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1.  Knowledge of reproductive and sexual rights among University students in Ethiopia: institution-based cross-sectional 
Background
People have the right to make choices regarding their own sexuality, as far as they respect the rights of others. The knowledge of those rights is critical to youth’s ability to protect themselves from unwanted reproductive outcomes. Reproductive health targeted Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved without improving access to reproductive health. This study was aimed to assess knowledge of reproductive and sexual rights as well as associated factors among Wolaita Sodo University students.
Methods
An institution-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 642 regular undergraduate Wolaita Sodo University students selected by simple random sampling. A pretested and structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were entered using EPI info version 3.5.3 statistical software and analyzed using SPSS version 20 statistical package. Descriptive statistics was used to describe the study population in relation to relevant variables. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was also carried out to see the effect of each independent variable on the dependent variable.
Results
More than half (54.5%) of the respondents were found to be knowledgeable about reproductive and sexual rights. Attending elementary and high school in private schools [AOR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.08, 3.99], coming from urban areas [AOR: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.00, 2.12], being student of faculty of health sciences [AOR: 2.98, 95% CI: 1.22, 7.30], participation in reproductive health clubs [AOR: 3.11, 95% CI: 2.08, 4.65], utilization of reproductive health services [AOR: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.49, 3.69] and discussing sexual issues with someone else [AOR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.48, 3.62], were positively associated with knowledge of reproductive and sexual rights.
Conclusion
The level of knowledge of students about reproductive and sexual rights was found to be low. The Ministry of Education has to incorporate reproductive and sexual rights in the curricula of high schools and institutions of higher learning.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-12
PMCID: PMC3577501  PMID: 23405855
Reproductive Health; Reproductive and Sexual Rights; Youths; Ethiopia
2.  Creating a public space and dialogue on sexuality and rights: a case study from Bangladesh 
Health Research Policy and Systems  2011;9(Suppl 1):S12.
This article describes and analyses a research based engagement by a university school of public health in Bangladesh aimed at raising public debate on sexuality and rights and making issues such as discrimination more visible to policy makers and other key stakeholders in a challenging context. The impetus for this work came from participation in an international research programme with a particular interest in bridging international and local understandings of sexual and reproductive rights. The research team worked to create a platform to broaden discussions on sexuality and rights by building on a number of research activities on rural and urban men’s and women’s sexual health concerns, and on changing concepts of sexuality and understandings of sexual rights among specific population groups in Dhaka city, including sexual minorities. Linked to this on-going process of improving the evidence base, there has been a series of learning and capacity building activities over the last four years consisting of training workshops, meetings, conferences and dialogues. These brought together different configurations of stakeholders – members of sexual minorities, academics, service providers, advocacy organisations, media and policy makers. This process contributed to developing more effective advocacy strategies through challenging representations of sexuality and rights in the public domain. Gradually, these efforts brought visibility to hidden or stigmatised sexuality and rights issues through interim outcomes that have created important steps towards changing attitudes and policies. These included creating safe spaces for sexual minorities to meet and strategise, development of learning materials for university students and engagement with legal rights groups on sexual rights. Through this process, it was found to be possible to create a public space and dialogue on sexuality and rights in a conservative and challenging environment like Bangladesh by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to successfully challenge representations of sexuality in the public arena. A further challenge for BRAC University has been to assess its role as a teaching and research organisation, and find a balance between the two roles of research and activism in doing work on sexuality issues in a very sensitive political context.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-9-S1-S12
PMCID: PMC3121129  PMID: 21679379
3.  Tracking Official Development Assistance for Reproductive Health in Conflict-Affected Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(6):e1000090.
Preeti Patel and colleagues report inequity in the disbursement of official development assistance for reproductive health between countries affected by conflict and those unaffected.
Background
Reproductive health needs are particularly acute in countries affected by armed conflict. Reliable information on aid investment for reproductive health in these countries is essential for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of aid. The purpose of this study was to analyse official development assistance (ODA) for reproductive health activities in conflict-affected countries from 2003 to 2006.
Methods and Findings
The Creditor Reporting System and the Financial Tracking System databases were the chosen data sources for the study. ODA disbursement for reproductive health activities to 18 conflict-affected countries was analysed for 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. An average of US$20.8 billion in total ODA was disbursed annually to the 18 conflict-affected countries between 2003 and 2006, of which US$509.3 million (2.4%) was allocated to reproductive health. This represents an annual average of US$1.30 disbursed per capita in the 18 sampled countries for reproductive health activities. Non-conflict-affected least-developed countries received 53.3% more ODA for reproductive health activities than conflict-affected least-developed countries, despite the latter generally having greater reproductive health needs. ODA disbursed for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment increased by 119.4% from 2003 to 2006. The ODA disbursed for other direct reproductive health activities declined by 35.9% over the same period.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence of inequity in disbursement of reproductive health ODA between conflict-affected countries and non-conflict-affected countries, and between different reproductive health activities. These findings and the study's recommendations seek to support initiatives to make aid financing more responsive to need in the context of armed conflict.
