Newsletter August 2012

ICRH Belgium Newsletter

 23th of August, 2012



ICRH moves into new offices

In the beginning of July, ICRH has traded its  worn-out accommodation in the K3 building for the freshly rehabilitated sixth floor of building K4.

The settling down in the bright, spacious new offices went fast and fluently. Phone numbers and the letter box address remain unchanged. The visiting address is ICRH, University Hospital Ghent, Building K4, Sixth floor, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent.

Feel free to come and have a look when you are in the neighborhood.







ICRH coordinates a new EC funded research project in China

ICRH will coordinate the research project INPAC (INtegrating Post-Abortion family planning services into existing abortion services in hospital settings in China), under the EC’s 7th Framework Program.

After a long period of preparations and negotiations, the INPAC project has officially started  on  August 1 2012 and will run for  a period of  4 years .

The project aims to integrate post-abortion family planning  (FP) services into existing abortion services in hospital settings in China and to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions in terms of reduction of unwanted pregnancies and repeat abortions. Context-specific interventions will be developed based on a situation analysis of the effects of the current FP policy and a feasibility assessment. The proposed interventions will be implemented in hospitals in 30 divisions of mainland China and evaluated with regard to their effectiveness. The project will contribute to standardize the post-abortion family planning services and decrease the long-term costs related to abortion in China.  Based on the project findings, policy recommendations on health system organization aiming to improve equitable access to reproductive healthcare and FP service will be developed. The results of this research will also be of interest to other countries with high abortion rates.

ICRH will coordinate this project, working together with 4 Chinese partners and 2 European partners. The budget is approximately 3 million Euro.

More information:



Nele Rasschaert wins the first Patricia Claeys award

 Prof. Patricia Claeys was for many years the executive director of the ICRH and an inspiring friend and colleague. She passed away far too early. In her memory, ICRH has instituted a yearly ‘Patricia Claeys Award’, which was presented for the first time in June 2012.

Patricia was a strong woman who fought resolutely against injustice and for a better world. In her memory, ICRH offers the ‘Patricia Claeys Award’ annually to a health sciences student who shows a remarkable interest and commitment for international health. This year, the jury selected Nele Rasschaert, graduate in Medicine. The Award was handed over by Patricia's daughters, Ruth and Sarah, during the graduate ceremony. In his laudatio, Prof. Guy Vanderstraeten, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and Chairman of the Patricia Claeys Award Jury , praised the high quality thesis that Nele wrote together with Eline Scheire on provider-patient communication in Nicaragua. In addition, he commended Nele’s commitment for international health in the Belgian Medical Students’ Associations.

The jury was also impressed by the vision text that Nele wrote on academic international cooperation, in which she stated: ‘It goes beyond doing research in an  international context. It is about the spirit to look over the wall and to become a bit the other’.  


PhD Defence Marleen Bosmans

On the 30th of August, Marleen Bosmans will defend her PhD thesis at Ghent University.

The thesis is entitled “The right of conflict-affected women and adolescents to sexual and reproductive health”. The PhD supervisor is Prof. Marleen Temmerman.

The defence, which will be held in Dutch,  will take place on the 30th of August  2012, at 5:00pm, in Auditorium C of the University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium. Afterwards there will be a reception in the faculty room.

Please inform us of your attendance by sending an e-mail to


‘Everyone Has the Right to Family Planning’

A coalition of reproductive health groups among which ICRH , organised an awareness raising seminar in the European Parliament on Family Planning on July 10 2012.

The event fitted in with the high level World Population day & Family Planning Summit in London on family planning that was convened by DFID and the Gates Foundation on Population Day, the 11th of July 2012.

 The awareness raising event in Brussels was hosted by European Member of Parliament Antonyia Parvanova. Speakers were Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (General Secretary for the World YWCA, Zimbabwe), Kate Gilmore (Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA), and Marleen Temmerman (Director ICRH, Belgian Senator and future Director of the Department of Reproductive Health at the WHO). A debate was moderated by Goedele Liekens, Belgian Media Personality and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador. Marleen Temmerman attended the Family Planning Summit in Londen where she represented the Belgian Governement.

ICRH at the AIDS conference in Washington

With five representatives and an equal number of poster presentations, ICRH was an active participant at the Conference of the International AIDS Society, AIDS 2012 in Washington (July 22-27).

Marleen Temmerman, Kristien Michielsen, Wim Delva, Olivier Koole and and Simukai Shamu attended the conference. Furthermore, the conference offered an excellent opportunity to catch up with partners from different projects around the world and to weld new partnerships.

