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  1. 1

    Developing mHealth Messages to Promote Postmenstrual Regulation Contraceptive Use in Bangladesh: Participatory Interview Study.

    Eckersberger E; Pearson E; Andersen K; Hossain A; Footman K; Biswas KK; Nuremowla S; Reiss K

    JMIR MHealth and UHealth. 2017 Dec 14; 5(12):e174.

    BACKGROUND: Abortions are restricted in Bangladesh, but menstrual regulation is an approved alternative, defined as a procedure of regulating the menstrual cycle when menstruation is absent for a short duration. Use of contraception after menstrual regulation can reduce subsequent unintended pregnancy, but in Bangladesh, the contraceptive method mix is dominated by short-term methods, which have higher discontinuation and failure rates. Mobile phones are a channel via which menstrual regulation clients could be offered contraceptive support after leaving the clinic. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to support the development of a mobile phone intervention to support postmenstrual regulation family planning use in Bangladesh. It explored what family planning information women want to receive after having a menstrual regulation procedure, whether they would like to receive this information via their mobile phone, and if so, what their preferences are for the way in which it is delivered. METHODS: We conducted participatory interviews with 24 menstrual regulation clients in Dhaka and Sylhet divisions in Bangladesh. Women were recruited from facilities in urban and peri-urban areas, which included public sector clinics supported by Ipas, an international nongovernmental organization (NGO), and NGO clinics run by Marie Stopes. Main themes covered in the interviews were factors affecting the use of contraception, what information and support women want after their menstrual regulation procedure, how respondents would prefer to receive information about contraception, and other key issues for mobile health (mHealth) interventions, such as language and privacy. As part of the in-depth interviews, women were shown and played 6 different messages about contraception on the research assistant's phone, which they were given to operate, and were then asked to give feedback. RESULTS: Women were open to both receiving messages about family planning methods on their mobile phones and talking to a counselor about family planning methods over the phone after their menstrual regulation. Women most commonly wanted information about the contraceptive method they were currently using and wanted this information to be tailored to their particular needs. Women preferred voice messages to text and liked the interactive voice message format. When asked to repeat and identify the main points of the messages, women demonstrated good understanding of the content. Women did not seem too concerned with privacy or with others reading the messages and welcomed including their husbands in speaking to a counselor. CONCLUSIONS: This study found that menstrual regulation clients are very interested in receiving information on their phones to support family planning use and wanted more information about the method of contraception they were using. Participatory voicemail was the preferred modality.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Consistent condom use and its correlates among female sex workers at hair salons: a cross-sectional study in Zhejiang province, China.

    Ma Q; Jiang J; Pan X; Cai G; Wang H; Zhou X; Jiang T; Chen L

    BMC Public Health. 2017 Nov 28; 17(1):910.

    BACKGROUND: This study investigated condom use among female sex workers (FSWs) at hair salons during commercial sexual interactions over 1 month. We explored the associations of such use with various sexual behaviours, HIV/STI risk perception and related knowledge, self-efficacy regarding condom use, exposure to behavioural interventions, and other factors. This type of information has not been reported in China and is critical for designing and modifying programs aimed at preventing HIV/STI transmission in this group of FSWs and their clients. METHODS: Our data were derived from a large cross-sectional study conducted among low-tier FSWs in 21 counties within Zhejiang province, China. Data were collected from September to November 2013.Bivariable and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with self-reported consistent condom use among FSWs working at hair salons. RESULTS: Of 1682 FSWs working at hair salons, 50.5% consistently used condom with clients during the previous month. Multivariable analysis revealed that condom use for commercial sex, consistent vaginal douching after commercial sex, adopting contraceptive measures, high scores on perceived self-efficacy regarding condom use, and exposure to interventions were associated with self-reported consistent condom use; early initiation of commercial sex, experiences with oral sex, rarely/sometimes/often using oral contraceptives, and having seen a doctor were associated with not using condoms. CONCLUSIONS: Commercial sex is not effectively protected, and behavioural interventions targeting FSWs should take into account the various factors that are correlated to condom use.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    Current controversies with oral emergency contraception: a review.