Editors' Summary
Background
Reproductive health concerns the bodily functions and systems that are involved in conceiving and bearing offspring. A reproductively healthy person is able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and to reproduce if and when they chose to do so. More specifically, to ensure their reproductive health, both men and women need access to safe and effective birth control methods, they need to know how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS), and they need access to treatment should they become infected. Women also need access to appropriate health-care services to safeguard their own health and their offspring's health during pregnancy and childbirth. Reproductive health is essential for the wellbeing of individuals and families and for the social and economic development of nations. Consequently, some of the official development assistance (ODA) given to developing countries by wealthier nations and by international agencies is being used to improve reproductive health. Indeed, several of the Millennium Development Goals (internationally agreed targets designed to eradicate global poverty by 2015) are directly related to reproductive health, including the improvement of maternal health and the control of HIV/AIDS.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many developing countries, such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Sudan, are experiencing violent conflicts. Such conflicts tend to slow down the development of low-income countries, and can also cause harm to reproductive health by damaging the health-service infrastructure and by increasing exposure to sexual violence. Although conflict-affected low-income countries rely heavily on international and humanitarian aid for basic health-care provision, there is little reliable information about how much of this aid is invested in reproductive health in such countries. This information is needed to ensure that development aid is used effectively. In this study, therefore, the researchers analyze the amount of ODA disbursed (the amount of official development money paid to recipient countries) for reproductive health activities in conflict-affected countries between 2003 and 2006.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified eighteen countries (mostly “least-developed” countries as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; OEDC) that had been at war at sometime during the study period. They obtained information on ODA disbursements for reproductive health activities mainly from the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) database, which is maintained by the OECD, but also from the Financial Tracking System (FTS) database, which is maintained by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. An average of US$20.8 billion in ODA was disbursed annually to the 18 conflict-affected countries between 2003 and 2006. Only US$509.3 million (2.4%) of this was allocated to reproductive health. Put another way, each person living in these conflict-affected countries received US$1.30 per year for their reproductive health needs. By contrast, people in non-conflict-affected least-developed countries each received 50% more ODA for reproductive health activities, even though these countries often had better reproductive health indicators than the conflict-affected countries. The researchers also found that nearly half of ODA disbursed for reproductive health was used for HIV/AIDS-related activities. This portion of ODA increased slightly during the study period in the conflict-affected countries whereas ODA disbursed for other reproductive health activities fell by a third.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings do not take into account money provided to conflict-affected developing countries for reproductive health activities by large philanthropic organizations, they nevertheless reveal an inequality between conflict-affected and non-conflict affected countries in terms of the development money provided for reproductive health. This is a worrying finding given that reproductive health tends to suffer in countries affected by war and poor reproductive health can slow down development. The findings of this study also suggest that funding for non-HIV reproductive health activities is declining in conflict-affected countries. Importantly, they also highlight additional research that is needed to ensure that donors of development aid can be more responsive in future to the reproductive health needs of conflict-affected countries.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000090.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Paul Spiegel and colleagues
The World Health organization provides information about reproductive health, including information on its 2004 global strategy for reproductive health (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information on reproductive health (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on reproductive health (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages
The United Nations provides information on the Millennium Development Goals
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development provides information on ODA through its Creditor Reporting System database; the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs provides similar information for other donors through its Financial Tracking System database
The Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium promotes access to reproductive health programs in emergencies and advocates for policies that support reproductive health of persons affected by armed conflict
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000090
PMCID: PMC2682761  PMID: 19513098
4.  Parents' Perception, Students' and Teachers' Attitude Towards School Sex Education 
Background
Sex education is described as education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, family planning, body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods. This study was conducted to explore perception of parents about school sex education and assess the attitude of teachers and students towards school sex education.
Methods
A cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative study was conducted on randomly selected 386 students, total census of 94 teachers and 10 parents in Merawi Town from March 13–27, 2011. Data were collected using self-administered structured questionnaire and in-depth interview guideline. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed using total score to determine the effect of the independent variables on the outcome variable and thematic analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data.
Results
All study participants have favourable attitude towards the importance of school sex education. They also agreed that the content of school sex education should include abstinence-only and abstinence-plus based on mental maturity of the students. That means at early age (Primary school) the content of school sex education should be abstinence-only and at later age (secondary school) the content of school sex education should be added abstinence-plus. The students and the teachers said that the minimum and maximum introduction time for school sex education is 5 year and 25 year with mean of 10.97(SD±4.3) and 12.36(SD±3.7) respectively. Teacher teaching experiences and field of studies have supportive idea about the starting of school sex education. Watching romantic movies, reading romantic materials and listening romantic radio programs appear to have a contribution on the predictor of students' attitude towards the starting time of school sex education.
Conclusion
All study participants have a need to start sex education at school. All study participants said that at early age (Primary school) the content of school sex education is abstinence-only and at later age (secondary school) is added abstinence-plus. School Sex education should be under considers the need of students, teachers and parents.
PMCID: PMC3407832  PMID: 22876073
Sex education; Attitude; perception
5.  Adolescent pregnancies and girls' sexual and reproductive rights in the amazon basin of Ecuador: an analysis of providers' and policy makers' discourses 
Background
Adolescent pregnancies are a common phenomenon that can have both positive and negative consequences. The rights framework allows us to explore adolescent pregnancies not just as isolated events, but in relation to girls' sexual and reproductive freedom and their entitlement to a system of health protection that includes both health services and the so called social determinants of health. The aim of this study was to explore policy makers' and service providers' discourses concerning adolescent pregnancies, and discuss the consequences that those discourses have for the exercise of girls' sexual and reproductive rights' in the province of Orellana, located in the amazon basin of Ecuador.
Methods
We held six focus-group discussions and eleven in-depth interviews with 41 Orellana's service providers and policy makers. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using discourse analysis, specifically looking for interpretative repertoires.
Results
Four interpretative repertoires emerged from the interviews. The first repertoire identified was "sex is not for fun" and reflected a moralistic construction of girls' sexual and reproductive health that emphasized abstinence, and sent contradictory messages regarding contraceptive use. The second repertoire -"gendered sexuality and parenthood"-constructed women as sexually uninterested and responsible mothers, while men were constructed as sexually driven and unreliable. The third repertoire was "professionalizing adolescent pregnancies" and lead to patronizing attitudes towards adolescents and disregard of the importance of non-medical expertise. The final repertoire -"idealization of traditional family"-constructed family as the proper space for the raising of adolescents while at the same time acknowledging that sexual abuse and violence within families was common.
