Saturday, November 28, 2009

Women Deliver Conference Scholarship!

Women Deliver is an awesome conference on international women's health and rights that is held every year, please check them out at their website:

It is definitely something that I have always wanted to attend and I think I might even get a fighting chance this year with the new scholarship program they started. You should definitely apply too! The site specific for the scholarship is (

Women Deliver 2010 Conference Scholarships

Women Deliver is committed to making Women Deliver 2010 accessible to individuals from all over the world, and will offer full conference scholarships to selected candidates. Scholarships will cover: conference registration, roundtrip airfare, visa fees, hotel stay, and a stipend for incidentals and meals. (For travel reimbursement, please maintain actual and valid receipts of all transactions including visa fees, taxi rides, etc).

DEADLINE: Women Deliver must receive your completed application online on or before the deadline of December 15, 2009.

Please click here to fill out the entire online application.

Good luck to us all! Let me know if you get it too because that would be pretty awesome.


Americans for UNFPA

Check this out! The organization Americans for UNFPA is an amazing resource. They have a boat load of information on how to get involved in reproductive health issues internationally on their website.

Here is a link to their website:

They also have a youtube page with super sweet videos:

They are also offering this amazing opportunity for non-graduating college students. I am not sure if medical students can apply but I would send over an email just to check because they may be eligible too. This would be a great resource either way:
Student Award for the Health and Dignity of Women
Presented by Americans for UNFPA
The Student Award for the Health and Dignity of Women will recognize one student who demonstrates commitment to women’s health and/or the promotion of the rights of women.

The winner will:
1.Travel with Americans for UNFPA staff for five days (approximately) in the Summer of 2010 to visit UNFPA-supported field programs.
2. Win a $1,000 scholarship.
3.Guest-blog on a leading publication website about your trip, and participate in media interviews.
4.Lobby your Representatives in Congress about the need for U.S. support for UNFPA.
5.Host an on-campus awareness-building event about global women’s health and dignity in the semester after you return from your trip. Americans for UNFPA staff will work with you to help prepare for this event and for your lobby visits to local elected officials.

Applicants should:
* Hope to improve the ways that government agencies, non-profit organizations or educational institutions support the health and dignity of women;
* Have community service or extra curricular experiences that demonstrate an interest in collaboration, activism, leadership and/or global change; and
* Be a culturally sensitive, open-minded, team player with values consistent with UNFPA’s mission.

1. Discuss why the American people and our government should support UNFPA’s work towards ONE of its global goals -

* Please focus on ONE of the following goals of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund: access to contraception for all women, global maternal survival programs (such as midwife training) OR ending culturally-accepted violence against women. (300-600 words).

2.Discuss how you personally hope to play a role in improving the rights and health of women worldwide, and how visiting UNFPA programs firsthand would make you a better advocate than you currently are. (250-500 words).

I took that info off their website. Anyway check them out its a great organization.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nicholas Kristof Columns

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have just released the book Half The Sky which is about international women's health, women in development and gender equality. If you are interested in these issues you should definitely check it out, I would like to post a blog post about the book once I finish it.

For now I am going to post a link to Nicholas Kristof's New York Times column which is offers a weekly story relating to global health and particularly women's issues.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

HIV/AIDS #1 Killer of Women Worldwide

Crossposted at Amplify.

According to the Boston News, the World Health Organization (WHO) released some startling news on women and HIV/AIDS as World AIDS Day approaches on December 1, 2009:
GENEVA - In its first study of women’s health, the World Health Organization said yesterday that the AIDS virus is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44.

I find this news to be both unsettling and surprising because although I had recognized the feminization of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, I had never expected it to become the number one cause of death, globally. For us advocates out there I take this as yet another sign that we really need to step up our game in terms of addressing this problem in cohesive, well-planned interventions that are gender mainstreamed. If we approach the HIV from this perspective we could hopefully also understand some of the underlying gender inequities that are fueling this epidemic in women.

The article lists the main reasons for these infections are unprotected sex which many women globally can not negotiate using protection or even consent to the act in the first place. When women are so devalued in society where they do not have control over decisions regarding their own bodies it is no surprise that HIV/AIDS rates are on the rise. (And yes that includes US in the United States- are we not in the process of drafting healthcare reform that bans a woman's access to abortion services???) .

Perhaps my favorite part about this announcement by the WHO is how they managed to draw a clear connection between this pandemic and gender inequality that leads to lack of access for women to contraception, sexual health education and general finanacial independence and empowerment:

“Women who do not know how to protect themselves from such infections or who are unable to do so face increased risks of death or illness,’’ WHO said in a 91-page report. “So do those who cannot protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy or control their fertility because of lack of access to contraception.’’

The data were included in a report on the unequal health treatment faced by girls and women.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO chief, said women enjoy a biological advantage because they tend to live six to eight years longer than men. But in many parts of the world, they suffer serious disadvantages because of poverty, poorer access to health care, and cultural norms that put a priority on the well-being of men, she said.

I think this was a well-thought out release by the World Health Organization but at the same time I am also hoping that this disturbing news will push along the development of microbicides that are a more woman-controlled HIV protection method.

The bottom line here in my opinion is that although it is quite unfortunate that the world has set back and allowed HIV to have such a firm grasp on so many women around the world we would hope that it has also taught us the importance and downstream effects of gender inequality. Some brush off gender inequality and feminism as things of the past but I think think they are definitely still with us and serve a crucial function. Gender inequity is not just what is keeping women from meeting their potential but it also effects those who rely on these women for their services, labor and time such as husbands, children and governments.

I beileve that Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn were right in their book, Half the Sky, if we can not prioritize women we are not going to get to the level of development and health improvements that we are seeking. Women are half of societies and they needed to be treated as equals if real progress in society is to be made.


Engeye Health Clinic


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