ICRH presented the following studies at the conference:

-B.T. Bekele, W. Delva, R. Ouifki: Modelling the impact of shifting the current ART initiation threshold on the HIV and TB epidemics

-K. Michielsen, R. Beauclair, W. Delva,2, R. Van Rossem, M. Temmerman: A non-randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a peer-led HIV prevention intervention in secondary schools in Rwanda: time to rethink the use of peer education in HIV prevention for young people

-K. Michielsen, H. Celis, B.A. Jingwa, O. Degomme, R. Van Rossem, M. Temmerman, Self-selection to participate in HIV prevention interventions: an analysis of participants in a peer education programme in secondary schools in Rwanda

-S. Shamu, N. Abrahams, M. Temmerman, C. Zarowsky, Harmony or harm? Unpacking the effects of HIV testing and disclosure during pregnancy in sexual partnerships in Zimbabwe

-S. Shamu, C. Zarowsky, M. Temmerman, N. Abrahams, Prevalence of and risk factors for intimate partner violence after disclosing HIV status to a partner during pregnancy in Zimbabwe.

The winners of the ICRH LuMIMA quiz visited ICRH Kenya!

From June 17 until June 25 2012 the three winners of the LuMIMA quiz visited ICRH Kenya.

This quiz was part of the LuMIMA project, organized by ICRH on May 10 2012. If you are curious to know the experiences and impressions of Sarah, Steven and Sebastien in Kenya, please check their diary (Dutch version) on the LuMIMA website:
More information:




ICRH FUN-Day: Culture and Cooking in Ghent

ICRH Belgium staff had its annual FUN-Day on June 28. On this day all ICRH-staff members are warmly invited to leave the office and spend some relaxing time together. 
The ICRH fun-day started at Sint-Pieters square in Ghent. More than 20 ICRH colleagues gathered there to discover TRACK, a unique art experience in the city center of Ghent. Accompanied by a guide who was expecting her first baby (very ICRH appropriate) we walked through the neighborhood of Blandijn with its libraries, educational institutions and the Vooruit Arts Centre and enjoyed a whole range of art productions. Afterwards, we gathered in a community restaurant were we made our own delicious ICRH barbeque. During dessert some colleagues watched the semi-final of the European Football Championship while others played some square games themselves.

Give Me Time

Singer-songwriter Marc Terreur launched a most original support action for ICRH projects.

On the same day when his mother was cremated, Marc Terreur learned that his daughter was pregnant. This symbolically charged conjunction of events inspired him to writing a song. In “Geef Me Tijd” (“Give Me Time”), Marc Terreur sings about how people pass on life to future generations, but still continue to long  for extending their own time on earth.  When the song was ready, he wondered what he could do with it. The process of writing had in itself had a beneficial impact on him, but he still wanted to share it with as many people as possible. At the same time he considered how great it would be if the death of his mother could serve, through the revenues of the song, a good cause. He left the choice of the cause to his daughter, who immediately brought forward Marleen Temmerman and her work with ICRH to fight maternal and child mortality in Africa and elsewhere. Marleen was enthusiastic about the idea, and a remarkable support action was born.

“Geef Me Tijd” can be downloaded from iTunes, more information can be found on Facebook. The revenue of downloading “Geef Me Tijd” goes entirely to ICRH projects.

More information:



Carla De Beule

Carla has left ICRH to explore new horizons.

Carla joined ICRH in the beginning of 2009 as financial officer. As a professional accountant, she was well placed to lead ICRH successfully trough the exiting but hazardous environment of sophisticated donor guidelines, complicated administrative procedures, ingenious reporting templates and harsh financial audits. In addition to a skilled collaborator, she was also a fine colleague, excelling in –among others – the organization of fun activities for the ICRH team. Carla has left ICRH to start a new life in lovely and sunny France. Of course we are a little jealous, but we wish her all the best and thank her for all she did for ICRH.





Dirk Schelstraete

From June 15 on, Dirk Schelstraete replaces Carla as ICRH’s financial officer.

Dirk, a professional accountant,  was born in Ghent on  July 6 1962, has been  married for 26 years to Nicole Van Loo and is father of two fine sons Maarten and Joren. He lives with his family in Heusden, a small village in the vicinity of Ghent.

Previously, he worked in several project driven companies as an accountant and recently he worked as a financial consultant for the Dynamics Navision ERP system. He describes himself as a family man who loves to travel and cook.

More information:




Shuchen Wang 

On August 1, Dr. Shuchen Wang started working for ICRH as a researcher on the EU-FP7 funded INPAC project.  

Dr. Shuchen Wang is a gynecologist and obstetrician. She received her medical education in China and worked there in an academic hospital for more than 10 years. Her main areas of work were medical consultation, diagnosis and treatment in the GYN and OBS department with special interests in infertility, prenatal consultation, postpartum depression and other aspects of reproductive health. She obtained master degrees in Belgium in the fields of Public Health Methodology (emphasized on epidemiology and statistics in medicine), Family and Sexual Studies, and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. These advanced studies improved and broadened her scientific knowledge in her professional areas. Prior to joining ICRH, Shuchen worked with phase I –III clinical trials as a research physician in Belgium. Dr. Shuchen Wang will work on the INPAC project (see above) as a researcher and will assist the project coordinator, Dr. Wei-Hong Zhang, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman.

