International Day to End Obstetric Fistula Statement, 23 May 2021
Obstetric fistula (OF) is a devastating childbirth-related disability affecting mainly poor women in low resource regions. Often, women develop this debilitating condition as a result of poor management or lack of management during labour. The women are ostracized by their families and communities due to the resultant smell from dribbling urine and/or leakage of stool. Though the prevalence of obstetric fistula is not well known, it is estimated that two million women in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia live with this condition and this number grows by 50,000 to 100, 000 each year (World health organization, 2018).
This year’s theme “Women’s rights are human rights! End fistula now” was a reminder that OF is preventable. OF is the hallmark of health system failure and an absolute denial of a woman’s human… Read More
Amref Health Africa Global Statement on COVID-19 Tools including Vaccine Equity
COVID-19 has, undeniably, devastated the global economy, resulted in the loss of millions of lives, and immensely interrupted people’s ways of living across the world. IMF estimates a collapse in economic growth in many African countries due to a decline in key sectors such as tourism as a result of travel restrictions and public health measures especially lockdowns. Reopening Africa’s economy relies on substantial control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Control of the pandemic depends on a combination of personal and collective public health measures, strengthening of health systems and attaining COVID-19 vaccination targets. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention set this target at 60%. However, Africa is currently projected to reach its target in 2023; the rest of the world will reach 60-80% in 2022 (U.S., Canada, and… Read More
Amref Health Africa’s Position on the Role and Services of Traditional Birth Attendants
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a traditional birth attendant (TBA) is “a person who assists the mother during childbirth and who initially acquired her skills by delivering babies herself or by working with other TBAs”. In addition to attending deliveries, TBAs help with initiating breastfeeding; providing health education on sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs), reproductive health and nutrition; visiting mothers during and shortly following delivery to check for and educate them on the associated danger signs; and accompanying referrals to the health facilities for complicated deliveries.
Throughout history, traditional birth attendants have been the main health care providers for women during childbirth in Africa. They attend to the majority of deliveries in the rural areas of developing countries.
TBAs are highly respected in African communities. They perform cultural rituals… Read More
Amref Health Africa’s Position Statement on Task Shifting
In recent years, the world has been experiencing a chronic shortage of well-trained health workers. A total of 57 countries, 36 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa but also including Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, face crippling health workforce shortages. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 4 million health workers are needed to fill the gap. The global deficit of doctors, nurses and midwives is at least 2.4 million worldwide, and 1 million in sub-Saharan African.
Reasons for the rapidly deteriorating state of qualified staffing in health services include lack of training capacity and poor remuneration, discouraging many who would otherwise have entered the profession and forcing many others to relocate to countries where they are paid more for their services – perpetuating the ‘in and out country brain… Read More
Amref Health Africa’s Position Statement on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Female Genital Mutilation (FMG), also known as Female Genital Cutting (FGC), comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways.
FGM involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth and endangering the child.
Communities that practise female genital mutilation report a variety of social and religious reasons for continuing with it. However, seen from a human rights perspective, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form… Read More
Amref Health Africa Position Statement on Community Health Workers
A widely accepted definition of Community Health Workers proposed by a World Health Organisation (WHO) Study Group (1989) is: “Community health workers should be members of the communities where they work, should be selected by the communities, should be answerable to the communities for their activities, should be supported by the health system but not necessarily a part of its organisation, and have shorter training than professional workers.”
The umbrella term ‘Community Health Worker’ (CHW) embraces a variety of community health aides selected, trained and working in the communities from which they come. Generalisation about the profile of Community Health Workers internationally is difficult. While there are some broad trends, CHWs can be men or women, young or old, literate or illiterate. More important is an acknowledgement that the definition… Read More
Position Statement on MSM
While the ‘war on AIDS’ has achieved remarkable successes there still exist important gaps in global strategies aimed at containing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with certain key populations not adequately addressed. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are one such population, and implementation of strategies that comprehensively address HIV prevention and transmission risks in this community is clearly a weak link in global HIV prevention and control efforts that represents a real threat to progress with global HIV/AIDS control and needs to be urgently addressed.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) is an inclusive public health construct used to define the sexual behaviour of males who have sex with other males, regardless of whether they have sex with women or have a personal or social gay or bisexual identity.… Read More
Amref Health Africa’s Position Statement on Family Planning
Amref Health Africa is committed to and supports the provision of quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services as an integral component of health care. Amref Health Africa believes in the attainment of sexual and reproductive health as a basic human right, namely that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
Amref Health Africa will therefore work with governments and other partners to promote access to quality family planning services as an essential component of good reproductive health care. Amref Health Africa promotes the right of men and women to be informed about and have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable family planning… Read More