International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1944-0391 / 1944-0405
Published by: Guttmacher Institute (10.1363)
Total articles ≅ 344
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, May Sudhinaraset, Katie Giessler, Kendall Dunlop-Korsness, Allison Stone
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 1-12;

A growing body of evidence indicates that nonclinical health care facility staff provide support beyond their traditional roles, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It is important to examine the role of health facility cleaners in Kenya-from their perspective-to better understand their actual and perceived responsibilities in maternity care. In-depth, face-to-face interviews using a semistructured guide were conducted with 14 cleaners working at three public health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, Kenya, in August and September 2016. Results were coded and categorized using a thematic content analysis approach. Cleaners reported performing a range of services beyond typical maintenance responsibilities, including providing emotional, informational and instrumental support to maternity patients. They described feeling disrespected when patients were untidy or experienced bleeding; however, such examples revealed cleaners' need to better understand labor and childbirth processes. Cleaners also indicated a desire for training on interpersonal skills to improve their interactions with patients. Cleaners' direct involvement in maternity patients' care is an alarming symptom of overburdened health facilities, insufficient staffing and inadequate training. This key yet overlooked cadre of health care staff deserves appropriate support and further research to understand and alleviate health system shortcomings, and to improve the quality of maternity health care provision.
, Ann M Moore, Abdallah Chilungo, Sara Yeatman
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 61-72;

Perceived infertility-an individual's belief that she or he is unable to conceive or impregnate a partner-may lead to contraceptive nonuse and unintended pregnancy, among other concerns, but has not been widely studied in low-income settings. A measure of perceived infertility previously used in the United States was included in a 2015 survey of young adults in Balaka, Malawi. The prevalence of potential perceived infertility (i.e., believing it is a little or substantially likely that one is infertile, or would have difficulty getting pregnant or impregnating a partner; PPI) was estimated among the analytic sample of 1,064 women and 527 men aged 21-29. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with PPI; respondents' reasons for PPI and their estimates of the probability of pregnancy after unprotected sex were also investigated. The prevalence of PPI was 8% overall, and 20% among nulliparous women. Factors associated with PPI and reasons for PPI varied by gender. For women, PPI was significantly associated with age, education, an interaction term between age and education, number of sexual partners, feelings if she were to become pregnant next month, parity and contraceptive use. For men, PPI was associated with an interaction term between age and education, number of sex partners and marital status. Respondents tended to overestimate the probability of pregnancy after unprotected sex. Perceived infertility was lower in Malawi than in the United States, although substantial among certain subgroups. Educational interventions aimed at increasing knowledge about pregnancy probabilities and the return of fertility after contraceptive discontinuation may reduce concerns around perceived infertility.
, Julia Rohr, Kristy Hackett, Iqbal Shah,
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 21-33;

CONTEXT: Many community-based reproductive health programs use their program data to monitor progress toward goals. However, using such data to assess programmatic impact on outcomes such as contraceptive use poses methodological challenges. Inverse probability weighting (IPW) may help overcome these issues. METHODS: Data on 33,162 women collected in 2013–2015 as part of a large-scale community-based reproductive health initiative were used to produce population-level estimates of the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) and modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) among married women aged 15–49 in Pakistan's Korangi District. To account for the nonrandom inclusion of women in the sample, estimates of contraceptive prevalence during the study's four seven-month intervention periods were made using IPW; these estimates were compared with estimates made using complete case analysis (CCA) and the last observation carried forward (LOCF) method—two approaches for which modeling assumptions are less flexible. RESULTS: In accordance with intervention protocols, the likelihood that women were visited by intervention personnel and thus included in the sample differed according to their past and current contraceptive use. Estimates made using IPW suggest that the CPR increased from 51% to 64%, and the mCPR increased from 34% to 53%, during the study. For both outcomes, IPW estimates were higher than CCA estimates, were generally similar to LOCF estimates and yielded the widest confidence intervals. CONCLUSION: IPW offers a powerful methodology for overcoming estimation challenges when using program data that are not representative of the population in settings where cost impedes collection of outcome data for an appropriate control group.
, Katherine Mayall, Susheela Singh
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 53-65;

Evidence shows that laws that restrict abortion do not eliminate its practice, but instead result in women having clandestine abortions, which are likely to be unsafe. It is important to periodically assess changes in the legal status of abortion around the world. The criteria for legal abortion as of 2019 for 199 countries and territories were used to distribute them along a continuum of six mutually exclusive categories, from prohibited to permitted without restriction as to reason. The three most common additional legal grounds that fall outside of this continuum-rape, incest and fetal anomaly-were also quantified. Patterns by region and per capita gross national income were examined. Changes resulting from law reform and judicial decisions since 2008 were assessed, as were changes in policies and guidelines that affect access. Legality correlated positively with income: The proportions of countries in the two most-liberal categories rose uniformly with gross national income. From 2008 to 2019,27 countries expanded the number of legal grounds for abortion; of those, 21 advanced to another legality category, and six added at least one of the most common additional legal grounds. Reform resulted from a range of strategies, generally involving multiple stakeholders and calls for compliance with international human rights norms. The global trend toward liberalization continued over the past decade; however, even greater progress is needed to guarantee all women's right to legal abortion and to ensure adequate access to safe services in all countries.
, Sarah Lewinger
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 77-81;

