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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prolonged sexual abstinence after childbirth is a socio-cultural practice with health implications, and is described in several African countries, including Tanzania. This study explored discourses on prolonged postpartum sexual abstinence in relation to family health after childbirth in low-income suburbs of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Data for the discourse analysis were collected through focus group discussions with first-time mothers and fathers and their support people in Ilala, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
In this setting, prolonged sexual abstinence intended at promoting child health was the dominant discourse in the period after childbirth. Sexual relations after childbirth involved the control of sexuality for ensuring family health and avoiding the social implications of non-adherence to sexual abstinence norms. Both abstinence and control were emphasised more with regard to women than to men. Although the traditional discourse on prolonged sexual abstinence for protecting child health was reproduced in Ilala, some modern aspects such as the use of condoms and other contraceptives prevailed in the discussion.
Discourses on sexuality after childbirth are instrumental in reproducing gender-power inequalities, with women being subjected to more restrictions and control than men are. Thus, interventions that create openness in discussing sexual relations and health-related matters after childbirth and mitigate gendered norms suppressing women and perpetuating harmful behaviours are needed. The involvement of males in the interventions would benefit men, women, and children through improving the gender relations that promote family health.
Prolonged sexual abstinence; After childbirth; First-time parents; Gender relations; FGD; Tanzania
Sub-Saharan transmigrants in Morocco are extremely vulnerable to sexual violence. From a public health perspective, the healthcare system is globally considered an important partner in the prevention of sexual violence. The aim of this study is twofold. In a first phase, we aimed to identify the current role and position of the Moroccan healthcare sector in the prevention of sexual violence against sub-Saharan transmigrants. In a second phase, we wanted these results and available guidelines to be the topic of a participatory process with local stakeholders in order to formulate recommendations for a more desirable prevention of sexual violence against sub-Saharan transmigrants by the Moroccan healthcare sector.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices of healthcare workers in Morocco concerning sexual violence against sub-Saharan transmigrants and its prevention were firstly explored in semi-structured interviews after which they were discussed in a participatory process resulting in the formulation of recommendations.
All participants (n=24) acknowledged the need for desirable prevention of sexual violence against transmigrants. Furthermore, important barriers in tertiary prevention practices, i.e. psychosocial and judicial referral and long-term follow-up, and in secondary prevention attitudes, i.e. active identification of victims were identified. Moreover, existing services for Moroccan victims of sexual violence currently do not address the sub-Saharan population. Thus, transmigrants are bound to rely on the aid of civil society.
This research demonstrates the low accessibility of existing Moroccan services for sub-Saharan migrants. In particular, there is an absence of prevention initiatives addressing sexual violence against the sub-Saharan transmigrant population. Although healthcare workers do wish to develop prevention initiatives, they are dealing with structural difficulties and a lack of expertise. Recommendations adapted to the context of sub-Saharan transmigrants in Morocco are suggested.
Sub-Saharan migrants; Morocco; Sexual violence; Health services; Prevention
Queerness is now global. Many emerging economies of the global South are experiencing queer mobilization and sexual identity politics raising fundamental questions of citizenship and human rights on the one hand; and discourses of nationalism, cultural identity, imperialism, tradition and family-values on the other. While some researchers argue that with economic globalization in the developing world, a Western, hegemonic notion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity has been exported to traditional societies thereby destroying indigenous sexual cultures and diversities, other scholars do not consider globalization as a significant factor in global queer mobilization and sexual identity politics. This paper aims at exploring the debate around globalization and contemporary queer politics in developing world with special reference to India. After briefly tracing the history of sexual identity politics, this paper examines the process of queer mobilization in relation to emergence of HIV/AIDS epidemic and forces of neoliberal globalization. I argue that the twin-process of globalization and AIDS epidemic has significantly influenced the mobilization of queer communities, while simultaneously strengthening right wing "homophobic" discourses of heterosexist nationalism in India.
Perspectives of public health generally ignore culture-bound sexual health concerns, such as semen loss, and primarily attempt to eradicate sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Like in many other countries, sexual health concerns of men in Bangladesh have also received less attention compared to STIs in the era of AIDS. This paper describes the meanings of non-STI sexual health concerns, particularly semen loss, in the masculinity framework. In a qualitative study on male sexuality, 50 men, aged 18–55 years, from diverse sociodemographic backgrounds and 10 healthcare practitioners were interviewed. Men considered semen the most powerful and vital body fluid representing their sexual performance and reproductive ability. Rather than recognizing the vulnerability to transmission of STIs, concerns about semen were grounded in the desire of men to preserve and nourish seminal vitality. Traditional practitioners supported semen loss as a major sexual health concern where male heritage configures male sexuality in a patriarchal society. Currently, operating HIV interventions in the framework of disease and death may not ensure participation of men in reproductive and sexual health programmes and is, therefore, less likely to improve the quality of sexual life of men and women.
Semen loss; Sexuality; Sexual health; Sexually transmitted infections; Human immunodeficiency virus; AIDS; Bangladesh
Achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 in Bangladesh calls for an appreciation of the evolution of maternal healthcare within the national health system to date plus a projection of future needs. This paper assesses the development of maternal health services and policies by reviewing policy and strategy documents since the independence in 1971, with primary focus on rural areas where three-fourths of the total population of Bangladesh reside. Projections of need for facilities and human resources are based on the recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 and 2005. Although maternal healthcare services are delivered from for-profit and not-for-profit (NGO) subsectors, this paper is focused on maternal healthcare delivery by public subsector. Maternal healthcare services in the public sector of Bangladesh have been guided by global policies (e.g. Health for All by the Year 2000), national policies (e.g. population and health policy), and plans (e.g. five- or three-yearly). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through its two wings—Health Services and Family Planning—sets policies, develops implementation plans, and provides rural public-health services. Since 1971, the health infrastructure has developed though not in a uniform pattern and despite policy shifts over time. Under the Family Planning wing of the MoHFW, the number of Maternal and Child Welfare Centres has not increased but new services, such as caesarean-section surgery, have been integrated. The Health Services wing of the MoHFW has ensured that all district-level public-health facilities, e.g. district hospitals and medical colleges, can provide comprehensive essential obstetric care (EOC) and have targeted to upgrade 132 of 407 rural Upazila Health Complexes to also provide such services. In 2001, they initiated a programme to train the Government's community workers (Family Welfare Assistants and Female Health Assistants) to provide skilled birthing care in the home. However, these plans have been too meagre, and their implementation is too weak to fulfill expectations in terms of the MDG 5 indicator—increased use of skilled birth attendants, especially for poor rural women. The use of skilled birth attendants, institutional deliveries, and use of caesarean section remain low and are increasing only slowly. All these indicators are substantially lower for those in the lower three socioeconomic quintiles. A wide variation exists in the availability of comprehensive EOC facilities in the public sector among the six divisions of the country. Rajshahi division has more facilities than the WHO 1996 standard (1 comprehensive EOC for 500,000 people) whereas Chittagong and Sylhet divisions have only 64% of their need for comprehensive EOC facilities. The WHO 2005 recommendation (1 comprehensive EOC for 3,500 births) suggests that there is a need for nearly five times the existing national number of comprehensive EOC facilities. Based on the WHO standard 2005, it is estimated that 9% of existing doctors and 40% of nurses/midwives were needed just for maternal healthcare in both comprehensive EOC and basic EOC facilities in 2007. While the inability to train and retain skilled professionals in rural areas is the major problem in implementation, the bifurcation of the MoHFW (Health Services and Family Planning wings) has led to duplication in management and staff for service-delivery, inefficiencies as a result of these duplications, and difficulties of coordination at all levels. The Government of Bangladesh needs to functionally integrate the Health Services and Family Planning wings, move towards a facility-based approach to delivery, ensure access to key maternal health services for women in the lower socioeconomic quintiles, consider infrastructure development based on the estimation of facilities using the WHO 1996 recommendation, and undertake a human resource-development plan based on the WHO 2005 recommendation.
Maternal health; Maternal health services; Rural health services; Bangladesh
Bangladesh has experienced one of the highest urban population growth rates (around 7% per year) over the past three decades. Dhaka, the capital city, attracts approximately 320,000 migrants from rural areas every year. The city is unable to provide shelter, food, education, healthcare, and employment for its rapidly-expanding population. An estimated 3.4 million people live in the overcrowded slums of Dhaka, and many more live in public spaces lacking the most basic shelter. While a small but growing body of research describes the lives of people who live in urban informal settlements or slums, very little research describes the population with no housing at all. Anecdotally, the homeless population in Dhaka is known to face extortion, erratic unemployment, exposure to violence, and sexual harassment and to engage in high-risk behaviours. However, this has not been systematically documented. This cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted to better understand the challenges in the lives of the homeless population in 11 areas of Dhaka during a 13-month period from June 2007 to June 2008. A modified cluster-sampling method was used for selecting 32 clusters of 14 female and male respondents, for a sample of 896. In addition to sociodemographic details, this paper focuses specifically on violence, drug-abuse, and sexual harassment. The findings showed that physical assaults among the homeless, particularly among women, were a regular phenomenon. Eighty-three percent of female respondents (n=372) were assaulted by their husbands, station masters, and male police officers. They were subjected to lewd gestures, unwelcome advances, and rape. Male respondents reported being physically assaulted while trying to collect food, fighting over space, or while stealing, by police officers, miscreants, or other homeless people. Sixty-nine percent of the male respondents (n=309) used locally-available drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, and two-thirds of injecting drug-users shared needles. The study determined that the homeless are not highly mobile but tend to congregate in clusters night after night. Income-generating activities, targeted education, gender-friendly community police programmes, shelters and crises centres, and greater community involvement are suggested as policy and programmatic interventions to raise the quality of life of this population. In addition, there is a need to reduce high rates of urban migration, a priority for Bangladesh.
Cross-sectional studies; Descriptive studies; Developing country; Homelessness; Sexual harassment; Substance-abuse; Violence; Bangladesh
Trained human resources are fundamental for well-functioning health systems, and the lack of health workers undermines public sector capacity to meet population health needs. While external brain drain from low and middle-income countries is well described, there is little understanding of the degree of internal brain drain, and how increases in health sector funding through global health initiatives may contribute to the outflow of health workers from the public sector to donor agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the private sector.
An observational study was conducted to estimate the degree of internal and external brain drain among Mozambican nationals qualifying from domestic and foreign medical schools between 1980–2006. Data were collected 26-months apart in 2008 and 2010, and included current employment status, employer, geographic location of employment, and main work duties.
Of 723 qualifying physicians between 1980–2006, 95.9% (693) were working full-time, including 71.1% (493) as clinicians, 20.5% (142) as health system managers, and 6.9% (48) as researchers/professors. 25.5% (181) of the sample had left the public sector, of which 62.4% (113) continued working in-country and 37.6% (68) emigrated from Mozambique. Of those cases of internal migration, 66.4% (75) worked for NGOs, 21.2% (24) for donor agencies, and 12.4% (14) in the private sector. Annual incidence of physician migration was estimated to be 3.7%, predominately to work in the growing NGO sector. An estimated 36.3% (41/113) of internal migration cases had previously held senior-level management positions in the public sector.
Internal migration is an important contributor to capital flight from the public sector, accounting for more cases of physician loss than external migration in Mozambique. Given the urgent need to strengthen public sector health systems, frank reflection by donors and NGOs is needed to assess how hiring practices may undermine the very systems they seek to strengthen.
The transgender people (hijra), who claim to be neither male nor female, are socially excluded in Bangladesh. This paper describes social exclusion of hijra [The term is used in this abstract both in singular and plural sense] focusing on the pathway between exclusion and sexual health. In an ethnographic study, 50 in-depth interviews with hijra, 20 key-informant interviews, and 10 focus-group discussions (FGDs), along with extensive field observations, were conducted. The findings revealed that hijra are located at the extreme margin of exclusion having no sociopolitical space where a hijra can lead life of a human being with dignity. Their deprivations are grounded in non-recognition as a separate gendered human being beyond the male-female dichotomy. Being outside this norm has prevented them from positioning themselves in greater society with human potential and security. They are physically, verbally, and sexually abused. Extreme social exclusion diminishes self-esteem and sense of social responsibility. Before safer sex interventions can be effective in a broader scale, hijra need to be recognized as having a space on society's gender continuum. Hijra, as the citizens of Bangladesh and part of society's diversity, have gender, sexual and citizenship rights, that need to be protected.
Hijra; HIV; Social exclusion; Bangladesh
Gang youth are at an increased likelihood of participating in unsafe sexual behaviors and at an elevated risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infection (STIs), including HIV. This manuscript presents quantitative and qualitative data on sexual behaviors among a sample of predominately heterosexual, male gang youth aged 16 to 25 years interviewed in Los Angeles between 2006 and 2007 (n = 60). In particular, sexual identity, initiation and frequency of sex, and number of sexual partners; use of condoms, children, and other pregnancies; group sex; and STIs and sex with drug users. We argue that gang youth are a particular public health concern, due to their heightened risky sexual activity, and that behavioral interventions targeting gang youth need to include a component on reducing sexual risks and promoting safe sexual health.
Given that many low income countries are heavily reliant on external assistance to fund their health sectors the acceptance of obligations of international assistance and cooperation with regard to the right to health (global health obligations) is insufficiently understood and studied by international health and human rights scholars. Over the past decade Global Health Initiatives, like the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) have adopted novel approaches to engaging with stakeholders in high and low income countries. This article explores how this experience impacted on acceptance of the international obligation to (help) fulfil the right to health beyond borders.
The authors conducted an extensive review of international human rights law literature, transnational legal process literature, global public health literature and grey literature pertaining to Global Health Initiatives. To complement this desk work and deepen their understanding of how and why different legal norms evolve the authors conducted 19 in-depth key informant interviews with actors engaged with three stakeholders; the European Union, the United States and Belgium. The authors then analysed the interviews through a transnational legal process lens.
Through according value to the process of examining how and why different legal norms evolve transnational legal process offers us a tool for engaging with the dynamism of developments in global health suggesting that operationalising global health obligations could advance the right to health for all.
In many low-income countries the health sector is heavily dependent on external assistance to fulfil the right to health of people thus it is vital that policies and tools for delivering reliable, long-term assistance are developed so that the right to health for all becomes more than a dream. Our research suggests that the Global Fund experience offers lessons to build on.
Global health initiatives; Human rights; The Global Fund to fight AIDS; Tuberculosis and Malaria; HIV; Right to health; Transnational legal process; Extraterritorial legal obligations
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.
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.
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.
To determine relapse rates and associated factors among people who use drugs (PWUDs) attending abstinence-oriented drug treatment clinics in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A cohort of male and female PWUDs admitted to the 3-month drug detoxification-rehabilitation treatment programmes of three non-governmental organisation-run drug treatment clinics in Dhaka, Bangladesh were interviewed on admission and over the following 5 months, which included the first 2 months after discharge. The study subjects comprised 150 male and 110 female PWUDs who had been taking opiates/opioids, cannabis or other drugs (including sedatives) before admission, had provided informed consent and were aged ≥16 years. Interviews were conducted using semi-structured questionnaires at four time points; on admission, at discharge and at 1 and 2 months after discharge. Relapse rates were assessed by the Kaplan–Meier method. Factors associated with relapse on enrolment and after discharge were determined using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.
A greater proportion of female than male subjects relapsed over the study period (71.9% versus 54.5%, p < 0.01). For men, baseline factors associated with relapse were living with other PWUDs (relative hazard ratio [RHR] = 2.27), living alone (RHR = 2.35) and not having sex with non-commercial partners (RHR = 2.27); whereas for women these were previous history of drug treatment (RHR = 1.94), unstable housing (RHR = 2.44), higher earnings (RHR = 1.89), preferring to smoke heroin (RHR = 3.62) and injecting buprenorphine/pethidine (RHR = 3.00). After discharge, relapse for men was associated with unstable housing (RHR = 2.78), living alone (RHR = 3.69), higher earnings (RHR = 2.48) and buying sex from sex workers (RHR = 2.29). Women’ relapses were associated with not having children to support (RHR = 3.24) and selling sex (RHR = 2.56).
The relapse rate was higher for female PWUDs. For both male and female subjects the findings highlight the importance of stable living conditions. Additionally, female PWUDs need gender-sensitive services and active efforts to refer them for opioid substitution therapy, which should not be restricted only to people who inject drugs.
Relapse; Gender; Drug detoxification-rehabilitation; People who use drugs; Bangladesh
Adolescent sexuality is a relevant public health issue, as it affects risk to contract HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The assessment of prevalence of sexual intercourse among adolescents may guide policies and programmes aimed at reducing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections among this age group. Using data from the Thailand Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS) 2008, we assessed the prevalence of sexual intercourse in the last 12 months and its associated factors among adolescents (N = 2758). Overall the prevalence of sexual intercourse in the past 12 months was 11.0% (14.6% males and 7.6% females). Variables positively associated with the outcome in multivariable analysis were male gender (OR = 1.66; 95% CI 1.14–242), older age, ≥15 years (OR = 2.60, 1.80–3.74), current alcohol use (OR = 2.22, 1.46–3.36), psychosocial distress (OR = 2.11, 1.44–3.09) and among females current smoking (OR = 5.47, 1.62–18.48), lifetime drug use (AOR = 4.35, 1.04–18.3) and lack of parental or guardian bonding (AOR = 0.51, 0.27–0.97). Efforts to control unhealthy lifestyles (substance use) and psychosocial distress may impact on adolescents' sexual activity.
Adolescent sexuality; sexual intercourse; substance use; HIV and AIDS; protective factors; Thailand
In Bangladesh, private healthcare is common and popular, regardless of income or area of residence, making the private sector an important player in health service provision. Although the private sector offers a good range of health services, tuberculosis (TB) care in the private sector is poor. We conducted research in Dhaka, between 2004 and 2008, to develop and evaluate a public–private partnership (PPP) model to involve private medical practitioners (PMPs) within the National TB Control Programme (NTP)'s activities. Since 2008, this PPP model has been scaled up in two other big cities, Chittagong and Sylhet. This paper reports the results of this development, evaluation and scale-up.
Mixed method, observational study design. We used NTP service statistics to compare the TB control outcomes between intervention and control areas. To capture detailed insights of PMPs and TB managers about the process and outcomes of the study, we conducted in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and workshops.
Urban setting, piloted in four areas in Dhaka city; later scaled up in other areas of Dhaka and in two major cities.
The partnership with PMPs yielded significantly increased case finding of sputum smear-positive TB cases. Between 2004 and 2010, 703 participating PMPs referred 3959 sputum smear-positive TB cases to the designated Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) centres, contributing about 36% of all TB cases in the project areas. There was a steady increase in case notification rates in the project areas following implementation of the partnership.
The PPP model was highly effective in improving access and quality of TB care in urban settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gender based violence, including violence by an intimate partner, is a major global human rights and public health problem, with important connections with HIV risk. Indeed, the elimination of sexual and gender based violence is a core pillar of HIV prevention for UNAIDS. Integrated strategies to address the gender norms, relations and inequities that underlie both violence against women and HIV/AIDS are needed. However there is limited evidence about the potential impact of different intervention models. This protocol describes the SASA! Study: an evaluation of a community mobilisation intervention to prevent violence against women and reduce HIV/AIDS risk in Kampala, Uganda.
The SASA! Study is a pair-matched cluster randomised controlled trial being conducted in eight communities in Kampala. It is designed to assess the community-level impact of the SASA! intervention on the following six primary outcomes: attitudes towards the acceptability of violence against women and the acceptability of a woman refusing sex (among male and female community members); past year experience of physical intimate partner violence and sexual intimate partner violence (among females); community responses to women experiencing violence (among women reporting past year physical/sexual partner violence); and past year concurrency of sexual partners (among males). 1583 women and men (aged 18–49 years) were surveyed in intervention and control communities prior to intervention implementation in 2007/8. A follow-up cross-sectional survey of community members will take place in 2012. The primary analysis will be an adjusted cluster-level intention to treat analysis, comparing outcomes in intervention and control communities at follow-up. Complementary monitoring and evaluation and qualitative research will be used to explore and describe the process of intervention implementation and the pathways through which change is achieved.
This is one of few cluster randomised trials globally to assess the impact of a gender-focused community mobilisation intervention. The multi-disciplinary research approach will enable us to address questions of intervention impact and mechanisms of action, as well as its feasibility, acceptability and transferability to other contexts. The results will be of importance to researchers, policy makers and those working on the front line to prevent violence against women and HIV.
Violence against women; Intimate partner violence; Domestic violence; HIV/AIDS; SASA; Community mobilisation; Behaviour change; Gender; Community randomised trial; Uganda
Sexual offences are a global public health concern. Recent changes in the law in England and Wales have dramatically altered the legal landscape of sexual offences, but sexual assaults where the victim is voluntarily intoxicated by alcohol continue to have low conviction rates. Worldwide, students are high consumers of alcohol. This research aimed to compare male and female students in relation to their knowledge and attitudes about alcohol and sexual activity and to identify factors associated with being the victim of alcohol-related non-consensual sex.
1,110 students completed an online questionnaire. Drinking levels were measured using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test. Non-consensual sexual experiences were measured using the Sexual Experience Survey. Univariate and multivariate analyses were undertaken using chi square and backwards stepwise logistic regression respectively.
A third of respondents had experienced alcohol-related non-consensual sex. Male and female students differed in the importance they gave to cues in deciding if a person wished to have sex with them and their understanding of the law of consent. 82.2% of women who had experienced alcohol-related non-consensual sex were hazardous drinkers compared to 62.9% who drank at lower levels (P < 0.001). Differences existed between men and women, and between those who had and had not experienced alcohol-related non-consensual sex, in relation to assessments of culpability in scenarios depicting alcohol-related intercourse. A third of respondents believed that a significant proportion of rapes were false allegations; significantly more men than women responded in this way.
Alcohol-related coerced sexual activity is a significant occurrence among students; attitudinal and knowledge differences between males and females may explain this. Educational messages that focus upon what is deemed acceptable sexual behaviour, the law and rape myths are needed but are set against a backdrop where drunkenness is commonplace.
Alcohol; Sex; Sexual assault; Law; Gender; AUDIT; Violence
A careful examination of young men's sexuality by health professionals in pediatrics, primary care and reproductive health is foundational to adolescent male sexual health and healthy development. Through a review of existing literature, this article provides background and a developmental framework for sexual health services for adolescent boys. The article first defines and provides an overview of adolescent boys’ sexual health, and then discusses developmentally focused research on the following topics: (1) early romantic relationships and the evolution of power and influence within these relationships; (2) developmental “readiness” for sex and curiosity; (3) boys’ need for closeness and intimacy; (4) adopting codes of masculinity; (5) boys’ communicating about sex; and (6) contextual influences from peers, families, and providers. This article concludes by examining the implications of these data for sexual health promotion efforts for adolescent males, including HPV vaccination.
Understanding the demographic, behavioural and psychosocial factors associated with partner referral for patients with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is important for designing appropriate intervention strategies. A survey was conducted among STI clients in three government and three non-governmental organization-operated clinics in Dhaka and Chittagong city in Bangladesh. Demographic and psychosocial information was collected using a questionnaire guided by the Attitude-Social Influence-Self Efficacy model. Partner referral data were collected by verification of referral cards when partners appeared at the clinics within one month of interviewing the STI clients. Of the 1339 clients interviewed, 81% accepted partner referral cards but only 32% actually referred their partners; 37% of these referrals were done by clients randomly assigned to a single counselling session vs. 27% by clients not assigned to a counselling session (p < 0.0001). Among psychosocial factors, partner referral intention was best predicted by attitudes and perceived social norms of the STI clients. Actual partner referral was significantly associated with intention to refer partner and attitudes of the index clients. Married clients were significantly more likely to refer their partners, and clients with low income were less likely to refer partners. Intervention programmes must address psychosocial and socio-economic issues to improve partner referral for STIs in Bangladesh.
Sexually transmitted infections; Partner referral; Psychosocial factors; Bangladesh; Attitudes
Objectives: This study characterises the prevalence of a broad spectrum of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (herpes simplex virus 2, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea), and examines associations between risk factors and infection in men working in Bangladesh's trucking industry. Given the high risk sexual behaviours of truck drivers and helpers in many contexts, as well as the direct health effects of STDs and their role in facilitating HIV transmission, it is important to understand the prevalence of STDs and associated risk factors in this population.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted at Tejgaon truck stand, one of the largest truck stands in Dhaka, the capital city. The study group, comprising 388 truck drivers and helpers, was selected via a two tiered sampling strategy. Of 185 trucking agencies based at the truck stand, 38 agencies were randomly selected, and a mean of 10 subjects (drivers/helpers) were recruited from each agency. Urine and blood samples were collected from subjects after an interview about their lifestyle and a comprehensive physical examination. Gold standard laboratory tests were conducted for the detection of STD. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess associations between infections and potential risk factors.
Results: The levels of prevalence of disease were HSV-2 (25.8%), serological syphilis (5.7%), gonorrhoea (2.1%), chlamydia (0.8%). For infection with any bacterial STD (syphilis, gonorrhoea, or chlamydia) the only significant risk factor was having sex with a commercial sex worker in the past year (OR=3.54; CI=1.29–9.72). For HSV-2, truck helpers working primarily on interdistrict routes were significantly more likely to be infected than drivers working on these routes (OR=2.51, CI=1.13–5.55).
Conclusions: The high prevalence of HSV-2, and to a lesser extent syphilis, and the low levels of condom use despite high numbers of casual sexual partners, illustrate the importance of promoting condom use, particularly in commercial sexual encounters, to men in Bangladesh's trucking industry.
Nepal has experienced sporadic reports of human rights violations among sexual and gender minorities. Our objective was to identify a range of human rights that are enshrined in international law and/or are commonly reported by sexual and gender minority participants in Kathmandu, to be nonprotected or violated.
In September 2009 three focus group discussions were conducted by trained interviewers among a convenience sample of sexual and gender minority participants in Kathmandu Nepal. The modified Delphi technique was utilized to elicit and rank participant-generated definitions of human rights and their subsequent violations. Data was analyzed independently and cross checked by another investigator.
Participants (n = 29) reported experiencing a range of human rights violations at home, work, educational, health care settings and in public places. Lack of adequate legal protection, physical and mental abuse and torture were commonly reported. Access to adequate legal protection and improvements in the family and healthcare environment were ranked as the most important priority areas.
Sexual and gender minorities in Nepal experienced a range of human rights violations. Future efforts should enroll a larger and more systematic sample of participants to determine frequency, timing, and/or intensity of exposure to rights violations, and estimate the population-based impact of these rights violations on specific health outcomes
Foreign policy holds great potential to improve the health of a global citizenship. Our contemporary political order is, in part, characterized by sovereign states acting either in opposition or cooperation with other sovereign states. This order is also characterized by transnational efforts to address transnational issues such as those featured so prominently in the area of global health, such as the spread of infectious disease, health worker migration and the movement of health-harming products. These two features of the current order understandably create tension for truly global initiatives.
National security has become the dominant ethical frame underlying the health-based foreign policy of many states, despite the transnational nature of many contemporary health challenges. This ethical approach engages global health as a means to achieving national security objectives. Implicit in this ethical frame is the version of humanity that dichotomizes between “us” and “them”. What has been left out of this discourse, for the most part, is the role that foreign policy can play in extending the responsibility of states to protect and promote health of the other, for the sake of the other.
The principal purpose of this paper is to review arguments for a cosmopolitan ethics of health-based foreign policy. I will argue that health-based foreign policy that is motivated by security interests is lacking both morally and practically to further global health goals. In other words, a cosmopolitan ethic is not only intrinsically superior as a moral ideal, but also has potential to contribute to utilitarian ends. This paper draws on the cosmopolitanism literature to build robust support for foreign policies that contribute to sustainable systems of global health governance.
Developing cities like Khulna, the third largest metropolitan city in Bangladesh, have now begun to confess the environmental and public health risks associated with uncontrolled dumping of solid wastes mainly due to the active participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) in municipal solid waste (MSW) management.
A survey was conducted to observe the present scenarios of secondary disposal site (SDS), ultimate disposal site (UDS), composting plants, medical wastes management and NGOs and CBOs MSW management activities.
A total of 22 NGOs and CBOs are involved in MSW management in 31 wards of Khulna City Corporation. About 9 to 12% of total generated wastes are collected by door-to-door collection system provided by mainly NGOs and CBOs using 71 non-motorized rickshaw vans. A major portion of collected wastes is disposed to the nearest SDS by these organizations and then transferred to UDS or to private low-lying lands from there by the city authority. A small portion of organic wastes is going to the composting plants of NGOs.
The participation of NGOs and CBOs has improved the overall MSW management system, especially waste collection process from sources and able to motivate the residents to store the waste properly and to keep clean the premises.
Municipal solid waste (MSW); NGO; CBO; Waste management; Composting