    Cameron ST; Li HWR; Gemzell-Danielsson K

    BJOG. 2017 Dec; 124(13):1948-1956.

    Emergency contraception (EC) is a method to be used in the case of unprotected sexual intercourse, failure of a regular contraceptive method, or after rape to try to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Oral EC remains surrounded by controversy, much due to myths and misconceptions amongst the public, policy makers and healthcare providers. This has resulted in restrictions on its availability in many parts of the world and restrictions on women's access to it. The aim of this article is to provide an evidence-based view on some of these common controversial issues surrounding oral EC in clinical practice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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  4. 4
    Peer Reviewed

    Abortion and fertility control in Pakistan: the role of misoprostol.

    Chahal H; Mumtaz Z

    Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. 2017 Oct; 43(4):274-280.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine how availability of misoprostol has impacted women's abortion-seeking behaviour in Pakistan. DESIGN: Focused ethnography. SETTING: A facility providing reproductive health services, including induced abortions in Chakwal, a small town in Northern Punjab, Pakistan. POPULATION: Women who came to the clinic seeking an abortion or who had had one in the last 6 months (n=23) and all healthcare providers working in the facility (n=14). METHODS: Semi-structured interviews (n=37), a focus group discussion (n=1) and participant observation (n=41). Latent content analysis was conducted drawing on principles of constant comparison to generate key themes in reported experiences. RESULTS: All the respondents had sought an abortion to limit their fertility. Although some reported contraceptive use, improper use, undesirable side effects and restrictions on use had led to the unwanted pregnancy. All the women specifically requested misoprostol within days of their pregnancy, suggesting that they not only had knowledge of misoprostol as a backup in case of contraceptive failure, but may have pre-planned its use of in place of using contraception. Women reconciled their decision to undergo an abortion by describing it as a mistake, miscarriage or menstrual cycle issue. CONCLUSIONS: Misoprostol's availability, ease of use and effectiveness have increased the role of abortion in fertility control. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
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  5. 5
    Peer Reviewed

    Integrating postabortion care, menstrual regulation and family planning services in Bangladesh: a pre-post evaluation.

    Biswas KK; Pearson E; Shahidullah SM; Sultana S; Chowdhury R; Andersen KL

    Reproductive Health. 2017 Mar 11; 14(1):37.

    BACKGROUND: In Bangladesh, abortion is restricted except to save the life of a woman, but menstrual regulation is allowed to induce menstruation and return to non-pregnancy after a missed period. MR services are typically provided through the Directorate General of Family Planning, while postabortion care services for incomplete abortion are provided by facilities under the Directorate General of Health Services. The bifurcated health system results in reduced quality of care, particularly for postabortion care patients whose procedures are often performed using sub-optimal uterine evacuation technology and typically do not receive postabortion contraceptive services. This study evaluated the success of a pilot project that aimed to integrate menstrual regulation, postabortion care and family planning services across six Directorate General of Health Services and Directorate General of Family Planning facilities by training providers on woman-centered abortion care and adding family planning services at sites offering postabortion care. METHODS: A pre-post evaluation was conducted in the six large intervention facilities. Structured client exit interviews were administered to all uterine evacuation clients presenting in the 2-week data collection period for each facility at baseline (n = 105; December 2011-January 2012) and endline (n = 107; February-March 2013). Primary outcomes included service integration indicators such as provision of menstrual regulation, postabortion care and family planning services in both facility types, and quality of care indicators such as provision of pain management, provider communication and women's satisfaction with the services received. Outcomes were compared between baseline and endline for Directorate General of Family Planning and Directorate General of Health Services facilities, and chi-square tests and t-tests were used to test for differences between baseline and endline. RESULTS: At the end of the project there was an increase in menstrual regulation service provision in Directorate General of Health Services facilities, from none at baseline to 44.1% of uterine evacuation services at endline (p < 0.001). The proportion of women accepting a postabortion contraceptive method increased from 14.3% at baseline to 69.2% at endline in Directorate General of Health Services facilities (p = 0.006). Provider communication and women's rating of the care they received increased significantly in both Directorate General of Health Services and Directorate General of Family Planning facilities. CONCLUSIONS: Integration of menstrual regulation, postabortion care and family planning services is feasible in Bangladesh over a relatively short period of time. The intervention's focus on woman-centered abortion care also improved quality of care. This model can be scaled up through the public health system to ensure women's access to safe uterine evacuation services across all facility types in Bangladesh.
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  6. 6
    Peer Reviewed

    Intravaginal practices among HIV-negative female sex workers along the US-Mexico border and their implications for emerging HIV prevention interventions.

    Seidman D; Rusch M; Abramovitz D; Stockman JK; Martinez G; Rangel G; Vera A; Ulibarri MD; Strathdee SA

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2016 May; 133(2):212-6.

    OBJECTIVE: To describe intravaginal practices (IVPs) among female sex workers (FSWs) who inject drugs in two cities-Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez-on the border between the USA and Mexico. METHODS: Data for a secondary analysis were obtained from interviews conducted as part of a randomized controlled trial in FSWs who injected drugs between October 28, 2008, and May 31, 2010. Eligible individuals were aged at least 18years and reported sharing injection equipment and having unprotected sex with clients in the previous month. Descriptive statistics were used to assess frequency and type of IVPs. Logistic regression was used to assess correlates of IVPs. RESULTS: Among 529 FSWs who completed both surveys, 229 (43.3%) had performed IVPs in the previous 6months. Factors independently associated with IVPs were reporting any sexually transmitted infection in the previous 6months (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-3.1; P=0.03), three or more pregnancies (aOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.2; P=0.02), and having clients who became violent when proposing condom use (aOR 5.8, 95% CI 1.0-34.3; P=0.05), which are all factors related to inconsistent condom use. CONCLUSION: Screening for IVPs could help to identify FSW at increased risk of HIV, and facilitate conversations about specific risk-reduction methods. Copyright (c) 2016 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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  7. 7
    Peer Reviewed

    Prevalence and correlates of Trichomonas vaginalis infection among female sex workers in a city in Yunnan Province, China.

    Luo L; Reilly KH; Xu JJ; Wang GX; Ding GW; Wang N; Wang HB

    International Journal of STD and AIDS. 2016 May; 27(6):469-75.

    Sexual transmission is the fastest growing route of HIV transmission in China, and Trichomonas vaginalis(TV) can facilitate HIV transmission and acquisition. Our goal was to determine the prevalence and correlates of TV infection among female sex workers (FSWs). This cross-sectional study was conducted in a city of Yunnan Province in southern China, with confidential face-to-face interviews and laboratory tests for TV (wet mount) and other sexually transmitted infections. A total of 734 FSWs participated in the study. The prevalence of TV was 9.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.02-11.30). In multivariate analyses, adjusted odds ratios of TV infection were 3.0 (95% CI 1.47-6.01) for herpes simplex virus type 2 seropositive, 2.4 (95% CI 1.37-4.14) for Chlamydia trachomatis infection, 2.6 (95% CI 1.30-5.31) for genital ulcer, 1.9 (95% CI 1.11-3.30) for starting age in commercial sex <20 years, and 0.5 (95% CI 0.27-0.87) for vaginal douching. We found a relatively high prevalence of TV infection among FSWs in Yunnan Province. A range of control strategies that include TV screening are recommended among FSWs, which could contribute significantly to the disruption of transmission by the provision of immediate treatment. (c) The Author(s) 2016.
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  8. 8
    Peer Reviewed

    'How shall we survive': a qualitative study of women's experiences following denial of menstrual regulation (MR) services in Bangladesh.

    Hossain A; Moseson H; Raifman S; Gerdts C; Biswas KK; Foster DG

    Reproductive Health. 2016 Jul 22; 13(86):1-10.

