhil, Post Graduate Certificate in Sexual Reproductive Health Research, and a current PhD candidate in Medical Sociology. Edmore has previously worked as the Technical Director of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council and Population service Zimbabwe between 2012 and 2016.  During that time, Edmore thrived to improve access to FP and SRHR to the most marginalized communities using evidence based strategies. This made him a frequent presenter in many fora like the international conference for FP (ICFP). Edmore has led the development of the Botswana FP Strategy and the Zimbabwe FP costed implementation plan among other strategic documents.  Gail Knudson MD, MEd, FRCPC, is a Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Victoria, and Consultant Psychiatrist at Vancouver Coastal Health. Dr. Knudson has participated in many international panels as well as guidelines and consensus committees on transgender health. She is a co-author of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care Version 7 (SOC 7) and is co-lead of the Education and Ethics chapters for the upcoming SOC 8. Dr. Knudson currently serves as Co-Chair of WPATH’s Global Education Institute and is a Past President of WPATH and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH). Dr Knudson is a member of the WHO Implementing Best Practice (IBP) Network Steering Committee and has also held leadership positions within the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Zozo Nene is an Adjunct professor, a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.  She is Head of the Reproductive & Endocrine unit at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  She is a South African representative of WHO-FIGO collaboration on contraception.  She participated in the WHO and Partners Stakeholders' Technical Consultation meeting on Hormonal contraception and HIV and various other WHO Stakeholders’ meetings.    She is part of the South African National Department of Health’s technical expert advisory team on contraception and infertility. She is one of the scientific experts on the SRHR Curriculum development in South Africa.  She is lead author of the National Clinical Guidelines for Safe Conception and Infertility. She is part of the guideline development group for the National Clinical Guidelines for Implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy act and the updated National Contraceptive Clinical Guidelines.   Dr Chipo Gwanzura, MD, MMED, FCOG, is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist at the University of Zimbabwe and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a 2020 -2021 Fogarty University of California Global Health Institute GloCal Fellow, and current fellow on the Advancing Early Diagnosis of Cancer in Southern Africa (AWACAN-ED) study. She is an early career researcher whose goal is to provide quality evidence-based healthcare to women and contribute to finding solutions to reduce the burden of female morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan Africa and globally. Her current work focuses on postpartum haemorrhage prevention; and cervical, breast and colorectal cancer prevention. Her clinical focus is on minimally invasive surgery. She is undertaking sub-specialty training with the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. She is past vice-president of the World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WATOG; 2018 - 2021). Currently she is Chair of Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ZSOG) Public Relations Committee; committee member of the Zimbabwe Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (ZSGE); Member of the Knowledge and Evidence Working Group of the Partnership for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (PMNCH); and member of the Committee on Minimal Access Surgery of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). She has presented at local and international conferences and published scientific articles. Metin Gülmezoglu is an obstetrician gynaecologist who worked in Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He is currently the Executive Director of Concept Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization working on improving access to quality-assured sexual and reproductive health medicines and technologies in low- and middle-income countries worldwide based in Geneva, Switzerland and Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining Concept Foundation, Metin was working at HRP (the UNDP/ UNFPA/ UNICEF/ WHO/ World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction), World Health Organization, as the Coordinator for Maternal and Perinatal Health and Abortion.  Metin published more than 300 articles and book chapters and gave numerous presentations in global, regional and national conferences and meetings. Metin is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK and honorary member of The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in the U.S.A. Michalina Drejza, MD, MSc is a junior doctor and scientist from Poland. Currently working as a Specialty Trainee in East of England School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  She worked as a consultant at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research focusing mostly on the work on self-care interventions, abortion and youth-related SRHR issues. Michalina has been involved in leadership roles within global youth spaces such as the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations, Adolescent and Youth Constituency of The Partnership of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, UNAIDS The PACT, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and many more.  She is currently completing PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology creating holistic adolescent sexual and reproductive health care model for Polish youth. Recently completed MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interest are youth SRHR issues and meaningful community and youth engagement in global health spaces.  Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. He directs SPIRES, the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services, an initiative providing technical assistance and training to family planning programs in a wide variety of countries across Africa, Asia, and Central America. For over 35 years, Dr. Blumenthal has been an advisor to multiple international agencies such as Gynuity Health Projects, Ipas, Pathfinder, Family Health International, Path, Jhpiego, Population Services International, and the World Health Organization and served as the Special Advisor to Minister of Health and Family Planning of the Republic of Madagascar. Dr. Blumenthal is currently involved in studies of menstrual blood for diagnostic utility, Post Partum IUD insertion, “single visit” approaches to the prevention of cervical cancer and simplification of both medical abortion regimens and contraceptive delivery systems. He is an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications involving collaborations from over 25 countries. Dr. Blumenthal is committed to the development and implementation of innovative approaches to reproductive health issues in both the domestic and international arenas.  Dr Arachu Castro, Ph.D., MPH, is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans, United States. She is a medical anthropologist trained in public health. Before joining Tulane in 2013, she was Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on the management of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, she researches the differential impact of obstetric violence on maternal and child health outcomes and the indirect effects of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to health services for women, children, and adolescents. Dr Castro is former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology, member of WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health & Nutrition, and the Executive Committees of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and the Sustainable Health Equity Movement. She has published widely.  To learn more about IMAP and its published statements, please visit: https://www.ippf.org/our-approach/high-standards-care/imap

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| 09 March 2022

IPPF announces appointment of 8 new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel

IPPF is proud to announce the appointment of eight new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel (IMAP). Since its inception in 1979, the IMAP has convened leading experts in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and acted as an independent advisory body on SRHR topics and as strategic support to the Federation. We expect the new members to enrich the discussions of and development of IMAP Statements which address the most urgent issues in our field for the benefit of Member Associations and external partners globally. The new members come from diverse backgrounds and expertise including HIV/STIs, cervical cancer, adolescent health, infertility, sexual and transgender health, maternal morbidity and mortality, comprehensive abortion care and, SRH quality of care. We look forward to working with the new and existing members of the IMAP to produce high-quality guidance for the years to come. To learn more about the new members, please check out their bios here: Dr. Edmore Munongo is currently the Principal Managing Partner and Founder of HEARTS consultancy and a technical expert for Global Fund Local Fund Agent (LFA) in Zimbabwe.  He has worked as the technical expert in the area of NCDs for WHO from 2019 to 2021. prior to that he had worked in the southern African region as a consultant in different areas of public health including SRHR and SGBV. These covered countries like Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. He has experience working with several donors and program implementers including Global fund, UN agencies, DFID, USAID, FHI360 among others. A holder of an MBChB, MBA, MPhil, Post Graduate Certificate in Sexual Reproductive Health Research, and a current PhD candidate in Medical Sociology. Edmore has previously worked as the Technical Director of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council and Population service Zimbabwe between 2012 and 2016.  During that time, Edmore thrived to improve access to FP and SRHR to the most marginalized communities using evidence based strategies. This made him a frequent presenter in many fora like the international conference for FP (ICFP). Edmore has led the development of the Botswana FP Strategy and the Zimbabwe FP costed implementation plan among other strategic documents.  Gail Knudson MD, MEd, FRCPC, is a Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Victoria, and Consultant Psychiatrist at Vancouver Coastal Health. Dr. Knudson has participated in many international panels as well as guidelines and consensus committees on transgender health. She is a co-author of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care Version 7 (SOC 7) and is co-lead of the Education and Ethics chapters for the upcoming SOC 8. Dr. Knudson currently serves as Co-Chair of WPATH’s Global Education Institute and is a Past President of WPATH and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH). Dr Knudson is a member of the WHO Implementing Best Practice (IBP) Network Steering Committee and has also held leadership positions within the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Zozo Nene is an Adjunct professor, a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.  She is Head of the Reproductive & Endocrine unit at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  She is a South African representative of WHO-FIGO collaboration on contraception.  She participated in the WHO and Partners Stakeholders' Technical Consultation meeting on Hormonal contraception and HIV and various other WHO Stakeholders’ meetings.    She is part of the South African National Department of Health’s technical expert advisory team on contraception and infertility. She is one of the scientific experts on the SRHR Curriculum development in South Africa.  She is lead author of the National Clinical Guidelines for Safe Conception and Infertility. She is part of the guideline development group for the National Clinical Guidelines for Implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy act and the updated National Contraceptive Clinical Guidelines.   Dr Chipo Gwanzura, MD, MMED, FCOG, is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist at the University of Zimbabwe and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a 2020 -2021 Fogarty University of California Global Health Institute GloCal Fellow, and current fellow on the Advancing Early Diagnosis of Cancer in Southern Africa (AWACAN-ED) study. She is an early career researcher whose goal is to provide quality evidence-based healthcare to women and contribute to finding solutions to reduce the burden of female morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan Africa and globally. Her current work focuses on postpartum haemorrhage prevention; and cervical, breast and colorectal cancer prevention. Her clinical focus is on minimally invasive surgery. She is undertaking sub-specialty training with the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. She is past vice-president of the World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WATOG; 2018 - 2021). Currently she is Chair of Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ZSOG) Public Relations Committee; committee member of the Zimbabwe Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (ZSGE); Member of the Knowledge and Evidence Working Group of the Partnership for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (PMNCH); and member of the Committee on Minimal Access Surgery of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). She has presented at local and international conferences and published scientific articles. Metin Gülmezoglu is an obstetrician gynaecologist who worked in Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He is currently the Executive Director of Concept Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization working on improving access to quality-assured sexual and reproductive health medicines and technologies in low- and middle-income countries worldwide based in Geneva, Switzerland and Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining Concept Foundation, Metin was working at HRP (the UNDP/ UNFPA/ UNICEF/ WHO/ World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction), World Health Organization, as the Coordinator for Maternal and Perinatal Health and Abortion.  Metin published more than 300 articles and book chapters and gave numerous presentations in global, regional and national conferences and meetings. Metin is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK and honorary member of The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in the U.S.A. Michalina Drejza, MD, MSc is a junior doctor and scientist from Poland. Currently working as a Specialty Trainee in East of England School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  She worked as a consultant at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research focusing mostly on the work on self-care interventions, abortion and youth-related SRHR issues. Michalina has been involved in leadership roles within global youth spaces such as the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations, Adolescent and Youth Constituency of The Partnership of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, UNAIDS The PACT, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and many more.  She is currently completing PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology creating holistic adolescent sexual and reproductive health care model for Polish youth. Recently completed MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interest are youth SRHR issues and meaningful community and youth engagement in global health spaces.  Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. He directs SPIRES, the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services, an initiative providing technical assistance and training to family planning programs in a wide variety of countries across Africa, Asia, and Central America. For over 35 years, Dr. Blumenthal has been an advisor to multiple international agencies such as Gynuity Health Projects, Ipas, Pathfinder, Family Health International, Path, Jhpiego, Population Services International, and the World Health Organization and served as the Special Advisor to Minister of Health and Family Planning of the Republic of Madagascar. Dr. Blumenthal is currently involved in studies of menstrual blood for diagnostic utility, Post Partum IUD insertion, “single visit” approaches to the prevention of cervical cancer and simplification of both medical abortion regimens and contraceptive delivery systems. He is an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications involving collaborations from over 25 countries. Dr. Blumenthal is committed to the development and implementation of innovative approaches to reproductive health issues in both the domestic and international arenas.  Dr Arachu Castro, Ph.D., MPH, is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans, United States. She is a medical anthropologist trained in public health. Before joining Tulane in 2013, she was Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on the management of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, she researches the differential impact of obstetric violence on maternal and child health outcomes and the indirect effects of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to health services for women, children, and adolescents. Dr Castro is former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology, member of WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health & Nutrition, and the Executive Committees of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and the Sustainable Health Equity Movement. She has published widely.  To learn more about IMAP and its published statements, please visit: https://www.ippf.org/our-approach/high-standards-care/imap

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion
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| 22 February 2022

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion
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| 21 February 2022

