On 26 July 2018, UNAIDS published the latest statistics on the global HIV epidemic. In 2017, an estimated 36.9 million people were living with HIV. 21 million people have access to treatment, a record high. Consequently, the number of AIDS related deaths has dropped, to 940,000 in 2017. The biggest successes lay in Eastern and South-Eastern Africa, with a 42% decline in the number of AIDS related deaths since 2010. They reflect the successful scale-up of treatment in the region. Access to treatment also improved in most other regions, although (much) more modestly.
Roel Deseyn, federal MP and chair of the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda travelled to Tanzania in late June as part of a delegation of European politicians. He spoke to Tanzanian MPs, policy makers, NGO staff and youth activists about the many challenges relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
According to Professor in bio-ethics Peter Singer (DM, 7 July) population growth has become a taboo due to “a bizarre coalition of the Vatican, which has always been against anticonception and birth control, on the one hand, and radical feminists on the other, who gave priority to women’s freedom to choose how many children they want.” I choked in my coffee. Peter Singer is not an opponent of women’s rights, quite the contrary. And indeed, immediately after, the professor stated that these feminists “had a point, namely that family planning is a women’s right”. “But”, he continued, “at the level of the collective this leads to problems they forget to take into account, as an increase of young children equally increases the need for more schools, hospitals, jobs, etcetera.”
More than 16,000 researchers, advocates, policy makers, funders and community leaders from more than 160 countries came together in Amsterdam for the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). They are all committed to achieving a world free from HIV. These are the main takeaways:
Bruges, June 15th. Around 100 volunteers and professionals of European and Asian member associations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) gathered in Belgium to connect with and support each other in the promotion of SRHR. The IPPF EN annual meeting was centred around the overall theme “Building Bridges and Connecting through Values”.
Examples from Ireland, Croatia, Finland and other countries show that IPPF member associations face hostility in their fight to ensure that all people can enjoy their fundamental rights and make choices about their sexuality, reproduction and well-being. For this reason, IPPF EN decided many years ago to break out of the self-imposed boundaries of the SRHR sector and started to build bridges.
“Progress in SRHR requires confrontation of the barriers embedded in laws, policies, the economy, and in social norms and values (….) that prevent people from achieving sexual and reproductive health.”
This is what the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission “Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all” states in no uncertain terms. The report documents the magnitude of the SRHR needs, provides a comprehensive definition of SRHR and a roadmap on how to advance universal access to SRHR.
The commission underlines that the improvement of people’s health depends on individuals’ ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives and respecting the decisions of others. The commission’s report is the result of two years of joint collaboration of 16 respected SRHR experts from different parts of the world. Belgian Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman was one of them.
With a High-Level Panel on the European Development Days, Belgium raised attention for the unmet needs of adolescents.
June 6, Brussels. "Unsafe abortion is more accessible then contraceptives”, Young EDD leader Archane Phonsina said, in her testimony of young women’s challenges in the DR Congo. Phonsina lost one of her best friends to an unsafe abortion and is one of the leading voices for adolescents’ access to family planning and safe abortion in her country. “Simply speaking about family planning is still stigmatised and many girls will have at least two unsafe abortions in their lifetime”, she explained.
2018 Educaid-Because Health Conference puts spotlight on sexual and gender-based violence and comprehensive sexuality education at school
How can comprehensive sexuality education and programmes addressing school-related gender-based violence contribute to better sexual and reproductive health and education outcomes? These questions were at the heart of the ‘Two birds, one stone’ Panel, at the Educaid-Because Health conference “Health and Education: Stronger Together” at the Egmont Palace, on May 17th, co-organised by Sensoa.
Despite progress in safe deliveries, 830 women die every day due to pregnancy and delivery related complications and millions of women live with long lasting health problems as a result of them. Fistulas are one of the most serious delivery complications. Fistulas can lead to still births, incontinence, stigma, shame and social exclusion and in some cases the mother’s death. Approximately 2 million women live with the complication. Reasons enough to put the problem in the spotlight.
UN Member States failed to reach a consensus on a resolution on Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration, the main theme of the 51st Commission on Population and Development, April 9th-13th. It is the third time in the past four years that the CPD remains without agreed conclusions.