    Background: About one quarter of women in Bangladesh are denied menstrual regulation (MR) due to advanced gestation [J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 41(3):161-163, 2015, Issues Brief (Alan Guttmacher Inst) (3):1-8, 2012]. Little is known about barriers to MR services, and whether women denied MR seek abortion elsewhere, self-induce, or continue the pregnancy. Methods: After obtaining authorization from four health facilities in Bangladesh, we recruited eligible and interested women in to the study and requested informed consent for study participation. We conducted in-depth interviews with 20 women denied MR from four facilities in four districts in Bangladesh. Interviews were translated and transcribed, and the transcripts were analyzed by two researchers through an iterative process using a qualitative content analysis approach. Results: Of those interviewed, 12 women sought abortion elsewhere and eight of these women were successful; four women who sought subsequent services were denied again. Two of the eight women who subsequently terminated their pregnancies suffered from complications. None of the participants were aware of the legal gestational limit for government-approved MR services. Given that all participants were initially denied services because they were beyond the legal gestational limit for MR and there were no reported risks to any of the mothers' health, we presume that the eight terminations performed subsequently were done illegally. Conclusions: Barriers to seeking safe MR services need to be addressed to reduce utilization of potentially unsafe alternative abortion services and to improve women's health and well being in Bangladesh. Findings from this study indicate a need to raise awareness about legal MR services; provide information to women on where, how and when they can access these services; train more MR providers; improve the quality and safety of second trimester services; and strengthen campaigns to educate women about contraception and pregnancy risk throughout the reproductive lifespan to prevent unintended pregnancies.
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  9. 9
    Peer Reviewed

    Systematic Review of the profile of emergency contraception users.

    Amengual ML; Canto ME; Berenguer IP; Pol MI

    Revista Latino - Americana De Enfermagem. 2016; 24:e2733.

    Abastract Objective: to discern the profile of the Spanish Emergency Contraceptive users (EC). DESIGN: systematic review of contraceptive use in the Spanish population. DATA SOURCE: Spanish and international databases, between January 2006 - March 2011. KEYWORDS: Contraceptives, Postcoital pills, emergency contraception, levonorgestrel, data collection. STUDY SELECTION: original papers, letters to the editor in which stated aims were the description, prediction or measurement of variables related to EC use. Twenty-two papers were retrieved and fourteen were finally selected, all of which were descriptive. DATA EXTRACTION: manuscripts were evaluated by two independent reviewers. RESULTS: Women requesting EC have ages between 21-24 years, mostly single and university students; declare that they have not previously used EC, and attend an Emergency department, at weekends and within 48 hours following unprotected sexual intercourse. The reason is condom rupture. None of the studies reviewed measured alcohol and other drug consumption, the number of sexual partners, nor any of the studies performed a comparison with a group not using EC. CONCLUSIONS: lack of homogeneity and comprehensiveness of studied variables resulted in a limited profile of Spanish EC users. Further studies are needed with a more comprehensive approach if sexual health interventions are to be carried out in possible users.
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  10. 10
    Peer Reviewed

    Moving towards the goals of FP2020 - classifying contraceptives.

    Festin MP; Kiarie J; Solo J; Spieler J; Malarcher S; Van Look PF; Temmerman M

    Contraception. 2016 Oct; 94(4):289-294.

    With the renewed focus on family planning, a clear and transparent understanding is needed for the consistent classification of contraceptives, especially in the commonly used modern/traditional system. The WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research (WHO/RHR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) therefore convened a technical consultation in January 2015 to address issues related to classifying contraceptives. The consultation defined modern contraceptive methods as having a sound basis in reproductive biology, a precise protocol for correct use, and evidence of efficacy under various conditions based on appropriately designed studies. Methods in country programmes like Fertility Awareness Based Methods, (FABMs) (such as Standard Days Method (SDM) and TwoDay Method), Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), and emergency contraception should be reported as modern. Herbs, charms, and vaginal douching are not counted as contraceptive methods as they have no scientific basis in preventing pregnancy nor are in country programmes. More research is needed on defining and measuring use of emergency contraceptive methods, to reflect their contribution to reducing unmet need. The ideal contraceptive classification system should be simple, easy to use, clear, and consistent, with greater parsimony. Measurement challenges remain, but should not be the driving force to determine what methods are counted or reported as modern or not. Family planning programmes should consider multiple attributes of contraceptive methods (e.g., level of effectiveness, need for programme support, duration of labelled use, hormonal or non-hormonal) to ensure they provide a variety of methods to meet the needs of women and men. Copyright (c) 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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  11. 11

    Comparison of efficacy of metformin and oral contraceptive combination of ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone in polycystic ovary syndrome.

