Gender, inequality and Depo-Provera: Constraints on reproductive choice in Nicaragua
This article examines the sociocultural determinants of Nicaraguan women’s use of Depo-Provera as a means of contraception. The prevalence of Depo-Provera in Nicaragua is high and increasing compared to other Central American countries. Drawing on data from structured interviews with 87 women and from focus groups with 32 women, we show how women’s preference for Depo is shaped by both gendered inequalities and socioeconomic constraints. We employ basic statistical tests to analyze correlations between women’s marital status and socioeconomic status (SES) with contraceptive use. Our statistical findings show significant associations between use of Depo and both marital status and SES, such that women who are married or in conjugal unions and women with lower SES are more likely to use Depo. To help explain women’s use of Depo-Provera in Nicaragua, we situate our findings within the context of gender, culture, and power, reviewing the contested history of Depo-Provera in the developing world and dynamics of gender inequality, which constrain women’s contraceptive choices. We conclude with suggestions for reproductive health programming in Nicaragua and beyond, arguing that gender equity and addressing socioeconomic barriers to family planning remain priorities for the achievement of global reproductive health.
America and the Eradication of Smallpox in the Cold War Era
February 22, 2016
Bob H. Reinhardt, Executive Director, Willamette Heritage Center
Written by: Kylie Juggert
Earlier this February, Bob Reinhardt opened the Center for Global Health guest lecture series with his presentation, “America and the Eradication of Smallpox in the Cold War Era.” The Knight Library Browsing Room was full for the afternoon talk, the complementary coffee and cookies finding new homes in the hands of faculty, staff and students attending the Oregon alumnus’ presentation.
Reinhardt described the story of smallpox as, “an interesting one and filled with drama,” a seemingly counterintuitive description for a disease that was declared eradicated 36 years ago by the WHO. But sophomore Cameron Colbert, a human physiology and Spanish minor, saw the compelling elements Reinhardt described; Colbert said that Reinhardt’s lecture showed him history’s value in understanding the world today.
“I’ve never been a huge fan of history, or literature for that matter,” Colbert said. “But looking at ‘it’ from a medical point of view, the history is just as valuable as what’s happening today, because you can learn a lot from it.”
The ‘it’ that Colbert referred to was the use of Reinhardt’s historical-environmental explanation of the successful smallpox eradication. Dr. Kristin Yarris, one of the Center for Global Health’s co-directors, echoed Colbert’s appreciation of the historical attention included in the lecture.
“I liked that he historicized the [smallpox] global health intervention,” Yarris said after the talk. “It’s important to talk about this history because communicable diseases are all around us… and the global health community is wondering what to do with these new and persistent infectious disease cases. There’s a lot to be learned in this [smallpox] case.”
Current examples of the communicable diseases Yarris mentioned are Ebola, measles and the Zika virus. After the lecture, Reinhardt said these outbreaks – specifically Ebola and measles – were the “aha moments” during his smallpox research and book writing.
“Whenever you write an epilogue, you’re sort of at this moment when you’re thinking, ‘Why did I spend seven years doing this?” Reinhardt said, laughing at his own satirical truth. “But it wasn’t until I got to the epilogue and Ebola was in the news, anti-vaccination was in the news, there had just been a measles outbreak in Disneyland… and I was thinking, ‘This is…this is interesting and important.”
While the next guest speaker for the series has not been released, Yarris said that through these types of events she hopes greater institutional awareness is raised for the global health programming needed at the UO. Colbert echoed this interest on a smaller scale, saying that for now, he just looks forward to the next lecture.
“Oh geez, yeah, I’d love to see more of these talks.”
GEO has partnered with Global Studies Institute (GSI) to create a new series of international internships, called GlobalWorks.
Among the more than a dozen distinct opportunities, students interested in global health and development issues can apply for an internship in non-profit management.