More information:




Slowing down population growth for wellbeing and development

Providing universal access to modern family planning methods is absolutely necessary and urgent for many reasons.

A growing number of findings from different disciplines show that human wellbeing is increasingly

threatened by unsustainable population growth. In their Lancet comment, the authors point out the severe consequences of population growth and unplanned pregnancies in the fields of health, wellbeing and ecology, and call for a major endeavour to avoid every unwanted pregnancy worldwide. In addition, the authors conclude that scientists, policy makers, and civil society organisations will have

to work together to find ways to slow down population growth while fully respecting democracy, human rights, and cultural integrity.

The article can be downloaded here.

Van Braeckel D, Temmerman M, Roelens K, Degomme O. Slowing down population growth for wellbeing and development. Lancet. 2012 Jul 14;380(9837):84-5. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

HIV treatment as prevention

In July, the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, in conjunction with the HIV Modelling Consortium, published a special issue investigating the impact of treatment on new HIV infections.

The PLoS Medicine articles provide insights into the feasibility of interventions, their potential epidemiological impact and affordability, and recent scientific observational studies and community trials, which will support evidence-based decision-making on the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV transmission. The background to this collection comes from a November 2011 meeting in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which focused on the cross-cutting issues that will affect the impact of new scientific findings about HIV treatment preventing new infections. HIV-infected individuals who are given antiretroviral treatment (ART) are much less likely to transmit the infection to their heterosexual partners than those who are not. Currently ART is directed at those in greatest clinical need, and expanding the group of people treated would be a substantial change in health policy, with major cost implications. The volume of information needed to make efficient and ethical policy decisions regarding HIV treatment as prevention is vast, and mathematical models can help pull the information together and structure it in a useful way. The choice of which particular groups to expand access to ART to depends on a wide range of considerations including, for example, which groups are easiest to access and which groups are most likely to reduce onward transmission. Decisions regarding HIV treatment as prevention are not only practical but ethical, argue leading authors in the series; as health policy on HIV prevention is limited by resource constraints, the authors review how to expand the provision of ART and who to expand it to.

All articles are freely available online at

Delva W, Eaton JW, Meng F, Fraser C, White RG, Vickerman P, Boily MC, Hallett, TB. HIV Treatment as Prevention: Optimising the Impact of Expanded HIV Treatment Programmes. PLoS Med. 2012; 9(7): e1001258. 

Delva W, Wilson DP, Abu-Raddad L, Gorgens M, Wilson D, Hallett T, Welte A. HIV Treatment as Prevention: Principles of Good HIV Epidemiology Modelling For Public Health Decision-Making in All Modes of Prevention and Evaluation. PLoS Med. 2012; 9(7): e1001239.

The HIV Modelling Consortium Treatment as Prevention Editorial Writing Group. HIV Treatment as Prevention: Models, Data and Questions Toward Evidence-based Decision-Making. PLoS Med. 2012; 9(7): e1001259.

Contraceptive use among migrant in China

A comparative impact study of worksite-based interventions aimed at promoting contraceptive use among female rural-to-urban migrants in Qingdao, China.

In Qingdao ten manufacturing worksites were randomly allocated to a standard package of interventions (SPI) and an intensive package of interventions (IPI). The interventions ran from July 2008 to January 2009. Cross-sectional surveys at baseline and end line assessed the sexual behaviour of young female migrants. To evaluate the impact of the interventions, pre- and post-time trends were assessed. Among childless migrants, self-reported contraceptive use increased significantly after SPI and IPI. Childless migrants older than 22 years reported a greater use after IPI than after SPI. The authors conclude that implementing current Chinese sexual health promotion programmes at worksites is likely to have a positive impact on migrant women working in the manufacturing industry of Qingdao. More comprehensive interventions seem to have an added value if they are well targeted to specific groups.

Decat P, Zhang WH, Delva W, Moyer E, Cheng Y, Wang ZJ, Lu CY, Wu SZ, Nadisauskiene RJ, Temmerman M, Degomme O. Promoting contraceptive use among female rural-to-urban migrants in Qingdao, China: A comparative impact study of worksite-based interventions. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2012 Jul 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Call for papers and posters on ‘Africa & (post-)development’

The Africa Platform of Ghent University Association (GAP) invites submissions of posters and papers for its 6th international conference (GAPSYM6) 'Africa & (post-)development?', which will take place on December 7 2012.

Paper proposals (max. 300 words, in English or French) should be submitted before September  1 2012 to the GAP secretariat (, mentioning “GAPSYM6 – proposal”.

GAP offers doctoral students and other researchers the opportunity to present their research

projects by means of a poster. Posters do NOT have to refer to the theme of the symposium.

Through these poster presentations GAP seeks to give an overview of all current, Africa-related

projects and doctoral research at the Ghent University Association. Researchers who would like to

submit a poster should also send in an abstract of this poster (before September 1).

More information: