Publications

Background: High maternal mortality and morbidity persist, in large part due to inadequate access to timely and quality health care. Attitudes and behaviours of maternal health care providers (MHCPs) influence health care seeking and quality of care.

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Background: Health policies are important instruments for improving population health. However, experience suggests that policies designed for the whole population do not always benefit the most vulnerable. Participation of vulnerable groups in the policy-making process provides an opportunity for them to influence decisions related to their health, and also to exercise their rights. This paper presents the findings from a study that explored how vulnerable groups and principles of human rights are incorporated into national sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policies of 4 selected countries (Spain, Scotland, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine). It also aimed at discussing the involvement of vulnerable groups in SRH policy development from the perspective of policymakers.

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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has been reimbursed in Belgium since 2007 for girls (12-15 years), extended to girls up to 18 years in 2008.

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Background: Health service fees constitute substantial barriers for women seeking childbirth and postnatal care. In an effort to reduce health inequities, the government of Kenya in 2006 introduced the output-based approach (OBA), or voucher programme, to increase poor women's access to quality Safe Motherhood services including postnatal care. To help improve service quality, OBA programmes purchase services on behalf of the poor and marginalised, with provider reimbursements for verified services. Kenya's programme accredited health facilities in three districts as well as in two informal Nairobi settlements.

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Background: health professionals in Belgium are confronted with female genital mutilation (FGM). To date, no survey to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices on FGM was conducted among midwives in the Northern region of Belgium.

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Background: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) markedly reduces HIV transmission, and testing and treatment programs have been advocated as a method for decreasing transmission at the population level. Little is known, however, about the extent to which sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which increase the HIV infectiousness of untreated individuals, may decrease the effectiveness of treatment as prevention.

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Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are common in some South African populations, notably those of mixed ancestry descent in rural areas and small towns. Little is known about FAS/FASD prevalence in the majority of South Africans: city dwellers of Black African ethnicity. This study describes the prevalence of FAS in a South African city, comparing 2 suburbs with predominantly mixed ancestry (Roodepan) and Black African (Galeshewe) populations that house over 60\% of the city population.

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Background: Cancer of the uterine cervix is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in Sub-Saharan Africa, but information from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is scarce. The study objectives were to: 1/ assess prevalence of (pre)cancerous cervical lesions in adult women in Kinshasa, 2/ identify associated socio-demographic and behavioural factors and 3/ describe human papillomavirus (HPV) types in cervical lesions.

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Background: Postpartum maternal and infant mortality is high in sub-Saharan Africa and improving postpartum care as a strategy to enhance maternal and infant health has been neglected. We describe the design and selection of suitable, context-specific interventions that have the potential to improve postpartum care.

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Background: The QUALMAT project has successfully implemented an electronic clinical decision support system (eCDSS) for antenatal and intrapartum care in two sub-Saharan African countries. The system was introduced to facilitate adherence to clinical practice guidelines and to support decision making during client encounter to bridge the know-do gap of health workers

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