    Suvarna Y; Maity N; Kalra P; Shivamurthy MC

    Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association. 2016; 17(1):6-9.

    OBJECTIVE: The 2013 Endocrine Society guidelines state that hormonal contraceptives should be used for treating both menstrual irregularity and hirsutism in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Metformin should be reserved for the treatment of women presenting with only menstrual irregularity because it has limited benefits in treating hyperandrogenism associated with PCOS. A high prevalence of insulin resistance is noted among the South Asians, and these guidelines may not hold good for this population. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate and compare the effects of metformin and an oral contraceptive containing drospirenone on menstrual pattern, body mass index, serum testosterone levels, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels at baseline to 6 months of therapy in the treatment groups. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a prospective observational study that was conducted over a year in patients visiting the Endocrinology outpatient department at a tertiary care center in a south Indian city. Forty-six subjects diagnosed with PCOS as per the Rotterdam criteria were included. They received either metformin twice daily or an oral contraceptive containing drospirenone once daily as a monthly regimen for 6 months. RESULTS: Metformin regularized menstrual cycles in 72% of patients who were followed up at 6 months. No significant difference was observed between the two treatment groups with respect to decreasing the body mass index, serum testosterone levels, and DHEAS levels (p=0.40, p=0.65, and p=0.22, respectively). CONCLUSION: Metformin is effective in regularizing menstrual cycles, decreasing body mass index, and treating hyperandrogenism in Indian women diagnosed with PCOS.
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  12. 12

    [Prick of conscience in the pharmaceutical profession] Vyhrada svedomi v profesi farmaceuta.

    Maceskova B; Hobzova M

    Ceska A Slovenska Farmacie. 2014 Aug; 63(4):174-7.

    The work of the pharmacist in a pharmacy requires from him not only to solve professional and economic issues, but often the ethical ones as well. For a patients good it is necessary to choose a morally correct decision, but the fulfilment of any patients wish according to his or her own ideas of good is not a law for the health worker. The paper describes the situations when the pharmacist when fulfilling the requirement of the patient (often in the form of a medical prescription) may feel prick of conscience. A questionnaire survey has revealed that prick of conscience confronts more often those who are being trained for the profession than those who already practise it. The right for prick of conscience is considered unfounded by some pharmacists with practical experience, whereas undergraduates view it as a possibility of expressing ones own attitude. The paper analyzes the issues which in both categories of respondents are considered to be prick of conscience: oral hormonal contraception, including postcoital contraception, and preparations produced from the cells of aborted embryos.
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  13. 13
    Peer Reviewed

    Women's experiences with medication for menstrual regulation in Bangladesh.

    Marlow HM; Biswas K; Griffin R; Menzel J

    Culture Health and Sexuality. 2016 Mar; 18(3):349-360.

    Menstrual regulation has been legal in Bangladesh since 1974, but the use of medication for menstrual regulation is new. In this study, we sought to understand women’s experiences using medication for menstrual regulation in Bangladesh. We conducted 20 in-depth interviews with rural and urban women between December 2013 and February 2014. All interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, translated, computer recorded and coded for analysis. The majority of women in our study had had positive experiences with medication for menstrual regulation and successful outcomes, regardless of whether they obtained their medication from medicine sellers/pharmacies, doctors or clinics. Women were strongly influenced by health providers when deciding which method to use. There is a need to educate not only women of reproductive age, but also communities as a whole, about medication for menstrual regulation, with a particular emphasis on cost and branding the medication. Continued efforts to improve counselling by providers about the dose, medication and side-effects of medication for menstrual regulation, along with education of the community about medication as an option for menstrual regulation, will help to de-stigmatise the procedure and the women who seek it.
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  14. 14
    Peer Reviewed

    Exploring the context in which different close-to-community sexual and reproductive health service providers operate in Bangladesh: a qualitative study.