Induced abortion is common: In 2017, an estimated 56% of all unintended pregnancies worldwide ended in abortion. Despite the frequency with which women terminate pregnancies, however, 135 countries impose restrictions on induced abortion beyond gestational age limits, which lead some women to seek unsafe abortion. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating an unwanted pregnancy carried out by individuals who lack the requisite training and skills, in a setting that does not meet minimum medical standards, or both. An estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur annually-nearly all (97%) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where abortion is more likely to be heavily restricted. Unsafe abortion results in 22,800-31,000 maternal deaths each year. Furthermore, in developing regions, nearly seven of every 1,000 women are treated in a health facility for abortion complications. The legalization and derestriction of abortion are necessary steps in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion, but there are additional obstacles to services that must also be addressed.
, Wendy R Sheldon, Danielle Lopez-Green, Gonzalez H., Bárbara Hernández Castillo, Marián Gulías Ogando, Nirdesh Tuladhar, Jennifer Blum
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 67-75;

Telemedicine clients wishing to confirm a successful medication abortion outside of a clinic setting are commonly instructed to use high-sensitivity urine pregnancy tests, which can take up to four weeks to yield accurate results. Multilevel urine pregnancy tests (MLPTs), which provide accurate results in one week, are a promising alternative, but their use has not been evaluated within telemedicine services. From November 2017 to May 2018, 165 eligible and consenting pregnant people who contacted safe2choose-an organization providing telemedicine abortion services internationally-for medication abortion were enrolled in a pilot study and mailed a package containing medication abortion drugs, two MLPTs and instructions. Data on 118 participants who completed a web-based evaluation survey two weeks after the package was sent were analyzed to examine participant experiences and satisfaction with the service. Responding participants were from 11 countries, including Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore. Ninety-three percent used both MLPTs, and 91% of those who used both tests used them at the correct time intervals. Among the 95% of participants whose MLPT results indicated that their pregnancy hormone levels decreased from before to after medication abortion, 86% correctly interpreted the results to mean that they were no longer pregnant. Satisfaction was high, with all indicating that the supplied information was helpful; more than nine out of 10 noted that they would want to use the MLPTs again. Incorporating MLPTs into telemedicine abortion services is feasible and associated with high client satisfaction. Enabling people to manage their own abortion follow-up care could greatly improve their overall abortion experience.
, Manas R Pradhan, Sunita Patel
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 223-234;

Hygienic use of absorbent products during menstruation is a challenge for young women in India, especially among the underprivileged, who lack knowledge and access to resources. Reuse of menstrual absorbents can be unhygienic and result in adverse health and other outcomes. Data from the 2015-2016 National Family Health Survey-4 for 233,606 menstruating women aged 15-24 were used to examine levels and correlates of exclusive use of disposable absorbents during menstruation. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify disparities in exclusive use by such characteristics as caste, mass media exposure and interaction with health workers. Exclusive use of disposable absorbents was low among young women overall (37%), and varied substantially by caste and other characteristics. Compared with women from general castes, those from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes had reduced odds of exclusive disposable absorbent use (odds ratios, 0.8-0.9). Disposable absorbent use was negatively associated with lower levels of education and household wealth, and rural residence. Compared with women who reported daily media exposure, those exposed less frequently had reduced odds of disposable absorbent use (0.7-0.9). Among those who recently met with a health worker, odds of use were lower if menstrual hygiene had not been discussed (0.9). Promoting awareness of proper menstrual hygiene-through education, media campaigns and discussion with reproductive health workers-and targeted interventions to disseminate and subsidize the purchase of disposable sanitary napkins should be pursued to address health disparities.
, Siân L Curtis, Rebecca L Callahan, Elizabeth Tolley, Ilene S Speizer, Sandra L Martin, Aurélie Brunie
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 46, pp 247-262;

Women's concerns about contraceptive-induced menstrual changes can lead to method discontinuation and nonuse, contributing to unmet need for contraception. Research on women's perceptions of amenorrhea related to longer acting methods and in low-income countries is limited. Data were from nationally representative household surveys and focus group discussions with women of reproductive age conducted in Burkina Faso and Uganda in 2016-2017. Bivariate cross-tabulations and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to examine sociodemographic and reproductive characteristics associated with women's attitudes about contraceptive-induced amenorrhea (n=2,673 for Burkina Faso and 2,281 for Uganda); menstrual health determinants were also examined for Burkina Faso. Qualitative data from focus group discussions were analyzed to understand reasons behind women's attitudes and how they influence contraceptive decision making. Sixty-five percent of women in Burkina Faso and 40% in Uganda reported they would choose a method that caused amenorrhea during use. In Burkina Faso, the predicted probability of accepting amenorrhea was higher for women aged 15-19 (compared with older women), living in rural areas, married and cohabiting (compared with never married), currently using a contraceptive method (compared with never users) and from Mossi households (compared with Gourmantché); menstrual health practices were not associated with amenorrhea acceptability. In Uganda, the least wealthy women had the highest predicted probability of accepting amenorrhea (51%). Qualitative analysis revealed a variety of reasons for women's attitudes about amenorrhea and differences by country, but the relationship between these attitudes and contraceptive decision making was similar across countries. Addressing misconceptions about contraception and menstruation may result in more informed method decision making.
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