Newsletter August 2019

 ICRH Global Newsletter

9th of August, 2019


Message from the Chair Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman
Just less than 100 days away from the Nairobi Summit ICPD25, November 12-14, 2019, the world is getting ready for this global event, and stakeholders are committed to accelerate the promise of the ICPD Programme of Action, and to renew the commitments towards the SRHR agenda that is currently facing a lot of pushback.

The Nairobi Summit and the global commitments will focus around five thematic topics, including 1) Essential SRHR package of interventions in the context of universal health coverage, 2) Creating financing momentum; 3) Demographic diversity and sustainable development; 4) Gender based violence and harmful practices against women and girls; and 5) SRHR in Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts, with five accelerators:  Women’s empowerment and gender equality, Youth leadership, Political and community leadership for accelerating the promise; Innovation and data, and Strategic Partnerships and South-South Cooperation

ICRH, born out of ICPD 1994 in Cairo, is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with several events in Belgium, Mozambique, China and of course in Nairobi, in the aftermath of the Nairobi Summit. As the Founding Director of ICRH, and the Chair of ICRHglobal, I am proud of our organisation, and its global and local impact as reflected in some of the activities and publications summarized in this newsletter. Just an example from Mozambique where ICRH is a strong partner on supporting the government  with the dissemination and implementation of recent laws and legislations on safe abortion and early marriage legislation, where a law just passed  to criminalize marriage with a child under 18.
A big thank you to all our staff, scholars, students, volunteers and advocates of sexual and reproductive health and rights globally! Hope to meet you on the road from Cairo to Nairobi!
Karibuni sana!

ICRH-Mozambique and CEPSA launch book on Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health
ICRH-Mozambique (ICRH-M) and the Center for Population and Health Research (CEPSA) launched: “Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies in Mozambique” at a ceremony held on 23 July 2019 in Maputo.
The bookbrings together evidence on Family Planning (FP) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Mozambique as a way of contributing to the definition of policies and strategies that are tailored to the country context.
The event was attended by over 100 participants from the Ministry of Health (MISAU) and other public institutions, academics, non-governmental and civil society organizations working in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health, in addition to the Flanders Government. Three articles from the book were presented by the respective authors: “Perceptions and Motivations of Men in Uptake and Use of Family Planning” by Joelma Picardo (ICRH-M) and Boaventura Cau (CEPSA), “Perceptions on Family Planning in Mozambique from an Ethnography of Communication Perspective.”, by David Langa (Eduardo Mondlane University-UEM), and “Practices and Perceptions of Men and Women Living with HIV on the Use of Dual Contraception”, by Carlos Cuinhane (UEM).
A common theme in the three presentations was men’s role in contraception access and use. The authors discussed evidence showing that men are key to decision-making around family planning but that this is rarely addressed in family planning interventions; that demand for contraception and utilization are heavily affected by social norms and gender inequities; and that effective communication with men and between couples needs to be strengthened.
Part of the funding for the book's publication comes from the project “Acquisition of Knowledge for the Provision of Better Quality Services and Community Involvement for Greater Use of Family Planning (IQSCI)”, implemented by ICRH-M from 2013 to 2018 with funding from the Government of Flanders.

Movie “The pregnancy is ours” broadcasted in Maputo
The film "The pregnancy is ours" was presented during the "women's week" in the French cultural centre of Maputo,  Mozambique. The film was made by Anna Galle, a doctoral student of ICRH, with financial support of the Marleen Temmerman Fund.
The French Embassy supported the event by providing free transport from the local community (where the film was shot) to the event. After the show  an interactive debate was held with the audience about gender norms and fatherhood. The event was a success and the organisers got a lot of positive reactions to it. The next step will be to show the film in the surrounding communities.  Click here for the trailer of the movie

Photo exhibition in Maputo
In June, a permanent photo exhibition about women’s rights and positive birth experiences opened in the central hospital of Maputo, Mozambique. The project was set up by PhD student Anna Galle and visual anthropologist Tina Kruger, with support of the Global Minds Fund.

