News & Views

Population Briefs

Developing a Highly Acceptable Contraceptive Vaginal Ring

New research finds the Population Council’s one-year contraceptive vaginal ring is highly acceptable to women. Researchers developed and tested a framework for assessing women’s satisfaction with contraceptive vaginal rings. In addition to assessing the acceptance of the Council’s ring, the study showed the framework to be an accurate method for assessing women’s satisfaction with contraceptive vaginal rings in general. 

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Population Briefs

Reducing Adolescent Girls’ Vulnerability to Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Reducing Adolescent Girls’ Vulnerability to Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

A recent Population Council study in Uganda has demonstrated that addressing girls’ financial needs—such as giving them access to savings accounts—without simultaneously addressing their social and health needs could increase their chances of experiencing sexual harassment.

Adolescent girls living in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to many core community resources, including banks, health clinics, and safe places to meet with friends. They also face high rates of gender-based violence, are at greater risk for unsafe sex that can lead to unwanted pregnancies and HIV infection, and have limited economic resources and income-generating opportunities. Evidence suggests that equipping the most marginalized girls and young women with basic assets—skills, knowledge, and resources—will help them become productive, safe, and successful adults. 

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Cheikh Mbacké Named 2015 Laureate of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population

The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) has named Population Council trustee Cheikh Mbacké 2015 Laureate, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of population sciences and distinguished service rendered to the IUSSP.

The Laureate Ceremony will take place at the upcoming annual meeting of the Population Association of America, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Wednesday, 29 April 2015, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm in Sapphire 411.

Mbacké is honored in particular for his contributions to research in the area of population and health policies and his support of the emergence of a community of African population researchers. While at the Rockefeller Foundation in Nairobi, Mbacké encouraged the development of the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), which was established by the Population Council in 1995 with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. One of the most dynamic population research institutes in Africa and the winner of the 2015 United Nations Population Award, the APHRC continues to offer training to new generations of population researchers.

Council Commentary

Population Council Mourns the Loss of Family Planning Champion Valerie DeFillipo

Over a career that spanned decades, Valerie was a true leader and champion for women’s and girls’ reproductive health and rights. As founding executive director of Family Planning 2020 and throughout her career, she worked to ensure that the initiative has flourished and grown into a dynamic global movement. The Population Council extends its condolences to Valerie’s family, friends, and colleagues. She will be greatly missed.

“Valerie’s energy, style, and willingness to engage made all the difference in many people’s lives, particularly those who found themselves most vulnerable and forgotten,” said John Townsend, vice president and director of the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. “She will be remembered and celebrated.”   

More from FP2020: Family Planning 2020 Saddened by the Loss of Founding Executive Director Valerie DeFillipo  

From Our Partners

If Young Girls Had Access to Small Savings Accounts Would They Be More Likely to Stay in School?

This post is part of a blog series on evidence generated through the Population Council’s RISING program. RISING uses implementation science, evidence review, and organizational grants to build knowledge about what works in adolescent girls programming. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Population Council. Please direct any questions to Shelley Clark.

It’s been encouraging over the past generation to see a new emphasis on education, and particularly girls’ education, as a priority in development programs. But even with ambitious initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals, this emphasis is mostly on primary education. Real progress in girls’ primary education hasn’t been matched by progress at higher levels. In Ghana, for example, while nearly all girls now complete primary school, only 20 percent earn their diplomas from secondary school.

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Council Commentary

Multipurpose Prevention Technologies: The Future of HIV and STI Protection

Every day, more than 1 million people are newly infected with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can lead to morbidity, mortality, and an increased risk of HIV acquisition. Strategies including behavior change, condom promotion, and therapy have not reduced STIs worldwide, pointing to the need for novel approaches that prevent both HIV and STIs.

In a new paper published in Trends in Microbiology, the Population Council and partners explore the role of key STIs in increasing susceptibility to HIV; new biomedical prevention approaches including topical microbicides and multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs); and the scientific and regulatory hurdles that must be overcome to make combination HIV/STI prevention a reality.

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Council Commentary

New DHS Reports from Kenya and Zambia Point to Improving Maternal and Child Health

The most recent Demographic and Health Surveys from Kenya and Zambia show progress in health indicators—particularly in the areas of maternal and child health—and also suggest where more work is needed to ensure people can achieve their full potential.

In Kenya, more and more women are giving birth in health facilities (40% in 2003, 43% in 2008-09, 61% in 2014), and the percentage of women getting postnatal care in the first two days after birth has increased substantially (10% in 2003, 42% in 2008-09, 51% in 2014). In both Kenya and Zambia, increasing numbers of women are using contraception (Kenya: 39% in 2003, 46% in 2008-09, 58% in 2014; Zambia: 34% in 2001-02, 41% in 2007, 49% in 2013-14), indicating the prioritization of women’s health in these countries.

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Press Releases

Global Leaders Gather in Lusaka to Discuss Progress and Challenges in Reproductive Health, HIV, and Gender-based Violence

Global Leaders Gather in Lusaka to Discuss Progress and Challenges in Reproductive Health, HIV, and Gender-based Violence

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA (9 April 2015) — National and global health leaders gathered in Lusaka for Ideas with Impact: Working in Partnership to Save Lives in Zambia, a Population Council symposium on the latest efforts to improve lives and protect health for women, men, and adolescents.

The symposium brought together more than 100 government officials, researchers, policymakers, development partners, community members, and civil society from all provinces in Zambia for a full day of information-sharing and debate on the latest scientific progress in addressing the country’s complex socioeconomic challenges, including high rates of HIV, limited access to maternal and reproductive health resources, and gender-based violence.

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