    Mahmud I; Chowdhury S; Siddiqi BA; Theobald S; Ormel H; Biswas S; Jahangir YT; Sarker M; Rashid SF

    Human Resources for Health. 2015; 13:51.

    Background: A range of formal and informal close-to-community (CTC) health service providers operate in an increasingly urbanized Bangladesh. Informal CTC health service providers play a key role in Bangladesh’s pluralistic health system, yet the reasons for their popularity and their interactions with formal providers and the community are poorly understood. This paper aims to understand the factors shaping poor urban and rural women’s choice of service provider for their sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-related problems and the interrelationships between these providers and communities. Building this evidence base is important, as the number and range of CTC providers continue to expand in both urban slums and rural communities in Bangladesh. This has implications for policy and future programme interventions addressing the poor women’s SRH needs. Methods: Data was generated through 24 in-depth interviews with menstrual regulation clients, 12 focus group discussions with married men and women in communities and 24 semi-structured interviews with formal and informal CTC SRH service providers. Data was collected between July and September 2013 from three urban slums and one rural site in Dhaka and Sylhet, Bangladesh. Atlas.ti software was used to manage data analysis and coding, and a thematic analysis was undertaken. Results: Poor women living in urban slums and rural areas visit a diverse range of CTC providers for SRH-related problems. Key factors influencing their choice of provider include the following: availability, accessibility, expenses and perceived quality of care, the latter being shaped by notions of trust, respect and familiarity. Informal providers are usually the first point of contact even for those clients who subsequently access SRH services from formal providers. Despite existing informal interactions between both types of providers and a shared understanding that this can be beneficial for clients, there is no effective link or partnership between these providers for referral, coordination and communication regarding SRH services. Conclusion: Training informal CTC providers and developing strategies to enable better links and coordination between this community-embedded cadre and the formal health sector has the potential to reduce service cost and improve availability of quality SRH (and other) care at the community level. © 2015 Mahmud et al. Open Access.
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  15. 15
    Peer Reviewed

    Pregnancy termination in Matlab, Bangladesh: trends and correlates of use of safer and less-safe methods.

    DaVanzo J; Rahman M

    International Perspectives On Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2014 Sep; 40(3):119-26.

    CONTEXT: Menstrual regulation (MR), a relatively safe form of pregnancy termination, is legal in Bangladesh during the early stages of pregnancy. However, little is known about the factors associated with whether women who terminate pregnancies choose this method or a less-safe one. METHODS: Data from the Matlab Demographic Surveillance System on 122,691 pregnancies-5,221 (4.3%) of which were terminated-were used to examine trends between 1989 and 2008 in termination and in use of safer methods (MR or dilation and curettage) and less-safe (all other) methods of pregnancy termination. Logistic and multinomial logistic regressions were used to assess factors associated with whether women terminate pregnancies and whether they use safer methods. RESULTS: Sixty-seven percent of pregnancy terminations were by safer methods and 33% by less-safe means. The proportion of pregnancies that were terminated increased between 1989 and 2008; this increase was entirely due to increased use of safer methods. Women younger than 18 and those 25 or older were more likely than women aged 20-24 to terminate their pregnancies (odds ratios ranged from 1.5 among women aged 16-17 or 25-29 to 26.1 among those aged 45 or older). Among women who terminated their pregnancies, those aged 25-44 were more likely than those aged 20-24 to use a safer method. Compared with women who had no formal education, those with some education were more likely to terminate their pregnancies and to do so using safer methods. CONCLUSION: A growing proportion of pregnancies in Matlab are terminated, and these terminations are increasingly done using safer methods.
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  16. 16
    Peer Reviewed

    Douching practices among female sex workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    Bui TC; Tran LT; Ross MW; Markham CM

    International Journal of STD and AIDS. 2015 Mar; 26(4):238-42.