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

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| 26 January 2022

Joint CSO Letter on NSA Involvement in WHO Governing Bodies

The foundation of public interest civil society organizations’ (CSOs) work within the governing body meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO) is recognized in Articles 18, 33 and 71 of the WHO Constitution and subsequent Basic Documents.[1] More recently, the crucial role of CSOs was reaffirmed through the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA),[2] and WHO’s 13th Programme of Work (PoW) adopted during the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly in 2018, which consistently refers to the critical role of CSOs in achieving the General Program of Work 2019-2023, and mandates engagement and cooperation with civil society. As stated in the PoW, “WHO can only accomplish the ambitious goals of GPW 13 with partners from all sectors including civil society…”.[3] More than ever before, the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently shown the fundamental role CSOs play in advocating for WHO’s commitment to health for all, providing essential health care and services, especially for the most marginalized, and Member States’ interest in engaging with CSOs. Civil society organizations around the world have been critical to both national responses to the pandemic and to sustaining the provision of essential health services, including where public service delivery points have closed or could not reach populations. The undersigned public interest CSOs agree that the current status quo of the methods of work needs to be revised in order to provide for meaningful CSO engagement, and to analyse the opportunity to review the involvement of non-state actors in WHO’s governing bodies. For these reasons, we have consistently engaged and invested time in contributing to the questionnaires and surveys and participating in meetings organized by WHO’s secretariat. We are also very much involved in creating a WHO-CSO Commission that is truly representative, transparent, effective and relevant to WHO’s work. However, despite our efforts, civil society voices and positions are still not reflected in the various proposals presented by the secretariat reports, including EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies” and the proposed decisions within. Instead of increasing meaningful participation, top-down approaches are being imposed on us without a transparent and open dialogue among the different stakeholders, especially member states and CSOs. This situation tokenizes civil society’s presence in WHO governing bodies. Restricting all Non-State Actors (NSA) engagement to joint constituency statements on agenda items defined only by WHO secretariat drastically reduces the different CSO voices and perspectives and stifles those working on diverse health-related issues. It also forces CSOs to fully agree on written statements and positions with private sector corporation with very different interests, values and motivations on health equity and human rights. Requiring joint statements to represent the views of broad constituencies of non-state actors inevitably homogenizes rich and diverse positions about public health issues and will silence critical debate in certain areas. It reduces engagement of CSOs to meaningless, generalized interventions based on the lowest common denominator. Additionally, contrary to our guidance in 2021, the WHA pre-meetings included Member States in only a fraction of sessions, and while we appreciate those Member States who made the effort to attend, there were very few present and the structure of the meeting did not facilitate a dialogue of any sort between Member States and CSOs. Furthermore, the way in which these processes have been imposed has made meaningful participation impossible. Poor organization, extremely late participation details, a dearth of information necessary for coordination, and impossible short deadlines have made the “trials” of constituency statements and pre-WHA meetings in 2021 a failure, even for those who attempted to participate despite these challenges. On other agenda items, CSO statements which are often substantive, evidence-based, contributing a high-level of professional expertise and reflecting multi-country situations, are expected to be summarized in 1 minute and relegated to the end of the meeting. These types of dynamics reduce the efficacy of WHO meetings for both CSO and states, rather than focusing on the urgency of the issues at hand. Rather than repeating failures for a second year, and eventually institutionalize these pre-meetings, a clear and bottom-up process needs to be created for different models of CSO engagement and for the proposals of CSOs to be heard. Therefore, the undersigned CSOs, call on Member States to:  Establish a working group of Member States and CSOs, CSOs taking into account geographical, LMICs, diverse areas of work or any other pertinent criteria, to define an effective working relationship and meaningful engagement mechanisms for CSOs to participate in WHO governance bodies and work, and report back to the 152nd Session of the Executive Board in January 2023.    Not to endorse the proposed decisions in paragraphs 22(a) and (b) of document EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies,” and to replace paragraph 22(c) with one calling for the chair of the Executive Board to report on the conclusions of the working group and resulting proposals at the 152nd Session of the Executive Board.   Ensure an open and meaningful participation of non-state actors, not merely delivering statements, which may include timely information-sharing, access to meetings and draft documents, and meaningful engagement opportunities with Member States while decisions are being considered.   Ensure the principles of transparency, diversity, inclusivity, equality, and accountability are the foundation of this new working relationship. We request the WHO Secretariat to assist Member States and CSOs on these debates and not to enforce views or positions. We furthermore encourage Member States to voice support for this working group to ensure meaningful, effective CSO engagement in WHO’s work and governance, not merely delivering statements. Sincerely, African Centre Global Health & Social Transformation Act Church of Sweden Africa Health Budget Network Aidsfonds AIDS Vaccine Action Coalition* Alzheimer’s Disease International* Association For Promotion Sustainable Development Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Centre For Accountability And Inclusive Development (CAAID) Centre for Health Science and Law CHEN - Patient Fertility association, Israel Commonwealth Medical Trust Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development Corporate Accountability* El Poder del Consumidor Enfants du Monde Fundacion Huesped HADAM Right to Food Malaysia Health Action International* HelpAge International* International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care* International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)* International Federation on Ageing* International Federation of Medical Students' Associations* International Longevity Center Dominican Republic (ILC-DR) International Longevity Centre Canada International Longevity Centre Global Alliance International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)* Madhira Institute Medecins Sans Frontier* Medicus Mundi International - Network Health for All* Member Care Associates Movendi International* Near North Palliative Care Network Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK) Pan African Health Systems Network, Germany People’s Health Movement People’s Health Movement Kenya Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) STOPAIDS The Swedish Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Viva Salud WaterAid* Wemos World Federation of Public Health Associations* World Public Health Nutrition Association Wote Youth Development Projects Youth Initiative for the Promotion of Good Leadership in Nigeria *CSO in Official Relations with WHO     [1] Criteria for the admission of NGOs into official relations with WHO in the 47th edition (2009) [2] Framework of engagement with non-State actors (FENSA), paras 15-20, page 22 [3] Thirteenth General Program of Work 2019-2023, Page 46