Conclusions
Providers' and policy makers' repertoires determined the areas that the array of sexual and reproductive health services should include, leaving out the ones more prone to cause conflict and opposition, such as gender equality, abortion provision and welfare services for pregnant adolescents. Moralistic attitudes and sexism were present - even if divergences were also found-, limiting services' capability to promote girls' sexual and reproductive health and rights.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-10-12
PMCID: PMC2889876  PMID: 20525405
6.  Silencing women’s sexuality: global AIDS policies and the case of the female condom 
Introduction
The female condom is the only evidence-based AIDS prevention technology that has been designed for the female body; yet, most women do not have access to it. This is remarkable since women constitute the majority of all HIV-positive people living in sub-Saharan Africa, and gender inequality is seen as a driving force of the AIDS epidemic. In this study, we analyze how major actors in the AIDS prevention field frame the AIDS problem, in particular the female condom in comparison to other prevention technologies, in their discourse and policy formulations. Our aim is to gain insight into the discursive power mechanisms that underlie the thinking about AIDS prevention and women’s sexual agency.
Methods
We analyze the AIDS policies of 16 agencies that constitute the most influential actors in the global response to AIDS. Our study unravels the discursive power of these global AIDS policy actors, when promoting and making choices between AIDS prevention technologies. We conducted both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how the global AIDS epidemic is being addressed by them, in framing the AIDS problem, labelling of different categories of people for targeting AIDS prevention programmes and in gender marking of AIDS prevention technologies.
Results
We found that global AIDS policy actors frame the AIDS problem predominantly in the context of gender and reproductive health, rather than that of sexuality and sexual rights. Men’s sexual agency is treated differently from women’s sexual agency. An example of such differentiation and of gender marking is shown by contrasting the framing and labelling of male circumcision as an intervention aimed at the prevention of HIV with that of the female condom.
Conclusions
The gender-stereotyped global AIDS policy discourse negates women’s agency in sexuality and their sexual rights. This could be an important factor in limiting the scale-up of female condom programmes and hampering universal access to female condoms.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.1.18452
PMCID: PMC3706634  PMID: 23838151
global policy; AIDS prevention; gender; sexual agency; female condom
7.  Human rights and reproductive health: political realities and pragmatic choices for married adolescent women living in urban slums, Bangladesh 
Background
In Bangladesh, particularly in urban slums, married adolescent women’s human rights to life, health, and reproductive and sexual health remain adversely affected because of the structural inequalities and political economic, social and cultural conditions which shape how rights are understood, negotiated and lived.
Methods
The focus of the research and methods was anthropological. An initial survey of 153 married adolescent women was carried out and from this group, 50 in-depth interviews were conducted with selected participants and, from the in-depth interviews, a further eight case studies of women and their families were selected for in-depth repeated interviews and case histories.
Results
This paper speaks of the unanticipated complexities when writing on reproductive rights for poor adolescent women living in the slums, where the discourses on ‘universal human rights’ are often removed from the reality of adolescent women’s everyday lives. Married adolescent women and their families remain extremely vulnerable in the unpredictable, crime-prone and insecure urban slum landscape because of their age, gender and poverty. Adolescent women’s understanding of their rights such as the decision to marry early, have children, terminate pregnancies and engage in risky sexual behaviour, are different from the widely accepted discourse on rights globally, which assumes a particular kind of individual thinking and discourse on rights and a certain autonomy women have over their bodies and their lives. This does not necessarily exist in urban slum populations.
Conclusions
The lived experiences and decisions made pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and ‘rights’ exercised by married adolescent women, their families and slum communities, allow us to reflect on the disconnect between the international legal human rights frameworks as applied to sexual and reproductive health rights, and how these are played out on the ground. These notions are far more complex in environments where married adolescent women and their families live in conditions of poverty and socioeconomic deprivation.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S3-S3
PMCID: PMC3287459  PMID: 22376023
8.  Can rights stop the wrongs? Exploring the connections between framings of sex workers’ rights and sexual and reproductive health 
Background
There is growing interest in the ways in which legal and human rights issues related to sex work affect sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and abuses including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. International agencies, such as UNAIDS, have called for decriminalisation of sex work because the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services is affected by criminalisation and social exclusion as experienced by sex workers. The paper reflects on the connections in various actors’ framings between sex workers sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the ways that international law is interpreted in policing and regulatory practices.
Methods
The literature review that informs this paper was carried out by the authors in the course of their work within the Paulo Longo Research Initiative. The review covered academic and grey literature such as resources generated by sex worker rights activists, UN policy positions and print and online media. The argument in this paper has been developed reflectively through long term involvement with key actors in the field of sex workers’ rights.
Results
International legislation characterises sex work in various ways which do not always accord with moves toward decriminalisation. Law, policy and regulation at national level and law enforcement vary between settings. The demands of sex worker rights activists do relate to sexual and reproductive health but they place greater emphasis on efforts to remove the structural barriers that limit sex workers’ ability to participate in society on an equal footing with other citizens.
Discussion and conclusion
There is a tension between those who wish to uphold the rights of sex workers in order to reduce vulnerability to ill-health and those who insist that sex work is itself a violation of rights. This is reflected in contemporary narratives about sex workers’ rights and the ways in which different actors interpret human rights law. The creation of regulatory frameworks around sex work that support health, safety and freedom from abuse requires a better understanding of the broad scope of laws, policies and enforcement practices in different cultural contexts and economic settings, alongside reviews of UN policies and human rights conventions.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S3-S6
PMCID: PMC3287462  PMID: 22376152
9.  Community attitude towards the reproductive rights and sexual life of people living with HIV/AIDS in Olorunda Local Government Area, Osogbo, Nigeria 
HIV/AIDS (Auckland, N.Z.)  2013;5:131-136.
Background
Globally, the Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic remains a major public health problem. In most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS has already reversed the post-independence developmental gains.
Purpose
This study assessed community attitudes regarding the reproductive rights and sexual life of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, Southwestern Nigeria.
Design and methods
In a community-based descriptive cross-sectional study, the sample size calculation was based on the assumption that 67% of the target population has a negative attitude regarding the reproductive rights of PLWHA; a confidence interval (CI) of 95% was used. A minimum sample size of 340 was obtained using the formula n = Z2pq/d2. An anticipated 10% nonresponse rate was added to obtain a sample size of 374; a multistage sampling technique was utilized to select a total of 450 respondents. Data collected through a semistructured standardized and pretested questionnaire were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences software, version 15.
Results
The study revealed that 283 (66.6%) and 142 (33.4%) of respondents were urban and rural dwellers, respectively. Mean age of respondents was 28.7 years ± 2.2 years. Four hundred and two (94.6%) respondents were aware of HIV/AIDS, and 88.7% had knowledge of at least six different modes of HIV/AIDS transmission. About 30.7% of respondents had discriminatory and stigmatizing attitudes towards PLWHA, and 50.9% and 44.8% had negative attitudes towards their sexual and reproductive rights, respectively. There were significant associations between gender, marital status, educational status, occupation, and residential area of respondents and their attitude towards the reproductive and sexual right of PLWHA (P < 0.05).
Conclusion and recommendation
Discriminatory and stigmatizing attitudes to PLWHA found among respondents translated into a negative attitude regarding the reproductive and sexual rights of PLWHA. There is an urgent need to institute programs for raising community awareness about the rights of PLWHA, especially in rural areas, and to strengthen legislative provisions for protecting and preserving the reproductive rights of PLWHA.
doi:10.2147/HIV.S45588
PMCID: PMC3686242  PMID: 23807862
community attitudes; PLWHA; reproductive and sexual rights
10.  Context-specific, evidence-based planning for scale-up of family planning services to increase progress to MDG 5: health systems research 
Reproductive Health  2012;9:27.
Background
Unmet need for family planning is responsible for 7.4 million disability-adjusted life years and 30% of the maternity-related disease burden. An estimated 35% of births are unintended and some 200 million couples state a desire to delay pregnancy or cease fertility but are not using contraception. Unmet need is higher among the poorest, lesser educated, rural residents and women under 19 years. The barriers to, and successful strategies for, satisfying all demand for modern contraceptives are heavily influenced by context. Successfully overcoming this to increase the uptake of family planning is estimated to reduce the risk of maternal death by up to 58% as well as contribute to poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and educational, social and economic participation, national development and environmental protection.
Methods
To strengthen health systems for delivery of context-specific, equity-focused reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services (RMNCH), the Investment Case study was applied in the Asia-Pacific region. Staff of local and central government and non-government organisations analysed data indicative of health service delivery through a supply–demand oriented framework to identify constraints to RMNCH scale-up. Planners developed contextualised strategies and the projected coverage increases were modelled for estimates of marginal impact on maternal mortality and costs over a five year period.
Results
In Indonesia, Philippines and Nepal the constraints behind incomplete coverage of family planning services included: weaknesses in commodities logistic management; geographical inaccessibility; limitations in health worker skills and numbers; legislation; and religious and cultural ideologies. Planned activities included: streamlining supply systems; establishment of Community Health Teams for integrated RMNCH services; local recruitment of staff and refresher training; task-shifting; and follow-up cards. Modelling showed varying marginal impact and costs for each setting with potential for significant reductions in the maternal mortality rate; up to 28% (25.1-30.7) over five years, costing up to a marginal USD 1.34 (1.32-1.35) per capita in the first year.
Conclusion
Local health planners are in a prime position to devise feasible context-specific activities to overcome constraints and increase met need for family planning to accelerate progress towards MDG 5.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-9-27
PMCID: PMC3563623  PMID: 23140196
Family planning; Maternal mortality; Health systems research; Health planning; Evidence based planning; Indonesia; Philippines; Nepal
11.  Adolescent pregnancies in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador: a rights and gender approach to adolescents' sexual and reproductive health 
Global Health Action  2010;3:10.3402/gha.v3i0.5280.
In the Andean region of Latin America over one million adolescent girls get pregnant every year. Adolescent pregnancy (AP) has been associated with adverse health and social outcomes, but it has also been favorably viewed as a pathway to adulthood. AP can also be conceptualized as a marker of inequity, since it disproportionately affects girls from the poorest households and those who have not been able to attend school.
Using results from a study carried out in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, this paper explores APs and adolescents' sexual and reproductive health from a rights and gender approach. The paper points out the main features of a rights and gender approach, and how it can be applied to explore APs. Afterward it describes the methodologies (quantitative and qualitative) and main results of the study, framing the findings within the rights and gender approach. Finally, some implications that could be generalizable to global reserach on APs are highlighted.
The application of the rights and gender framework to explore APs contributes to a more integral view of the issue. The rights and gender framework stresses the importance of the interaction between rights-holders and duty-bearers on the realization of sexual and reproductive rights, and acknowledges the importance of gender–power relations on sexual and reproductive decisions. A rights and gender approach could lead to more integral and constructive interventions, and it could also be useful when exploring other sexual and reproductive health matters.
doi:10.3402/gha.v3i0.5280
PMCID: PMC2893010  PMID: 20596248
adolescent pregnancy; reproductive and sexual rights; gender relations; gender structures; agency
12.  Unpacking rights in indigenous African societies: indigenous culture and the question of sexual and reproductive rights in Africa 
Background
Modern declarations on human rights have often proceeded without reference to the cultural content of rights, the existence of rights in African indigenous backgrounds, and the embodiment of certain key rights in the community itself. This paper is an attempt at developing an ‘inventory’ of rights in African cultures as a prelude to the generation both of a holistic theory of rights as well as a research agenda that can recognize the multifaceted nature of rights.
Methods
We use an interpretive ethnographic approach built on three sources of data: 1) our continuing ethnographic work among two distinct ethnic groups in southeastern Nigeria – the Ubang and the Igbo; 2) informal conversational interviews with individuals from a range of African countries; and 3) a review of relevant literature based on African cultures which provides a context for some of the issues we raise.
Results
An examination of selected indigenous rights, entitlements, or privileges among the Ubang and Igbo illustrates indigenous culture as a key, but often neglected, axis of rights, as a critical framework for understanding human relationships with rights, and as a resource for, and challenge to, contemporary programmatic efforts focusing on universalized notions of rights. Understanding or interpreting rights in African settings within the framework defined by contemporary human rights discourse poses steep challenges to making progress in the realization of sexual and reproductive rights.
Conclusions
Despite the potential dangers of privileging group rights over individual rights, when important rights are vested in the community; rights, entitlements, and privileges can also be recognized through community experiences, and realized through engagement with communities. Building on communal conceptualizations of rights in order to realize an even wider range of rights remains a largely unexplored strategy which holds promise for the achievement of sexual and reproductive health rights.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S3-S2
PMCID: PMC3287458  PMID: 22375959
13.  Knowledge translation within a population health study: how do you do it? 
Background
Despite the considerable and growing body of knowledge translation (KT) literature, there are few methodologies sufficiently detailed to guide an integrated KT research approach for a population health study. This paper argues for a clearly articulated collaborative KT approach to be embedded within the research design from the outset.
Discussion
Population health studies are complex in their own right, and strategies to engage the local community in adopting new interventions are often fraught with considerable challenges. In order to maximise the impact of population health research, more explicit KT strategies need to be developed from the outset. We present four propositions, arising from our work in developing a KT framework for a population health study. These cover the need for an explicit theory-informed conceptual framework; formalizing collaborative approaches within the design; making explicit the roles of both the stakeholders and the researchers; and clarifying what counts as evidence. From our deliberations on these propositions, our own co-creating (co-KT) Framework emerged in which KT is defined as both a theoretical and practical framework for actioning the intent of researchers and communities to co-create, refine, implement and evaluate the impact of new knowledge that is sensitive to the context (values, norms and tacit knowledge) where it is generated and used. The co-KT Framework has five steps. These include initial contact and framing the issue; refining and testing knowledge; interpreting, contextualising and adapting knowledge to the local context; implementing and evaluating; and finally, the embedding and translating of new knowledge into practice.
Summary
Although descriptions of how to incorporate KT into research designs are increasing, current theoretical and operational frameworks do not generally span a holistic process from knowledge co-creation to knowledge application and implementation within one project. Population health studies may have greater health impact when KT is incorporated early and explicitly into the research design. This, we argue, will require that particular attention be paid to collaborative approaches, stakeholder identification and engagement, the nature and sources of evidence used, and the role of the research team working with the local study community.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-54
PMCID: PMC3674953  PMID: 23694753
Knowledge translation; Population health; Engaged scholarship; co-KT Framework; Health system redesign
14.  A Cross-Sectional Study of the Psychosexual Impact of Cancer-Related Infertility in Women: Third-Party Reproductive Assistance 
Introduction
This study empirically assessed emotional and sexual functioning, reproductive concerns, and quality of life (QOL) of cancer-related infertile women in comparison to those without a cancer history and explored awareness of third-party reproduction options in cancer survivors.
Methods
One hundred twenty-two cancer survivors (Gynecologic and Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant) with cancer-related infertility and 50 non-cancer infertile women completed a self-report survey assessing: reproductive concerns(RCS), mood(CES-D), distress(IES), sexual function(FSFI), menopause(SCL), QOL(SF-12), relationships(ADAS), and exploratory (reproductive options) items.
Results
Cancer survivors exhibited greater sexual dysfunction and lower physical QOL than non-cancer infertile women (P<0.001). No significant group differences were identified for mood (CES-D), mental health QOL (SF-12), reproductive concerns (RCS), and relationship satisfaction (ADAS). All groups scored in the FSFI range of sexual dysfunction, and with RCS scores above published means. Multivariate comparisons showed comparable depression and distress levels for all groups, but cancer survivors had poorer physical QOL [F(5,146)=4.22, P<0.01]. A significant effect was also found for knowledge of third-party reproductive options on depression and distress levels [F(3,97)=4.62, P<0.01]. Adjusted means demonstrated higher depression and distress scores for women with perceived unmet informational needs.
Conclusions
Overall, loss of fertility was an emotionally challenging experience for women regardless of its cause. Cancer survivors were found to have lower scores of physical QOL and sexual function than non-cancer infertile women. Unmet informational needs about reproductive options appeared to be associated with negative mood and increased distress in cancer survivors.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Targeted interventions to increase knowledge about reproductive options could be of great assistance to women pursuing parenthood in cancer survivorship. Additionally, intervention studies to improve sexual functioning and QOL in women with cancer-related infertility should be a priority of future research.
doi:10.1007/s11764-010-0121-2
PMCID: PMC3701949  PMID: 20373042
cancer; infertility; survivorship; quality of life; third-party parenting
15.  Protocol for a longitudinal qualitative study: survivors of childhood critical illness exploring long-term psychosocial well-being and needs—The SCETCH Project 
BMJ Open  2014;4(1):e004230.
Introduction
Life-threatening critical illness affects over a quarter of a million children and adolescents (0–18 years old) annually in the USA and the UK. Death from critical illness is rare; however, survivors and their families can be exposed to a complex array of negative physical, psychological and social problems. Currently, within the literature, there is a distinct paucity of child and adolescent survivor self-reports, thus limiting our understanding of how survivors perceive this adversity and subsequently cope and grow in the long-term following their critical illness. This study aims to explore and understand psychosocial well-being and needs of critical illness survivors, 6–20 months post paediatric intensive care admission.
Methods and analysis
A longitudinal, qualitative approach will provide a platform for a holistic and contextualised exploration of outcomes and mechanisms at an individual level. Up to 80 participants, including 20 childhood critical illness survivors and 60 associated family members or health professionals/teachers, will be recruited. Three interviews, 7–9 weeks apart, will be conducted with critical illness survivors, allowing for the exploration of psychosocial well-being over time. A single interview will be conducted with the other participants enabling the exploration of contextual information and how psychosocial well-being may inter-relate between critical illness survivors and themselves. A ‘tool box’ of qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews, draw and tell, photo-elicitation, graphic-elicitation) will be used to collect data. Narrative analysis and pattern matching will be used to identify emergent themes across participants.
Ethics and dissemination
This study will provide an insight and understanding of participants’ experiences and perspectives of surviving critical illness in the long term with specific relation to their psychosocial well-being. Multiple methods will be used to ensure that the findings are effectively disseminated to service users, clinicians, policy and academic audiences. The study has full ethical approval from the East Midlands Research Ethics Committee and has received National Health Service (NHS) governance clearance.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004230
PMCID: PMC3902363  PMID: 24435896
Qualitative Research; Mental Health; Paediatrics
16.  Reaching tribal men to improve awareness to sexual morbidities: Experience from Baiga tribe of Central India 
Background and objectives:
Tribal men's reluctance in sharing responsibilities as supportive partners in reproductive and sexual health matters debar women from their sexual rights coupled with their negligence in health care and lesser utilization of reproductive health facilities. As a matter of fact a large proportion of ill health particularly related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) suffered not only by men but also by their spouses. The present study was planned among one of the primitive tribes of Madhya Pradesh to understand the knowledge of males about reproductive tract infection (RTI)/STI/HIV/AIDS, RTI symptoms suffered, perception on sexual health, utilization of health services and to improve the knowledge by intervention of need based IEC (information, education, communication) strategy.
Method:
The study was conducted among 400 currently married men in the age group of 15-40 yr in one of the primitive tribes, Baigas of Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. Eighteen villages were explored in the study. The IEC intervention was made by using quasi-experimental before and after with control design.
Result:
The baseline data generated indicated that Baigas male were poorly informed about RTI (18%), STI (21.5%) and HIV/AIDS (10%). Further, men also projected misconception on different aspects of sexuality. Women's views recorded also suggested a disturbing trend regarding male involvement in reproductive health particularly related to STIs.
Interpretation & conclusions:
After intervention of IEC targeting male population in age group 15 - 40 yr by adopting a before and after with controls design the awareness was improved significantly. The utilization of the health services was also improved significantly. The study recommends replication of the IEC strategy designed in other Baiga villages for improving the reproductive health of the tribe.
PMCID: PMC3734685  PMID: 23760379
Baiga tribe; currently married males; HIV/AIDS; IEC intervention; reproductive tract infections; sexual morbidities; STI
17.  Pelvic Girdle Pain during or after Pregnancy: a review of recent evidence and a clinical care path proposal 
The International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) was established by Prof. dr. Marleen Temmerman in the aftermath of the UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. This conference called for world-wide action to improve the sexual and reproductive health situation of the global population in general and for ­vulnerable groups in particular, and this is exactly what ICRH is striving for and has been working on for the last 15 years. ICRH is a multidisciplinary centre of excellence, in research, capacity building and fieldwork in sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, and an advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Right from the start, ICRH has opted for a global approach, which has resulted in a broad geographical spread of activities, with projects in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. Since its inception, ICRH has participated in more than 120 projects, often as the coordinator, and through this work it has contributed considerably not only to scientific knowledge, improvement of health systems and increased accessibility of health services for vulnerable groups, but also to the quality of live of numerous ­individuals. Since 2004, ICRH has been recognized as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on Sexual and ­Reproductive Health.
PMCID: PMC3987490
18.  Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for Women with Intellectual Disabilities: A Primary Care Perspective 
Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) face multiple health disparities and challenges to accessing health care. Little is known about sexual health care of this population and about how to optimize women's reproductive health care for women with intellectual disabilities. Women with ID face important barriers to care, including lack of provider training and experience, hesitancy to broach the topic of sexual health, a lack of sexual knowledge and limited opportunities for sex education, disability-related barriers, higher prevalence of sexual abuse and assault, often underreported, lack of dialogue around this population's human right to consensual sexual expression, undertreatment of menstrual disorders, and legal and systemic barriers. We conducted a limited literature review related to six aspects of sexual health care of women with ID, including barriers to sexual health care, sex education, sexual abuse and consensual sexuality, contraception, screening for sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer, and pregnancy and parenting. After providing background information about each topic, we suggest practice recommendations for primary care clinicians, using a rights-based framework.
doi:10.1155/2013/642472
PMCID: PMC3876698  PMID: 24455249
19.  Engaging media in communicating research on sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa: experiences and lessons learned 
Background
The mass media have excellent potential to promote good sexual and reproductive health outcomes, but around the world, media often fail to prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights issues or report them in an accurate manner. In sub-Saharan Africa media coverage of reproductive health issues is poor due to the weak capacity and motivation for reporting these issues by media practitioners. This paper describes the experiences of the African Population and Health Research Center and its partners in cultivating the interest and building the capacity of the media in evidence-based reporting of reproductive health issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods
The paper utilizes a case study approach based primarily on the personal experiences and reflections of the authors (who played a central role in developing and implementing the Center’s communication and policy engagement strategies), a survey that the Center carried out with science journalists in Kenya, and literature review.
Results
The African Population and Health Research Center’s media strategy evolved over the years, moving beyond conventional ways of communicating research through the media via news releases and newspaper stories, to varying approaches that sought to inspire and build the capacity of journalists to do evidence-based reporting of reproductive health issues. Specifically, the approach included 1) enhancing journalists’ interest in and motivation for reporting on reproductive health issues through training and competitive grants for outstanding reporting ; 2) building the capacity of journalists to report reproductive health research and the capacity of reproductive health researchers to communicate their research to media through training for both parties and providing technical assistance to journalists in obtaining and interpreting evidence; and 3) establishing and maintaining trust and mutual relationships between journalists and researchers through regular informal meetings between journalists and researchers, organizing field visits for journalists, and building formal partnerships with professional media associations and individual journalists.
Conclusion
Our experiences and reflections, and the experiences of others reviewed in this paper, indicate that a sustained mix of strategies that motivate, strengthen capacity of, and build relationships between journalists and researchers can be effective in enhancing quality and quantity of media coverage of research.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-9-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC3121138  PMID: 21679388
20.  Sociocultural and individual determinants for motivation of sexual and reproductive health workers in Papua New Guinea and their implications for male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy 
Background
The motivation of health workers (HWs) to deliver services in developing countries has been described as a critical factor in the success of health systems in implementing programmes. How the sociocultural context of Papua New Guinea (PNG) affects the values, motivation and actions of HWs involved in sexual and reproductive health services is important for policy development and programme planning. With interest in male circumcision (MC) as an HIV prevention option in PNG, this study explored the perceptions and motivations of HWs involved in sexual and reproductive health services in PNG, examining their implications for the possible future roll out of a national MC programme.
Methods
A multi-method qualitative study was conducted with HWs across a range of health care professions working in sexual health facilities. A total of 29 in-depth interviews and one focus group discussion were completed. Qualitative thematic analysis of the transcripts and field notes was undertaken using a social constructivist approach and complemented by documentary organizational, programme and policy analysis.
Results and discussions
Introduction of new health programmes, such as a MC programme for HIV prevention, are likely to impact upon one or more of the many motivational determinants. Social–cultural and individual factors influencing HW motivation to be involved in sexual and reproductive health services in PNG included community expectation and concern, sense of accomplishment and religious conviction. Strong links to community responsibility outweighed organizational ties. Faced with an often dysfunctional work environment, HWs perceived themselves as responsible to compensate for the failed health system. The impact of community influence and expectation needs to be considered when introducing a MC programme, particularly to communities in PNG where penile foreskin cutting is a common and accepted practice.
Conclusions
The potential contribution to the success of a MC programme that HWs may have means that taking into account the differing needs of communities as well as the motivational influences on HWs that exist within the sociocultural environment is important. These findings will assist not only in programme planning for MC, but also in the expansion of other existing sexual and reproductive health services.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-7
PMCID: PMC3602021  PMID: 23418879
21.  Changes to the law on consent in South Africa: implications for school-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health research 
Background
The National Health Act, No 61, 2003 in South Africa is the first effort made by the government to protect health-related research participants under law. Implemented on March 1, 2012, the law mandates active consent from a parent or legal guardian for all research conducted with research participants under the age of 18 years. This paper focuses on the Act's implications for school-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health research.
Discussion
Although well intentioned, the added legal protections in the National Health Act may have the unintended consequence of reducing participation rates in school-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health research, thereby excluding the most at-risk students. The Act may also compromise adolescents' right to dignity and privacy, especially considering the personal nature of research on sex and sexuality. Devolved, discretionary decision-making, which empowers local human research ethics committees to permit a wider range of protective measures, including passive consent, independent adolescent consent or community consultation ought to be considered. The continued and direct involvement of young people in their sexual and reproductive health and well-being is an important principle to uphold.
Summary
This paper calls for a re-examination of section 71's ethical guidelines relating to informed consent in the National Health Act, No 61, 2003 in South Africa in order to better serve the interests of South African adolescents in sexual and reproductive health research.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-3
PMCID: PMC3353180  PMID: 22490444
22.  Reproductive health decision making among Ghanaian women 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:23.
Introduction
Women’s reproductive health decision-making and choices, including engaging in sexual intercourse and condom use, are essential for good reproductive health. However, issues concerning sexual intercourse and condom use are shrouded in secrecy in many sub-Saharan African countries. This study investigates factors that affect decision making on engaging in sexual intercourse and use of condom among women aged 15–49.
Method
A nationally representative sample (N = 3124) data collected in the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey was used. Multivariate logistic regression was used to study the association between women’s economic and socio-demographic characteristics and their decision making on engaging in sexual intercourse and use of condom.
Results
One out of five women reported that they could not refuse their partners’ request for sexual intercourse while one out of four indicated that they could not demand the use of condoms by their partners. Women aged 35–49 were more likely to make decision on engaging in sexual intercourse (OR = 1.35) compared to those aged 15–24. Furthermore, the higher a woman’s education, the more likely that she would make decision regarding condom use. Also, if a woman had primary (OR = 1.37) or secondary (OR = 1.55) education, she is more likely to make decision regarding engaging in sexual intercourse compared to a woman who had no formal education. Compared to women in the Greater Accra region (the capital city region), women in the Western region (OR = 2.10), Central region (OR = 2.35), Brong Ahafo (OR = 1.70), Upper East (OR = 7.71) and Upper West (OR = 3.56) were more likely to make decision regarding the use of condom. Women who were in the richest, rich and middle wealth index categories were more likely to make decision regarding engaging in sexual intercourse as well as condom use compared to the poorest.
