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Population Briefs

Estimating the Size of Key Populations in Nairobi, Kenya

Estimating the Size of Key Populations in Nairobi, Kenya
Photo credit: Ivan Mateev

A team of researchers, including three from the Population Council, have developed estimates of the sizes of three key populations at risk for HIV infection in Nairobi, Kenya: men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and people who inject drugs. These estimates are among the first solid data on the size of these populations in Nairobi, providing practitioners with evidence to inform the development of programs that meet the needs of these vulnerable groups.

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Population Briefs

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use
Photo credit: Population Council

In the developing world, 222 million women would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraception. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the development community committed to reducing this unmet need for modern contraception by reaching 120 million women and girls from 69 of the world’s poorest countries with voluntary access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020, an agreement known as FP2020. In a recent study, Population Council researchers recommend a promising strategy for reducing unmet need for modern contraception. Rather than focusing solely on reaching women who have never used contraception, the researchers suggested providing better information and services to support women who already use contraceptives, and making it easier for those who previously used contraception to resume use.

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Population Briefs

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
Photo credit: Population Council

For the first several months after childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding is generally an effective method for delaying a subsequent pregnancy. Many postpartum women, however, do not or are not able to breastfeed exclusively. Once a woman begins supplementing her infant’s diet, stops breastfeeding, or resumes menstruation, she should use a family planning method if she wishes to space or limit childbearing.

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Population Briefs

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa
Photo credit: Population Council

A novel study conducted by the Population Council and partners in South Africa has shown that teenage girls restrict their own movement in public areas substantially more than same-age boys, younger girls, and younger boys. None of the girls of any age rated any place in their community as more than "somewhat safe." The study, which employed "participatory mapping" among boys and girls in both rural and urban areas, suggests that self-restriction of movement among girls at puberty may result from an increased perception of their risk of experiencing violence or harassment in the community.

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Population Briefs

Menstruation Accounts for Only a Small Proportion of Girls’ Absenteeism in Malawi, Study Suggests

Menstruation Accounts for Only a Small Proportion of Girls’ Absenteeism in Malawi, Study Suggests

In many countries of the developing world, and especially in rural areas, girls who attend school do so for only a few years, often dropping out when they are in their early teenage years.

The reasons for school dropout vary. Education for girls is not considered important or is actively opposed in some societies. Often girls are expected to marry at an early age; few stay in school afterward, especially if they have children. Economic factors can be just as important because families sometimes cannot afford school fees for any or all of their children. When decisions must be made among siblings in regards to education, boys nearly always are given priority.

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Population Briefs

Increasing Girls’ Protective Assets in Rural Upper Egypt

Increasing Girls’ Protective Assets in Rural Upper Egypt

The vulnerability of adolescent girls in developing countries is recognized and well-documented. In few places, however, do they face as many deep-seated and complicated challenges as Egypt.

The country has made significant strides, in school enrollment, health, and economic development. Yet women and girls continue to face many challenges. Some 90 percent of Egyptian women have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), often as teenagers. Girls are far more likely than boys to have never enrolled or to have dropped out of school after only a few years. And girls, particularly out-of-school girls, are more likely than boys to have limited mobility, which leads to social isolation, fewer friends, and fewer opportunities to fully participate in public spaces and play a meaningful role in society. Indicators like these underscore the need for new and innovative approaches to empowering girls.

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Population Briefs

Improving Adherence in Microbicide Clinical Trials: Lessons Learned and Recommendations

Improving Adherence in Microbicide Clinical Trials: Lessons Learned and Recommendations

Microbicides are biomedical products being developed to protect people against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Some microbicides are being designed as vaginal products for women, and others would be rectal products for either men or women. Several candidate microbicides have been developed and tested over the past two decades. Yet the results of clinical trials have been largely disappointing. Just one trial provided evidence that a vaginal microbicide could protect against sexual transmission of HIV. The results of a confirmatory trial are underway. Should it provide confirmation, several years would still be needed before a product is available in sufficient quantities.

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Population Briefs

Family Planning Road Map Points Way to Equitable Access

More than 200 million women in the developing world who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method. The reasons include perceived or actual side effects, lack of availability and information, cost, and socio-cultural obstacles.

Participants at the London Summit on Family Planning, held in July 2012, set a goal to respond to this unmet need for contraception. They launched an initiative to reach an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020 with voluntary access to high-quality family planning. Commitments totaling US$2.6 billion have been made by national governments, civil society, and the private sector as part of the initiative, known as Family Planning 2020 (FP2020).

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Population Briefs

Study Highlights Data Needed to Reduce Child Marriage

Study Highlights Data Needed to Reduce Child Marriage

Few investigations have explored the diversity of married girls’ experiences depending on how old they were when they got married. A new study by the Population Council’s Ethiopia country director, Annabel Erulkar, highlights the unique vulnerability of Ethiopia’s youngest married girls and calls for specific programs to delay marriage among those under age 15—a population of young girls often missed by current programs aimed at curbing child marriage.

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Population Briefs

Lessons from a Decade of MSM Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lessons from a Decade of MSM Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

It has been just over a decade since the first large behavioral survey of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa was conducted by the Population Council in Senegal. To uncover what has been learned since then and to explore future directions for research and programs for MSM, Scott Geibel, Nicholas Muraguri, and Marleen Temmerman—all experts at organizations at the forefront of addressing these issues—reviewed the existing research and offered guidelines for the next decade of research and policy.

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