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| 24 January 2022

Joint CSO Letter on NSA Involvement in WHO Governing Bodies

The foundation of public interest civil society organizations’ (CSOs) work within the governing body meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO) is recognized in Articles 18, 33 and 71 of the WHO Constitution and subsequent Basic Documents.[1] More recently, the crucial role of CSOs was reaffirmed through the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA),[2] and WHO’s 13th Programme of Work (PoW) adopted during the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly in 2018, which consistently refers to the critical role of CSOs in achieving the General Program of Work 2019-2023, and mandates engagement and cooperation with civil society. As stated in the PoW, “WHO can only accomplish the ambitious goals of GPW 13 with partners from all sectors including civil society…”.[3] More than ever before, the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently shown the fundamental role CSOs play in advocating for WHO’s commitment to health for all, providing essential health care and services, especially for the most marginalized, and Member States’ interest in engaging with CSOs. Civil society organizations around the world have been critical to both national responses to the pandemic and to sustaining the provision of essential health services, including where public service delivery points have closed or could not reach populations. The undersigned public interest CSOs agree that the current status quo of the methods of work needs to be revised in order to provide for meaningful CSO engagement, and to analyse the opportunity to review the involvement of non-state actors in WHO’s governing bodies. For these reasons, we have consistently engaged and invested time in contributing to the questionnaires and surveys and participating in meetings organized by WHO’s secretariat. We are also very much involved in creating a WHO-CSO Commission that is truly representative, transparent, effective and relevant to WHO’s work. However, despite our efforts, civil society voices and positions are still not reflected in the various proposals presented by the secretariat reports, including EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies” and the proposed decisions within. Instead of increasing meaningful participation, top-down approaches are being imposed on us without a transparent and open dialogue among the different stakeholders, especially member states and CSOs. This situation tokenizes civil society’s presence in WHO governing bodies. Restricting all Non-State Actors (NSA) engagement to joint constituency statements on agenda items defined only by WHO secretariat drastically reduces the different CSO voices and perspectives and stifles those working on diverse health-related issues. It also forces CSOs to fully agree on written statements and positions with private sector corporation with very different interests, values and motivations on health equity and human rights. Requiring joint statements to represent the views of broad constituencies of non-state actors inevitably homogenizes rich and diverse positions about public health issues and will silence critical debate in certain areas. It reduces engagement of CSOs to meaningless, generalized interventions based on the lowest common denominator. Additionally, contrary to our guidance in 2021, the WHA pre-meetings included Member States in only a fraction of sessions, and while we appreciate those Member States who made the effort to attend, there were very few present and the structure of the meeting did not facilitate a dialogue of any sort between Member States and CSOs. Furthermore, the way in which these processes have been imposed has made meaningful participation impossible. Poor organization, extremely late participation details, a dearth of information necessary for coordination, and impossible short deadlines have made the “trials” of constituency statements and pre-WHA meetings in 2021 a failure, even for those who attempted to participate despite these challenges. On other agenda items, CSO statements which are often substantive, evidence-based, contributing a high-level of professional expertise and reflecting multi-country situations, are expected to be summarized in 1 minute and relegated to the end of the meeting. These types of dynamics reduce the efficacy of WHO meetings for both CSO and states, rather than focusing on the urgency of the issues at hand. Rather than repeating failures for a second year, and eventually institutionalize these pre-meetings, a clear and bottom-up process needs to be created for different models of CSO engagement and for the proposals of CSOs to be heard. Therefore, the undersigned CSOs, call on Member States to:  Establish a working group of Member States and CSOs, CSOs taking into account geographical, LMICs, diverse areas of work or any other pertinent criteria, to define an effective working relationship and meaningful engagement mechanisms for CSOs to participate in WHO governance bodies and work, and report back to the 152nd Session of the Executive Board in January 2023.    Not to endorse the proposed decisions in paragraphs 22(a) and (b) of document EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies,” and to replace paragraph 22(c) with one calling for the chair of the Executive Board to report on the conclusions of the working group and resulting proposals at the 152nd Session of the Executive Board.   Ensure an open and meaningful participation of non-state actors, not merely delivering statements, which may include timely information-sharing, access to meetings and draft documents, and meaningful engagement opportunities with Member States while decisions are being considered.   Ensure the principles of transparency, diversity, inclusivity, equality, and accountability are the foundation of this new working relationship. We request the WHO Secretariat to assist Member States and CSOs on these debates and not to enforce views or positions. We furthermore encourage Member States to voice support for this working group to ensure meaningful, effective CSO engagement in WHO’s work and governance, not merely delivering statements. Sincerely, African Centre Global Health & Social Transformation Act Church of Sweden Africa Health Budget Network Aidsfonds AIDS Vaccine Action Coalition* Alzheimer’s Disease International* Association For Promotion Sustainable Development Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Centre For Accountability And Inclusive Development (CAAID) Centre for Health Science and Law CHEN - Patient Fertility association, Israel Commonwealth Medical Trust Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development Corporate Accountability* El Poder del Consumidor Enfants du Monde Fundacion Huesped HADAM Right to Food Malaysia Health Action International* HelpAge International* International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care* International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)* International Federation on Ageing* International Federation of Medical Students' Associations* International Longevity Center Dominican Republic (ILC-DR) International Longevity Centre Canada International Longevity Centre Global Alliance International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)* Madhira Institute Medecins Sans Frontier* Medicus Mundi International - Network Health for All* Member Care Associates Movendi International* Near North Palliative Care Network Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK) Pan African Health Systems Network, Germany People’s Health Movement People’s Health Movement Kenya Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) STOPAIDS The Swedish Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Viva Salud WaterAid* Wemos World Federation of Public Health Associations* World Public Health Nutrition Association Wote Youth Development Projects Youth Initiative for the Promotion of Good Leadership in Nigeria *CSO in Official Relations with WHO     [1] Criteria for the admission of NGOs into official relations with WHO in the 47th edition (2009) [2] Framework of engagement with non-State actors (FENSA), paras 15-20, page 22 [3] Thirteenth General Program of Work 2019-2023, Page 46

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| 26 March 2022

Statement on the outcome of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 66)

For the first time, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has adopted Agreed Conclusions on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. IPPF has actively engaged in the process by providing technical inputs and raising awareness about the interlinkages between SRHR, climate change, gender equality and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls.  IPPF welcomes CSW’s recognition that sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical to ensuring women’s resilience and adaptation to climate and humanitarian crises. As well as climate change is a gendered crisis and disproportionately affects women and girls in all their diversity while recognizing the importance of climate adaptation and resilience for women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and humanitarian crises.  Additionally, we welcome references to comprehensive sexuality education, multiple intersecting forms of discrimination, reslience and adaptation, access to justice and accountability of violations, and civil society organizations' meaningful participation, including feminist organizations and women human rights defenders.  Consensus reached at this year’s Commission reflects the broad based support of Member States to take gender-responsive action to address and tackle the climate crisis - a crisis that is happening now and requires immediate and urgent action.

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| 26 March 2022

Statement on the outcome of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 66)

For the first time, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has adopted Agreed Conclusions on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. IPPF has actively engaged in the process by providing technical inputs and raising awareness about the interlinkages between SRHR, climate change, gender equality and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls.  IPPF welcomes CSW’s recognition that sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical to ensuring women’s resilience and adaptation to climate and humanitarian crises. As well as climate change is a gendered crisis and disproportionately affects women and girls in all their diversity while recognizing the importance of climate adaptation and resilience for women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and humanitarian crises.  Additionally, we welcome references to comprehensive sexuality education, multiple intersecting forms of discrimination, reslience and adaptation, access to justice and accountability of violations, and civil society organizations' meaningful participation, including feminist organizations and women human rights defenders.  Consensus reached at this year’s Commission reflects the broad based support of Member States to take gender-responsive action to address and tackle the climate crisis - a crisis that is happening now and requires immediate and urgent action.

Opening of the IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Office, Bogotá Colombia March 14th 2022
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| 18 March 2022

IPPF Office in Bogota

We are overjoyed to announce the opening of the first of two locations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation -  Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office (ACRO), in Bogota, Colombia. IPPF Director-General Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF ACRO's Regional Director Eugenia López Uribe, Deputy Regional Director Dona Da Costa Martinez, and IPPF Director of External Relations Mina Barling were joined by team members from the ACRO and London Offices to reinforce the commitment to the fight for rights and access to sexual and reproductive services in the region. This is an especially exciting time as Colombia stands as the latest champion to step forward to protect the bodily autonomy of everyone with the possibility of gestation, with a recent Constitutional Court victory legalizing access to abortion until 24 weeks. The new IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office serves Member Associations and Collaborative Partners in over 24 countries across the region, and which are growing in their movement building and service delivery capabilities, including comprehensive sex education, provision of contraceptive, safe abortion, and maternal care and responding to humanitarian crisis. IPPF pride ourselves on being local through our members and global through our network. At the heart of our mission is the provision of – and advocacy in support of – integrated healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, gender, sex, income, and crucially no matter how remote. Volunteerism is central to our healthcare delivery. It underpins the vital work of our members and their teams, whether through community outreach and distribution of contraceptive care or the regional Youth Action Movements championing change.  

