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Dispatches from CPD 2012: Tracking the Opposition’s Attacks on Youth Rights

12:47 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Anonymous for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

To see all our coverage of the 2012 Commission on Population and Development, click here.

Photo by David Dennis.

This week, the United Nations (UN) is host to the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development. This annual meeting builds on a resolution made in Cairo back in 1994 that outlines how country governments can ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights needs of their people, and of women and young people in particular. Each year, the Commission assesses countries’ progress on this agreement and new commitments are made to prioritize efforts for the forthcoming year. This year, for the first time, it’s focused exclusively on the needs of young people and we are here at the UN, en force.

As a young sexual and reproductive health activist, I believe in the importance of a rights-based approach to all aspects of sexuality, realized through the provision of basic health services like comprehensive sexuality education and safe abortion. It is not my opinion that we should force these, or any other, services on young people, but rather that we should have the ability to access them if we want to.

Clearly, not everyone believes this. Over the past few years, as the global economic recession and a neoconservative shift has swept the globe, there are more and more organisations that exist to oppose the values and missions of rights-based organisations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which I’m here representing. Many of these opposition efforts are religiously-motivated. Their ‘anti-sexual and reproductive health and rights’ discourse is forever present in the media and continued debate occurs over these controversial issues.

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Keeping Health Systems Accountable: A Critical Component of the Every Woman, Every Child Campaign

10:50 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Agnes Odhiambo for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Abeba M., an Ethiopian refugee living in Port Elizabeth, a small coastal town of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, developed severe high blood pressure during her pregnancy. She went to a district hospital for treatment of this dangerous condition, but left because “the nurses and doctors did not treat me well,” she told me. She had to return when her condition worsened, though, and was admitted. Instead of getting the help she needed, she experienced treatment delays, abuse, and negligence.

A vital scan to check if her baby was alright, a precondition for further treatment, was delayed for 10 days because “the doctor kept saying he had forgotten.” When she complained about severe pain one night, a nurse who Abeba said “was playing a gospel song on her cell phone and dancing” retorted: “I know, and what do you want me to do?” She did not help Abeba and instead “continued whistling and dancing.” Abeba was ordered to clean up her “mess” when she bled on the floor.

Abeba’s daughter was born prematurely in an emergency caesarean section. Although she was able to take her baby home two weeks later, her wound from the surgery became septic and did not heal for three months. ””It was the worst time of my life,” She told me about her treatment at the hospital.

Sadly, Abeba’s case is not uncommon in South Africa. She was one of the 157 largely poor, rural and refugee women I interviewed between November 2010 and April 2011 in Eastern Cape about their experiences with maternity care in government facilities. Women and other witnesses described chilling scenes of humiliation, neglect, and verbal and physical abuse by health workers. Read the rest of this entry →