The GlobalWorks Non-Profit Management Program provides students with the opportunity to work in China where over 400,000 NGOs are currently active. A wide range of issues are addressed, including student drop-out rates, labor rights, women’s rights and environmental protection. Internship placements could be in: Shanghai, Beijing, & Shenzhen.
Each internship offers the chance to:
Create a monthly English language newsletter and weekly blog entries that highlight new program initiatives, fundraising activities, etc.
Organize and developing activities and presentations for events, summits and other gatherings.
Attend meetings with lobbying organizations.
Strong communication skills, both verbal and written.
Good interpersonal skills and the ability to work on a team.
Interest in China- politics, history, culture etc.
A global watch is underway as the Zika virus has begun spreading throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.
According to news reports, there have been 31 documented Zika cases in the U.S. (11 states and the District of Columbia), though in all of those cases people got infected elsewhere.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued travel guidance regarding this mosquito-borne virus, which is associated with microcephaly (small head and brain in newborns) and possibly other poor pregnancy outcomes in women infected during pregnancy.
About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye, and some have muscle aches, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. The top concern is for pregnant women who get infected.
Efforts are underway to produce a vaccine, but there is currently no vaccine and no treatment for this virus; the only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by infected mosquitos.
Because there is neither a vaccine nor prophylactic medications available to prevent Zika virus infection, CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women or women who are considering becoming pregnant who must travel to one of these areas should consult with their health care provider before traveling and follow steps to prevent mosquito bites:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Use EPA-registered insect repellents as directed.
Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to label.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (boots, pants, socks, tents).
Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
If you are pregnant and have traveled to a country reporting Zika, the CDC is recommending that you see your physician for counseling and testing. The CDC just released interim guidelines for pregnant women and their health care providers. Information and guidelines change frequently, so continue to check this CDC site if you are in an at-risk group. For general updated information on Zika, go to http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.
The University of Oregon will continue to monitor this global situation. Please let us know if you have additional questions or concerns.
UO’s Global Education Oregon (GEO) is partnering with professor Janis Weeks once again to lead their Global Health, Development, and Service Learning program in Accra, Ghana.
The program teaches students about contemporary issues of global health and development in Ghana. Students enroll in a service learning or internship experience of their choice three days a week, with one of more than 30 community-based institutions in fields related to health, environment, education, youth, gender and various other areas.Weeks is excited about the new program in Ghana because she sees it as a sign of increasing interest in global health at the UO. She currently teaches two courses on natural science in global health, and sees the new program in Ghana as a good opportunity for more science majors to study abroad.
Weeks is a neuroscientist, professor of biology at the UO and member of the African Studies Program. She has been involved in building research and education capacity in Africa for nearly 20 years. Her research, which focuses on technologies for discovering new drugs against devastating worm infections in humans, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Professor of anthropology J. Josh Snodgrass has been named the new associate vice provost for undergraduate studies.
Snodgrass is charged with building and directing a Center for Undergraduate Excellence, coordinating with campus partners and offices within the Division of Undergraduate Studies to provide central campus leadership for advanced academic opportunities for undergraduates. He also will help coordinate the Undergraduate Symposium this year, one of the premier ways undergraduates can showcase their research.
“It’s a really important time for the university, and I feel like this position gives me the opportunity to help elevate the level of undergraduate research on campus by coordinating our efforts and finding new ways to support students and their faculty mentors,” Snodgrass said.
Snodgrass comes to the position with extensive research and leadership experience. As a biological anthropologist specializing in human evolutionary biology and global health, he directs an immunology and endocrinology laboratory focused on the development and application of minimally invasive techniques, such as using dried blood spots or saliva, for assessing health and physiology in population-based research.
During his 10 years at the UO, Snodgrass has established an outstanding record in undergraduate education. He served for six years on the UO Undergraduate Council, including serving two years as the council’s chair.
He has been honored for his teaching and mentoring. He was named a Williams Fellow in recognition of distinguished undergraduate teaching and received the UO Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award and a faculty advising award from the National Academic Advising Association.