Opening of the IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Office, Bogotá Colombia March 14th 2022
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| 17 March 2022

IPPF Office in Bogota

We are overjoyed to announce the opening of the first of two locations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation -  Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office (ACRO), in Bogota, Colombia. IPPF Director-General Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF ACRO's Regional Director Eugenia López Uribe, Deputy Regional Director Dona Da Costa Martinez, and IPPF Director of External Relations Mina Barling were joined by team members from the ACRO and London Offices to reinforce the commitment to the fight for rights and access to sexual and reproductive services in the region. This is an especially exciting time as Colombia stands as the latest champion to step forward to protect the bodily autonomy of everyone with the possibility of gestation, with a recent Constitutional Court victory legalizing access to abortion until 24 weeks. The new IPPF Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office serves Member Associations and Collaborative Partners in over 24 countries across the region, and which are growing in their movement building and service delivery capabilities, including comprehensive sex education, provision of contraceptive, safe abortion, and maternal care and responding to humanitarian crisis. IPPF pride ourselves on being local through our members and global through our network. At the heart of our mission is the provision of – and advocacy in support of – integrated healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, gender, sex, income, and crucially no matter how remote. Volunteerism is central to our healthcare delivery. It underpins the vital work of our members and their teams, whether through community outreach and distribution of contraceptive care or the regional Youth Action Movements championing change.  

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| 30 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 15 March 2022

IPPF Part of Team Funded by USAID to Implement Global Health Equity Project

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has joined an international network to promote and sustain improved health and agency in low- and middle-income countries through Agency for All Project The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries. “Agency for All” is intended to develop and foster social and behavioral research resulting in a better understanding of how to promote the voices of local people within their own communities and within health and development programming. It addresses multiple dimensions of health and well-being, including maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health. The program will work with diverse populations across the globe, with a focus on Africa and South Asia. GEH will coordinate the consortium of global, regional and local leaders to conduct research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas, said Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, who will serve as project director.  “Agency for All will look at the complex questions of ‘agency,’ and what that means for different people, organizations and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners,” said Lundgren. “We are honored to bring together a global consortium of world class researchers and implementers to discover what works to convert intention into action within social and behavior change programs and make it work for real people.” The initiative will concentrate on three geographical areas or hubs in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions. In addition to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, these partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change (India), Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (Cameroon), Makerere University (Uganda), Matchboxology (South Africa), Sambodhi (India), Shujaaz, Inc. (Kenya), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), CORE Group, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo. “These locally-led partnerships are critical,” said Paul Bukuluki, PhD, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. “We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society.” About the Center on Gender Equity and Health  The GEH conducts multidisciplinary research to understand and eliminate gender inequities, specifically in the areas of child marriage, unpaid labor, gender-based violence and gender social norms.  It is directed by Anita Raj, PhD, professor of infectious diseases and global public health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

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| 09 March 2022

IPPF announces appointment of 8 new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel

IPPF is proud to announce the appointment of eight new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel (IMAP). Since its inception in 1979, the IMAP has convened leading experts in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and acted as an independent advisory body on SRHR topics and as strategic support to the Federation. We expect the new members to enrich the discussions of and development of IMAP Statements which address the most urgent issues in our field for the benefit of Member Associations and external partners globally. The new members come from diverse backgrounds and expertise including HIV/STIs, cervical cancer, adolescent health, infertility, sexual and transgender health, maternal morbidity and mortality, comprehensive abortion care and, SRH quality of care. We look forward to working with the new and existing members of the IMAP to produce high-quality guidance for the years to come. To learn more about the new members, please check out their bios here: Dr. Edmore Munongo is currently the Principal Managing Partner and Founder of HEARTS consultancy and a technical expert for Global Fund Local Fund Agent (LFA) in Zimbabwe.  He has worked as the technical expert in the area of NCDs for WHO from 2019 to 2021. prior to that he had worked in the southern African region as a consultant in different areas of public health including SRHR and SGBV. These covered countries like Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. He has experience working with several donors and program implementers including Global fund, UN agencies, DFID, USAID, FHI360 among others. A holder of an MBChB, MBA, MPhil, Post Graduate Certificate in Sexual Reproductive Health Research, and a current PhD candidate in Medical Sociology. Edmore has previously worked as the Technical Director of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council and Population service Zimbabwe between 2012 and 2016.  During that time, Edmore thrived to improve access to FP and SRHR to the most marginalized communities using evidence based strategies. This made him a frequent presenter in many fora like the international conference for FP (ICFP). Edmore has led the development of the Botswana FP Strategy and the Zimbabwe FP costed implementation plan among other strategic documents.  Gail Knudson MD, MEd, FRCPC, is a Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Victoria, and Consultant Psychiatrist at Vancouver Coastal Health. Dr. Knudson has participated in many international panels as well as guidelines and consensus committees on transgender health. She is a co-author of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care Version 7 (SOC 7) and is co-lead of the Education and Ethics chapters for the upcoming SOC 8. Dr. Knudson currently serves as Co-Chair of WPATH’s Global Education Institute and is a Past President of WPATH and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH). Dr Knudson is a member of the WHO Implementing Best Practice (IBP) Network Steering Committee and has also held leadership positions within the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Zozo Nene is an Adjunct professor, a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.  She is Head of the Reproductive & Endocrine unit at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  She is a South African representative of WHO-FIGO collaboration on contraception.  She participated in the WHO and Partners Stakeholders' Technical Consultation meeting on Hormonal contraception and HIV and various other WHO Stakeholders’ meetings.    She is part of the South African National Department of Health’s technical expert advisory team on contraception and infertility. She is one of the scientific experts on the SRHR Curriculum development in South Africa.  She is lead author of the National Clinical Guidelines for Safe Conception and Infertility. She is part of the guideline development group for the National Clinical Guidelines for Implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy act and the updated National Contraceptive Clinical Guidelines.   Dr Chipo Gwanzura, MD, MMED, FCOG, is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist at the University of Zimbabwe and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a 2020 -2021 Fogarty University of California Global Health Institute GloCal Fellow, and current fellow on the Advancing Early Diagnosis of Cancer in Southern Africa (AWACAN-ED) study. She is an early career researcher whose goal is to provide quality evidence-based healthcare to women and contribute to finding solutions to reduce the burden of female morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan Africa and globally. Her current work focuses on postpartum haemorrhage prevention; and cervical, breast and colorectal cancer prevention. Her clinical focus is on minimally invasive surgery. She is undertaking sub-specialty training with the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. She is past vice-president of the World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WATOG; 2018 - 2021). Currently she is Chair of Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ZSOG) Public Relations Committee; committee member of the Zimbabwe Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (ZSGE); Member of the Knowledge and Evidence Working Group of the Partnership for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (PMNCH); and member of the Committee on Minimal Access Surgery of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). She has presented at local and international conferences and published scientific articles. Metin Gülmezoglu is an obstetrician gynaecologist who worked in Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He is currently the Executive Director of Concept Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization working on improving access to quality-assured sexual and reproductive health medicines and technologies in low- and middle-income countries worldwide based in Geneva, Switzerland and Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining Concept Foundation, Metin was working at HRP (the UNDP/ UNFPA/ UNICEF/ WHO/ World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction), World Health Organization, as the Coordinator for Maternal and Perinatal Health and Abortion.  Metin published more than 300 articles and book chapters and gave numerous presentations in global, regional and national conferences and meetings. Metin is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK and honorary member of The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in the U.S.A. Michalina Drejza, MD, MSc is a junior doctor and scientist from Poland. Currently working as a Specialty Trainee in East of England School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  She worked as a consultant at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research focusing mostly on the work on self-care interventions, abortion and youth-related SRHR issues. Michalina has been involved in leadership roles within global youth spaces such as the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations, Adolescent and Youth Constituency of The Partnership of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, UNAIDS The PACT, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and many more.  She is currently completing PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology creating holistic adolescent sexual and reproductive health care model for Polish youth. Recently completed MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interest are youth SRHR issues and meaningful community and youth engagement in global health spaces.  Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. He directs SPIRES, the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services, an initiative providing technical assistance and training to family planning programs in a wide variety of countries across Africa, Asia, and Central America. For over 35 years, Dr. Blumenthal has been an advisor to multiple international agencies such as Gynuity Health Projects, Ipas, Pathfinder, Family Health International, Path, Jhpiego, Population Services International, and the World Health Organization and served as the Special Advisor to Minister of Health and Family Planning of the Republic of Madagascar. Dr. Blumenthal is currently involved in studies of menstrual blood for diagnostic utility, Post Partum IUD insertion, “single visit” approaches to the prevention of cervical cancer and simplification of both medical abortion regimens and contraceptive delivery systems. He is an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications involving collaborations from over 25 countries. Dr. Blumenthal is committed to the development and implementation of innovative approaches to reproductive health issues in both the domestic and international arenas.  Dr Arachu Castro, Ph.D., MPH, is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans, United States. She is a medical anthropologist trained in public health. Before joining Tulane in 2013, she was Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on the management of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, she researches the differential impact of obstetric violence on maternal and child health outcomes and the indirect effects of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to health services for women, children, and adolescents. Dr Castro is former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology, member of WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health & Nutrition, and the Executive Committees of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and the Sustainable Health Equity Movement. She has published widely.  To learn more about IMAP and its published statements, please visit: https://www.ippf.org/our-approach/high-standards-care/imap