To the exposition highlights the strength of women and their right  to a respectful birth experience. Stories of women going through pregnancy and their families are captured with beautiful pictures and combined with  explanations of current practices that were adopted in the central hospital to guarantee those women’s rights.

Tina & Anna hope the exposition can be an inspiration for all health providers to strive for a respectful birth experience for all women and their families and opens up a bit the doors of the delivery ward for all women and their families to make them more confident before having to go in.

Chinese Hospital Directors in Ghent for a management training
On 20 May 2019, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science of Ghent University, organized an one-day training program for 37 Chinese private and public hospital directors about health care management.

Prof. Eric Mortier, CEO of Ghent University Hospital, and Dr. Yan Wang, minister-Counsellor of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to EU, welcomed the delegation in Ghent. The focus was on healthcare operations management quality of health care and the importance of  patient rights and well trained health care professionals. The Chinese hospital directors  visited the Children’s Hospital and the Day Surgery Clinic of the Ghent University Hospital, where they had in-depth conversations with the hospital staff about the differences between the Chinese and Belgian hospitals. Finally, the closing remark was given by Prof. Olivier Degomme and Prof. Marleen Temmerman looking at the potential collaboration between African countries, Belgium and China.

Third EU-China Health Forum held in Brussels
The 2019 Forum on June 28th,  focused on innovation and initiating research exchanges in reproductive health and population growth.

The first EU-China Health Forum started back in 2017,  to share expertise, strengthen existing programmes and identify new collaborations. This 3rd EU-China Health Forum was co-organised by Ghent University, Tsinghua University, the National Research Institute for Family Planning and the China Family Planning Association and brought together participants from Belgian and Chinese academic institutes. Dr. Xiaolin Guo, Counsellor for Science & Technology Affairs of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Belgium gave a keynote speech and Prof. Wei-Hong Zhang chaired the forum. Prof. Ines Keygnaert presented the first results of the UN-MENAMAIS study on sexual health and violence among older adults in Belgium. The 4th EU-China Health Forum will be held in China in 2020.
First China-Belgium Science and Technology Exchange Symposium
On the occasion of The First China-Belgium Science and Technology Exchange Symposium, a group of Chinese local government officials, senior hospital managers, heads of research institutions and business representatives visited Ghent, Brussels and Leuven to promote cooperation.
Fifteen Representatives from the Jiangsu Family Planning Research Institute, the Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Hospital, The First Affiliated Hospital of Hainan Medical University , the Municipal Government of the District of Jiyang, Shandong Tuozhan Intelligent Equipment Manufacturing Co. , the Beijing Migrant workers Education Society,  the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning attended these talks.
The extensive and in-depth exchange of views on the ongoing research and projects, were chaired by Prof. Wei-Hong Zhang and supported by the peer experts.
Improvement of screening and treatment of women’s cancers in Mombasa
International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya partners with Coast General Hospital and Mombasa County to improve screening and treatment of women’s Cancers in Mombasa, Kenya.

ICRH Kenya (ICRHK) collaborated with The Coast General Hospital and Mombasa County to conduct a comprehensive training in diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers (Cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, cancer of the uterus) for women in the county. ICRHK supported an intensive, four-day training for over ten obstetricians and gynecologists and nurses from the five referral health facilities in Mombasa County. The training focused on screening and treatment for the three most common women cancers in Mombasa (and in Kenya) – cervical, ovarian and cancer of the uterus, and included both theory and practical sessions and the hospital’s operating room. Trainees were taken through the newest methods of diagnosis and treatment for the cancers. Training was coordinated through ICRHK Board member, Dr. Jennifer Othigo, who has continuously championed for improved sexual and reproductive health services for women in Mombasa County. Previously, ICRHK has supported the county in building capacity for health workers to improve management of sexual and gender-based violence at the ICRHK-supported Gender Violence and Recovery Center at Coast General Hospital.  
Through this partnership, ICRHK aims to build the expertise of doctors and nurses and increase the number of clinicians qualified to conduct screening and treatment in order to improve outcomes for these cancers. The county has also committed to provide resources to improve diagnosis and treatment. Non communicable diseases, including cancer, are increasingly becoming a major cause of sickness and death in Kenya. Cancer of the cervix, for example is very common among East African women, and women in Kenya have almost four times the risk of dying from this cancer compared to women in Europe.