“Josh is a triple threat: a brilliant researcher, teacher and faculty mentor,” said Lisa Freinkel, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “His work and lab have served dozens of undergraduates in the past several years, providing a wealth of opportunities in undergraduate engaged learning and research. We’re thrilled to bring his experience to the broader campus community.”
Widely published, Snodgrass has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, given the Michael A. Little Early Career Award by the Human Biology Association, and recognized by The Scientist as a Scientist to Watch.
Snodgrass has spearheaded community engagement through events like the biannual Huerto de la Familia health fairs, opportunities for data collection and lab staffing, and occasions for mentored original research. In addition to the students he’s mentored independently, Snodgrass also created research opportunities for students in his department through an innovative program that supports undergraduate research by training and funding graduate student mentors.
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Working@UO on February 3, 2016.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on February 1, 2016 in Around the O.
A significant gift from Aisha Almana, a UO graduate, hospital executive and prominent feminist, will create new international opportunities in education and global health at the University of Oregon.
The Aisha Almana Global Health Program will provide scholarships for Saudi women to study global health at the UO, fund seed grants for faculty research, help implement an annual series of speakers and workshops, and support internships for UO students in the Saudi kingdom — the UO’s first fully funded international internships in global health.
Almana is her country’s leading activist for justice, equality and respect for women. In 1990, she led 46 women in a historic protest against her country’s ban on women driving. She currently directs the largest group of hospitals in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, bordering the Persian Gulf.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the UO in 1970, when few women in her country had any formal education. She said she sees her gift as a way to give back and create hope for the future.
“The University of Oregon gave me the opportunity to recognize that I am a human being equal to anyone else,” she said. “Through this new center, we will promote and help women, for if you educate a woman in the health sciences profession, you save a family.”
“Aisha Almana’s generosity will help empower the next generation of Saudi women to receive an education and become leaders in global health,” said UO President Michael Schill. “This incredibly brave woman transformed her life and forged a path out of oppression, and now she is paving the way for others to follow. We are incredibly grateful and proud to call her our alumna.”
The new program establishes a permanent bridge between the UO and the Middle East, built on one of the UO’s most rapidly emerging areas of student interest and cross-disciplinary faculty expertise.
It will be housed in the Center for Global Health, the newest research unit in the Global Studies Institute, a branch of the Office of International Affairs. The center gathers university expertise in areas such as molecular biology, health metrics, developmental neuroscience, disease prevention and epidemiology.
“This will directly benefit the thousands of UO students interested in global health,” said Josh Snodgrass, associate vice provost for undergraduate studies and the new center’s codirector. “It will connect them to fellow students from Saudi Arabia, broadening everyone’s perspectives. Aisha’s generosity marks a significant contribution to global health education here.”
“Aisha Almana has made an important international investment in the UO that sets the precedent for our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” said Dennis Galvan, vice provost for international affairs. “It will help Saudi women, foster UO-Saudi research collaboration and bring UO interns to Saudi Arabia.”
After graduating from the UO, Almana went on to become the first woman from her region to obtain a doctoral degree, which she completed in 1980 at the University of Colorado. The first female hospital director in Saudi Arabia, she has led the Almana Group of Hospitals for more than 23 years, transforming it into one of her country’s leading medical providers with operations in four cities across the kingdom.
Forbes magazine named Almana eighth on its list of 200 Most Powerful Arab Women of 2014. She is profiled in the winter 2015 edition of Oregon Quarterly.
APRU is inviting students at the University of Oregon to participate in a new and exciting initiative for students – the first annual APRU GLOBAL HEALTH CASE COMPETITION, which has been designed and set up by the Global Health Program, housed at the University of Southern California.
Three videos from this international virtual competition will be chosen by a panel of APRU Global Health Program members to be shown at the final round taking place during the annual workshop in Sydney. The winning team will be announced at the workshop and a prize of $500US will be awarded.
Deadline for Universities to register participation is April 1, 2016. To register, email Melissa Withers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Videos must be submitted by June 1, 2016.
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