Conclusion
Interventions and policies geared at empowering women to take charge of their reproductive health should focus particularly on women from less wealthy backgrounds and those with low educational attainments.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-23
PMCID: PMC3985591  PMID: 24628727
23.  Association of various reproductive rights, domestic violence and marital rape with depression among Pakistani women 
BMC Psychiatry  2009;9:77.
Background
Depression among women is common in developing countries. Gender inequality can contribute to women's risk for depression. Lack of reproductive and sexual rights is an important marker of gender inequality and women do not have the freedom to express their reproductive and sexual needs in many parts of the world. Therefore we designed this study to determine the association of depression with lack of various reproductive rights and domestic violence among married women in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
A case-control study with 152 cases and 152 controls, which included women 15-48 years, recruited from two teaching hospitals from 1st June 2007 through 31st August 2007. The SRQ was administered to all subjects. A cut off score of 8 was used to confirm cases of depression diagnosed by physicians, and to exclude cases of depression from the controls. Self-administered questionnaire was used to assess the risk factors.
Results
61% of the cases and 43% of the controls were ever abused by spouse and the frequency of marital rape was 33% in cases and 13% in controls. After adjusting for the effects of other variables in the model, less than 18 years of age at marriage (OR 2.00; 95% CI = 1.07, 3.7), decision for marriage by parents (OR 3.51; 95% CI = 1.67, 7.37), abuse by in laws (OR 4.91; 95% CI = 2.66, 9.06), ≤ 3 hours per day spent with husband (OR 2.33; 95% CI = 1.34, 4.08), frequency of intercourse ≤ 2 times per week (OR 1.85; 95% CI = 1.06, 3.22) and marital rape (OR 3.03; 95% CI = 1.50, 6.11) were associated with depression among women.
Conclusion
In our study depression in married women was associated with younger age at marriage, lack of autonomy in marriage decisions, marital rape and domestic abuse by in-laws. Efforts should be directed towards creating awareness about the reproductive and sexual rights of women in Pakistan. Physicians should be trained to screen and identify women who may be at risk for psychological distress as a result of denial of reproductive rights so that they can support positive mental health outcomes through individual, family or marital counseling.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-77
PMCID: PMC2791762  PMID: 19951410
24.  Operationalising sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa: constraints, dilemmas and strategies 
Background
The continued poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa highlight the difficulties in reforming policies and laws, and implementing effective programmes. This paper uses one international and two national case studies to reflect on the challenges, dilemmas and strategies used in operationalising sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in different African contexts.
Methods
The international case study focuses on the progress made by African countries in implementing the African Union’s Maputo Plan of Action (for the Operationalisation of the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) and the experiences of state and non-state stakeholders in this process. The case was developed from an evaluation report of the progress made by nine African countries in implementing the Plan of Action, qualitative interviews exploring stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions of the operationalisation of the plan (carried out as part of the evaluation) in Botswana and Nigeria, and authors’ reflections. The first national case study explores the processes involved in influencing Ghana’s Domestic Violence Act passed in 2007; developed from a review of scientific papers and organisational publications on the processes involved in influencing the Act, qualitative interview data and authors’ reflections. The second national case study examines the experiences with introducing the 2006 Sexual Offences Act in Kenya, and it is developed from organisational publications on the processes of enacting the Act and a review of media reports on the debates and passing of the Act.
Results
Based on the three cases, we argue that prohibitive laws and governments’ reluctance to institute and implement comprehensive rights approaches to SRH, lack of political leadership and commitment to funding SRHR policies and programmes, and dominant negative cultural framing of women’s issues present the major obstacles to operationalising SRH rights. Analysis of successes points to the strategies for tackling these challenges, which include forming and working through strategic coalitions, employing strategic framing of SRHR issues to counter opposition and gain support, collaborating with government, and employing strategic opportunism.
Conclusion
The strategies identified show future pathways through which challenges to the realisation of SRHR in Africa can be tackled.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S3-S8
PMCID: PMC3287464  PMID: 22376197
25.  Intimate partner violence (physical and sexual) and sexually transmitted infection: results from Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011 
Introduction
Violence against women perpetrated by their intimate partners is a social problem with adverse health consequences. Intimate partner violence has acute and chronic as well as direct and indirect health consequences related to physical, psychological, and reproductive health. Studies exploring relationships of intimate partner violence and health consequences are rare in Nepal. Hence, this study aimed to examine the relationships between intimate partner violence and sexually transmitted infections.
Method
This study used data from the nationally representative Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011, which collected data through a two-stage complex sampling technique. Women 15–49 years were asked about domestic violence including intimate partner violence. For this analysis, 3,084 currently married women were included. Questions about domestic violence were adapted from the Conflict Tactic Scale. Relationships between different forms of physical and sexual intimate partner violence and reported signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections were examined using multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results
Approximately 15% of currently young and middle-aged married women experienced some form of violence in the last 12 months. About one in four women who were exposed to physical and sexual intimate partner violence reported sexually transmitted infection in the last 12 months. The odds of getting sexually transmitted infection were 1.88 [95% CI:1.29, 2.73] times higher among women exposed to any form of intimate partner violence in the last 12 months compared to women not exposed to any form of intimate partner violence.
Conclusion
Intimate partner violence was common among currently married women in Nepal. Being exposed to intimate partner violence and getting signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted disease were found to be associated. Integration of intimate partner violence prevention and reproductive health programs is needed to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted disease among currently married women.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S54609
PMCID: PMC3901740  PMID: 24470776
intimate partner violence; socio-demographic; sexually transmitted disease; Nepal

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