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| 09 March 2022

IPPF announces appointment of 8 new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel

IPPF is proud to announce the appointment of eight new members to the International Medical Advisory Panel (IMAP). Since its inception in 1979, the IMAP has convened leading experts in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and acted as an independent advisory body on SRHR topics and as strategic support to the Federation. We expect the new members to enrich the discussions of and development of IMAP Statements which address the most urgent issues in our field for the benefit of Member Associations and external partners globally. The new members come from diverse backgrounds and expertise including HIV/STIs, cervical cancer, adolescent health, infertility, sexual and transgender health, maternal morbidity and mortality, comprehensive abortion care and, SRH quality of care. We look forward to working with the new and existing members of the IMAP to produce high-quality guidance for the years to come. To learn more about the new members, please check out their bios here: Dr. Edmore Munongo is currently the Principal Managing Partner and Founder of HEARTS consultancy and a technical expert for Global Fund Local Fund Agent (LFA) in Zimbabwe.  He has worked as the technical expert in the area of NCDs for WHO from 2019 to 2021. prior to that he had worked in the southern African region as a consultant in different areas of public health including SRHR and SGBV. These covered countries like Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. He has experience working with several donors and program implementers including Global fund, UN agencies, DFID, USAID, FHI360 among others. A holder of an MBChB, MBA, MPhil, Post Graduate Certificate in Sexual Reproductive Health Research, and a current PhD candidate in Medical Sociology. Edmore has previously worked as the Technical Director of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council and Population service Zimbabwe between 2012 and 2016.  During that time, Edmore thrived to improve access to FP and SRHR to the most marginalized communities using evidence based strategies. This made him a frequent presenter in many fora like the international conference for FP (ICFP). Edmore has led the development of the Botswana FP Strategy and the Zimbabwe FP costed implementation plan among other strategic documents.  Gail Knudson MD, MEd, FRCPC, is a Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Victoria, and Consultant Psychiatrist at Vancouver Coastal Health. Dr. Knudson has participated in many international panels as well as guidelines and consensus committees on transgender health. She is a co-author of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care Version 7 (SOC 7) and is co-lead of the Education and Ethics chapters for the upcoming SOC 8. Dr. Knudson currently serves as Co-Chair of WPATH’s Global Education Institute and is a Past President of WPATH and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH). Dr Knudson is a member of the WHO Implementing Best Practice (IBP) Network Steering Committee and has also held leadership positions within the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Zozo Nene is an Adjunct professor, a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.  She is Head of the Reproductive & Endocrine unit at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  She is a South African representative of WHO-FIGO collaboration on contraception.  She participated in the WHO and Partners Stakeholders' Technical Consultation meeting on Hormonal contraception and HIV and various other WHO Stakeholders’ meetings.    She is part of the South African National Department of Health’s technical expert advisory team on contraception and infertility. She is one of the scientific experts on the SRHR Curriculum development in South Africa.  She is lead author of the National Clinical Guidelines for Safe Conception and Infertility. She is part of the guideline development group for the National Clinical Guidelines for Implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy act and the updated National Contraceptive Clinical Guidelines.   Dr Chipo Gwanzura, MD, MMED, FCOG, is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist at the University of Zimbabwe and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a 2020 -2021 Fogarty University of California Global Health Institute GloCal Fellow, and current fellow on the Advancing Early Diagnosis of Cancer in Southern Africa (AWACAN-ED) study. She is an early career researcher whose goal is to provide quality evidence-based healthcare to women and contribute to finding solutions to reduce the burden of female morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan Africa and globally. Her current work focuses on postpartum haemorrhage prevention; and cervical, breast and colorectal cancer prevention. Her clinical focus is on minimally invasive surgery. She is undertaking sub-specialty training with the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. She is past vice-president of the World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WATOG; 2018 - 2021). Currently she is Chair of Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ZSOG) Public Relations Committee; committee member of the Zimbabwe Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (ZSGE); Member of the Knowledge and Evidence Working Group of the Partnership for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (PMNCH); and member of the Committee on Minimal Access Surgery of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). She has presented at local and international conferences and published scientific articles. Metin Gülmezoglu is an obstetrician gynaecologist who worked in Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He is currently the Executive Director of Concept Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization working on improving access to quality-assured sexual and reproductive health medicines and technologies in low- and middle-income countries worldwide based in Geneva, Switzerland and Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining Concept Foundation, Metin was working at HRP (the UNDP/ UNFPA/ UNICEF/ WHO/ World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction), World Health Organization, as the Coordinator for Maternal and Perinatal Health and Abortion.  Metin published more than 300 articles and book chapters and gave numerous presentations in global, regional and national conferences and meetings. Metin is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK and honorary member of The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in the U.S.A. Michalina Drejza, MD, MSc is a junior doctor and scientist from Poland. Currently working as a Specialty Trainee in East of England School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  She worked as a consultant at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research focusing mostly on the work on self-care interventions, abortion and youth-related SRHR issues. Michalina has been involved in leadership roles within global youth spaces such as the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations, Adolescent and Youth Constituency of The Partnership of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, UNAIDS The PACT, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and many more.  She is currently completing PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology creating holistic adolescent sexual and reproductive health care model for Polish youth. Recently completed MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interest are youth SRHR issues and meaningful community and youth engagement in global health spaces.  Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. He directs SPIRES, the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services, an initiative providing technical assistance and training to family planning programs in a wide variety of countries across Africa, Asia, and Central America. For over 35 years, Dr. Blumenthal has been an advisor to multiple international agencies such as Gynuity Health Projects, Ipas, Pathfinder, Family Health International, Path, Jhpiego, Population Services International, and the World Health Organization and served as the Special Advisor to Minister of Health and Family Planning of the Republic of Madagascar. Dr. Blumenthal is currently involved in studies of menstrual blood for diagnostic utility, Post Partum IUD insertion, “single visit” approaches to the prevention of cervical cancer and simplification of both medical abortion regimens and contraceptive delivery systems. He is an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications involving collaborations from over 25 countries. Dr. Blumenthal is committed to the development and implementation of innovative approaches to reproductive health issues in both the domestic and international arenas.  Dr Arachu Castro, Ph.D., MPH, is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans, United States. She is a medical anthropologist trained in public health. Before joining Tulane in 2013, she was Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on the management of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, she researches the differential impact of obstetric violence on maternal and child health outcomes and the indirect effects of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to health services for women, children, and adolescents. Dr Castro is former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology, member of WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health & Nutrition, and the Executive Committees of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and the Sustainable Health Equity Movement. She has published widely.  To learn more about IMAP and its published statements, please visit: https://www.ippf.org/our-approach/high-standards-care/imap