Alexia Sabbe
On Monday 17th of June Dr. Alexia Sabbe successfully defended her PhD thesis, entitled: “Forced and child marriage at the intersection of health, gender and human rights: Understanding the determinants in Morocco and the impact of the migratory context in Belgium”.
Prof. Els Leye and Prof. Marleen Temmerman were her supervisors for this doctoral research. Full text:

Internship experiences of Meagan O’Neill at ICRH Belgium
As part of the Master in health promotion at the National University of Ireland Galway, Meagan O’Neill took part in a two week placement at the ICRH at the University of Ghent under the supervision of Professor Kristien Michielsen.

The goal of the placement was to develop and practice health promotion knowledge and skills within an alternative European setting.
Here is a short reflection of her experience.

Chunting Peng
ChunTing Peng is exchange student from China at ICRH Belgium

ChunTing Peng is studying for a master's degree in Public Management at Wuhan University of Science and Technology (WUST) in China and joins the ICRH Belgium team for 6 months. She is doing a  comparative study between China and the European Union about the childbearing age of women and the health problems they experience.
  • Beatriz Manuel, Kristien Roelens, Armindo Tiago, Ines Keygnaert, Martin Valcke. Gaps in Medical Students' Competencies to Deal With Intimate Partner Violence in Key Mozambican Medical Schools. Front. Public Health, 24/11/2019. Volume 7. Read more
  • Ellen 't Hoen, Salomé Meyer, Patrick Durisch, Wilbert Bannenberg, Katrina Perehudoff, Tim Reed, Melissa J Barber. Improving affordability of new Essential Cancer Medicines. Lancet Oncology. July 11, 2019. Volume 20 Number 8p1035-1182, e398-e464. Read more
  • Laura Peeters , Anke Vandenberghe, Bavo Hendriks, Christine Gilles, Kristien Roelens, Ines Keygnaert. Current care for victims of sexual violence and future sexual assault care centres in Belgium: the perspective of victims. BMC International Health and Human Rights (2019) 19:21. Read more
  • Charlotte Oliveira , Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins, Sónia Dias, Ines Keygnaert. Conceptualizing sexual and gender-based violence in European asylum reception centers.  Archives of Public Health (2019)77:27. Read more
  • Dhungana GP, Thekkur P, Chinnakali P, Bhatta U, Pandey B, Zhang W-H . Initiation and completion rates of isoniazid preventive therapy among people living with HIV in Far-Western Region of Nepal: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open 2019;9:e029058. Read more
  • Vyankandondera J, Wambua S, Irungu E, Mandaliya K, Temmerman M, Ryan C, Mohamed Y, Vanden Broeck D, Verhelst R, Chersich MF, Luchters S. Type-Specific Human Papillomavirus Prevalence, Incident Cases, Persistence, and Associated Pregnancy Outcomes Among HIV-Infected Women in Kenya. Sex Transm Dis. 2019 Aug;46(8):532-539. Read more
  • Temmerman M. A new woman-controlled contraceptive vaginal ring: a global step forward. Lancet Glob Health. 2019 Aug;7(8):e986-e987. Read more
  • Ampt FH, Lim MSC, Agius PA, Chersich MF, Manguro G, Gichuki CM, Stoové M, Temmerman M, Jaoko W, Hellard M, Gichangi P, Luchters S. Use of long-acting reversible contraception in a cluster-random sample of female sex workers in Kenya. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2019 Aug;146(2):184-191. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12862. Epub 2019 Jun 17. Read more