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion
news item

| 22 February 2022

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion
news_item

| 21 February 2022

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

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news item

| 26 January 2022

Joint CSO Letter on NSA Involvement in WHO Governing Bodies

The foundation of public interest civil society organizations’ (CSOs) work within the governing body meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO) is recognized in Articles 18, 33 and 71 of the WHO Constitution and subsequent Basic Documents.[1] More recently, the crucial role of CSOs was reaffirmed through the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA),[2] and WHO’s 13th Programme of Work (PoW) adopted during the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly in 2018, which consistently refers to the critical role of CSOs in achieving the General Program of Work 2019-2023, and mandates engagement and cooperation with civil society. As stated in the PoW, “WHO can only accomplish the ambitious goals of GPW 13 with partners from all sectors including civil society…”.[3] More than ever before, the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently shown the fundamental role CSOs play in advocating for WHO’s commitment to health for all, providing essential health care and services, especially for the most marginalized, and Member States’ interest in engaging with CSOs. Civil society organizations around the world have been critical to both national responses to the pandemic and to sustaining the provision of essential health services, including where public service delivery points have closed or could not reach populations. The undersigned public interest CSOs agree that the current status quo of the methods of work needs to be revised in order to provide for meaningful CSO engagement, and to analyse the opportunity to review the involvement of non-state actors in WHO’s governing bodies. For these reasons, we have consistently engaged and invested time in contributing to the questionnaires and surveys and participating in meetings organized by WHO’s secretariat. We are also very much involved in creating a WHO-CSO Commission that is truly representative, transparent, effective and relevant to WHO’s work. However, despite our efforts, civil society voices and positions are still not reflected in the various proposals presented by the secretariat reports, including EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies” and the proposed decisions within. Instead of increasing meaningful participation, top-down approaches are being imposed on us without a transparent and open dialogue among the different stakeholders, especially member states and CSOs. This situation tokenizes civil society’s presence in WHO governing bodies. Restricting all Non-State Actors (NSA) engagement to joint constituency statements on agenda items defined only by WHO secretariat drastically reduces the different CSO voices and perspectives and stifles those working on diverse health-related issues. It also forces CSOs to fully agree on written statements and positions with private sector corporation with very different interests, values and motivations on health equity and human rights. Requiring joint statements to represent the views of broad constituencies of non-state actors inevitably homogenizes rich and diverse positions about public health issues and will silence critical debate in certain areas. It reduces engagement of CSOs to meaningless, generalized interventions based on the lowest common denominator. Additionally, contrary to our guidance in 2021, the WHA pre-meetings included Member States in only a fraction of sessions, and while we appreciate those Member States who made the effort to attend, there were very few present and the structure of the meeting did not facilitate a dialogue of any sort between Member States and CSOs. Furthermore, the way in which these processes have been imposed has made meaningful participation impossible. Poor organization, extremely late participation details, a dearth of information necessary for coordination, and impossible short deadlines have made the “trials” of constituency statements and pre-WHA meetings in 2021 a failure, even for those who attempted to participate despite these challenges. On other agenda items, CSO statements which are often substantive, evidence-based, contributing a high-level of professional expertise and reflecting multi-country situations, are expected to be summarized in 1 minute and relegated to the end of the meeting. These types of dynamics reduce the efficacy of WHO meetings for both CSO and states, rather than focusing on the urgency of the issues at hand. Rather than repeating failures for a second year, and eventually institutionalize these pre-meetings, a clear and bottom-up process needs to be created for different models of CSO engagement and for the proposals of CSOs to be heard. Therefore, the undersigned CSOs, call on Member States to:  Establish a working group of Member States and CSOs, CSOs taking into account geographical, LMICs, diverse areas of work or any other pertinent criteria, to define an effective working relationship and meaningful engagement mechanisms for CSOs to participate in WHO governance bodies and work, and report back to the 152nd Session of the Executive Board in January 2023.    Not to endorse the proposed decisions in paragraphs 22(a) and (b) of document EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies,” and to replace paragraph 22(c) with one calling for the chair of the Executive Board to report on the conclusions of the working group and resulting proposals at the 152nd Session of the Executive Board.   Ensure an open and meaningful participation of non-state actors, not merely delivering statements, which may include timely information-sharing, access to meetings and draft documents, and meaningful engagement opportunities with Member States while decisions are being considered.   Ensure the principles of transparency, diversity, inclusivity, equality, and accountability are the foundation of this new working relationship. We request the WHO Secretariat to assist Member States and CSOs on these debates and not to enforce views or positions. We furthermore encourage Member States to voice support for this working group to ensure meaningful, effective CSO engagement in WHO’s work and governance, not merely delivering statements. Sincerely, African Centre Global Health & Social Transformation Act Church of Sweden Africa Health Budget Network Aidsfonds AIDS Vaccine Action Coalition* Alzheimer’s Disease International* Association For Promotion Sustainable Development Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Centre For Accountability And Inclusive Development (CAAID) Centre for Health Science and Law CHEN - Patient Fertility association, Israel Commonwealth Medical Trust Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development Corporate Accountability* El Poder del Consumidor Enfants du Monde Fundacion Huesped HADAM Right to Food Malaysia Health Action International* HelpAge International* International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care* International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)* International Federation on Ageing* International Federation of Medical Students' Associations* International Longevity Center Dominican Republic (ILC-DR) International Longevity Centre Canada International Longevity Centre Global Alliance International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)* Madhira Institute Medecins Sans Frontier* Medicus Mundi International - Network Health for All* Member Care Associates Movendi International* Near North Palliative Care Network Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK) Pan African Health Systems Network, Germany People’s Health Movement People’s Health Movement Kenya Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) STOPAIDS The Swedish Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Viva Salud WaterAid* Wemos World Federation of Public Health Associations* World Public Health Nutrition Association Wote Youth Development Projects Youth Initiative for the Promotion of Good Leadership in Nigeria *CSO in Official Relations with WHO     [1] Criteria for the admission of NGOs into official relations with WHO in the 47th edition (2009) [2] Framework of engagement with non-State actors (FENSA), paras 15-20, page 22 [3] Thirteenth General Program of Work 2019-2023, Page 46

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news_item

| 24 January 2022

Joint CSO Letter on NSA Involvement in WHO Governing Bodies

The foundation of public interest civil society organizations’ (CSOs) work within the governing body meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO) is recognized in Articles 18, 33 and 71 of the WHO Constitution and subsequent Basic Documents.[1] More recently, the crucial role of CSOs was reaffirmed through the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA),[2] and WHO’s 13th Programme of Work (PoW) adopted during the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly in 2018, which consistently refers to the critical role of CSOs in achieving the General Program of Work 2019-2023, and mandates engagement and cooperation with civil society. As stated in the PoW, “WHO can only accomplish the ambitious goals of GPW 13 with partners from all sectors including civil society…”.[3] More than ever before, the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently shown the fundamental role CSOs play in advocating for WHO’s commitment to health for all, providing essential health care and services, especially for the most marginalized, and Member States’ interest in engaging with CSOs. Civil society organizations around the world have been critical to both national responses to the pandemic and to sustaining the provision of essential health services, including where public service delivery points have closed or could not reach populations. The undersigned public interest CSOs agree that the current status quo of the methods of work needs to be revised in order to provide for meaningful CSO engagement, and to analyse the opportunity to review the involvement of non-state actors in WHO’s governing bodies. For these reasons, we have consistently engaged and invested time in contributing to the questionnaires and surveys and participating in meetings organized by WHO’s secretariat. We are also very much involved in creating a WHO-CSO Commission that is truly representative, transparent, effective and relevant to WHO’s work. However, despite our efforts, civil society voices and positions are still not reflected in the various proposals presented by the secretariat reports, including EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies” and the proposed decisions within. Instead of increasing meaningful participation, top-down approaches are being imposed on us without a transparent and open dialogue among the different stakeholders, especially member states and CSOs. This situation tokenizes civil society’s presence in WHO governing bodies. Restricting all Non-State Actors (NSA) engagement to joint constituency statements on agenda items defined only by WHO secretariat drastically reduces the different CSO voices and perspectives and stifles those working on diverse health-related issues. It also forces CSOs to fully agree on written statements and positions with private sector corporation with very different interests, values and motivations on health equity and human rights. Requiring joint statements to represent the views of broad constituencies of non-state actors inevitably homogenizes rich and diverse positions about public health issues and will silence critical debate in certain areas. It reduces engagement of CSOs to meaningless, generalized interventions based on the lowest common denominator. Additionally, contrary to our guidance in 2021, the WHA pre-meetings included Member States in only a fraction of sessions, and while we appreciate those Member States who made the effort to attend, there were very few present and the structure of the meeting did not facilitate a dialogue of any sort between Member States and CSOs. Furthermore, the way in which these processes have been imposed has made meaningful participation impossible. Poor organization, extremely late participation details, a dearth of information necessary for coordination, and impossible short deadlines have made the “trials” of constituency statements and pre-WHA meetings in 2021 a failure, even for those who attempted to participate despite these challenges. On other agenda items, CSO statements which are often substantive, evidence-based, contributing a high-level of professional expertise and reflecting multi-country situations, are expected to be summarized in 1 minute and relegated to the end of the meeting. These types of dynamics reduce the efficacy of WHO meetings for both CSO and states, rather than focusing on the urgency of the issues at hand. Rather than repeating failures for a second year, and eventually institutionalize these pre-meetings, a clear and bottom-up process needs to be created for different models of CSO engagement and for the proposals of CSOs to be heard. Therefore, the undersigned CSOs, call on Member States to:  Establish a working group of Member States and CSOs, CSOs taking into account geographical, LMICs, diverse areas of work or any other pertinent criteria, to define an effective working relationship and meaningful engagement mechanisms for CSOs to participate in WHO governance bodies and work, and report back to the 152nd Session of the Executive Board in January 2023.    Not to endorse the proposed decisions in paragraphs 22(a) and (b) of document EB150/37, “Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies,” and to replace paragraph 22(c) with one calling for the chair of the Executive Board to report on the conclusions of the working group and resulting proposals at the 152nd Session of the Executive Board.   Ensure an open and meaningful participation of non-state actors, not merely delivering statements, which may include timely information-sharing, access to meetings and draft documents, and meaningful engagement opportunities with Member States while decisions are being considered.   Ensure the principles of transparency, diversity, inclusivity, equality, and accountability are the foundation of this new working relationship. We request the WHO Secretariat to assist Member States and CSOs on these debates and not to enforce views or positions. We furthermore encourage Member States to voice support for this working group to ensure meaningful, effective CSO engagement in WHO’s work and governance, not merely delivering statements. Sincerely, African Centre Global Health & Social Transformation Act Church of Sweden Africa Health Budget Network Aidsfonds AIDS Vaccine Action Coalition* Alzheimer’s Disease International* Association For Promotion Sustainable Development Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Centre For Accountability And Inclusive Development (CAAID) Centre for Health Science and Law CHEN - Patient Fertility association, Israel Commonwealth Medical Trust Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development Corporate Accountability* El Poder del Consumidor Enfants du Monde Fundacion Huesped HADAM Right to Food Malaysia Health Action International* HelpAge International* International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care* International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)* International Federation on Ageing* International Federation of Medical Students' Associations* International Longevity Center Dominican Republic (ILC-DR) International Longevity Centre Canada International Longevity Centre Global Alliance International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)* Madhira Institute Medecins Sans Frontier* Medicus Mundi International - Network Health for All* Member Care Associates Movendi International* Near North Palliative Care Network Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK) Pan African Health Systems Network, Germany People’s Health Movement People’s Health Movement Kenya Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) STOPAIDS The Swedish Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Viva Salud WaterAid* Wemos World Federation of Public Health Associations* World Public Health Nutrition Association Wote Youth Development Projects Youth Initiative for the Promotion of Good Leadership in Nigeria *CSO in Official Relations with WHO     [1] Criteria for the admission of NGOs into official relations with WHO in the 47th edition (2009) [2] Framework of engagement with non-State actors (FENSA), paras 15-20, page 22 [3] Thirteenth General Program of Work 2019-2023, Page 46