    Several studies indicate that douching has few benefits but numerous adverse health outcomes, including increased risk for sexually transmitted infections and HIV. No published study explores douching practices among Cambodian female sex workers. This report provides preliminary data about the prevalence and frequency of douching among female sex workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Survey data were obtained from 81 female sex workers who were taken into custody due to engagement in commercial sex from March to June 2011. Results showed that 91% of participants douched. The mean numbers of times douched before sex and after sex per 10 sex episodes were 4.43 (SD = 3.87) and 4.63 (SD = 3.94), respectively. Half of the participants thought that douching could help to prevent sexually transmitted infections including HIV; 24% were unsure about this. Usually, douching after sex was associated with ever obtaining an HIV test (p = .012) and was marginally associated (although not statistically significant) with a higher average number of clients per week (p =. 063) and consistent condom use with clients (p = .053). This suggests that these practices may be related to individual perceptions of sexually transmitted infections/HIV risk or susceptibility. Given the commonness of douching and related misperceptions among Cambodian female sex workers, future studies and interventions are needed to prevent adverse health problems.
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  17. 17

    Understanding unintended pregnancy in Bangladesh: country profile report.

    Huda FA; Chowdhuri S; Robertson Y; Islam N; Sarker BK; Azmi AJ; Reichenbach L

    Dhaka, Bangladesh, icddr,b, 2013. [76] p. (STEP UP Research Report)

    The objective of this report is to identify the determinants of unintended pregnancy and unmet need for family planning in Bangladesh and therefore provide a strong body of evidence that will contribute to issue identification, evidence generation, and communication for use of evidence in policy and programming. The evidence generated can be used to find ways to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy and hence reduce the risk of abortion related morbidity and mortality; ultimately this will aid Bangladeshi couples in reaching their fertility goals. Local research-based organisations working on family planning, unintended pregnancy and related issues in Bangladesh were identified and relevant documents such as posters, flipcharts, books and leaflets were collected. PubMed / MEDLINE, HINARI, JSTOR and Google Scholar were searched for literature relevant to preselected outcomes. Search results were restricted to literature published after 2000, although some exceptions were granted to papers from 1996-1999 on a case-by-case basis. Reference lists from retrieved literature were reviewed for identification of additional sources of relevant data based on our search criteria. (Excerpt)
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  18. 18
    Peer Reviewed

    Availability and provision of misoprostol and other medicines for menstrual regulation among pharmacies in Bangladesh via mystery client survey.

    Huda FA; Ngo TD; Ahmed A; Alam A; Reichenbach L

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2014 Feb; 124(2):164-8.

    OBJECTIVE: To explore the availability and provision of misoprostol and other medicines for menstrual regulation (MR) among pharmacies in Bangladesh. METHODS: Between March and November 2011, a cross-sectional study using mystery client visits was conducted among pharmacy workers in Dhaka and Gazipur Districts, Bangladesh. Mystery clients were trained to present 1 of 4 pre-developed situations to pharmacy workers to elicit information on the regimen, adverse effects, and complications of misoprostol use. RESULTS: Mystery clients visited 331 pharmacies. Among the 331 pharmacy workers, 45.8% offered the mystery clients misoprostol and/or other medicines for MR; 25.7% referred them to private clinics or hospitals. Only 7% recommended an effective regimen of misoprostol for MR; 65% suggested administering vaginal and oral misoprostol together. Overall, 72.4% did not provide any advice on complications; the remainder suggested visiting trained providers for complications. Counseling on excessive bleeding as a danger sign was provided by 46% of pharmacy workers. Most (94%) did not provide or refer for post-MR family planning. CONCLUSION: Pharmacy workers in urban Bangladesh are providing ineffective drugs and regimens for MR. A training package is needed to strengthen service delivery by providing accurate information, high-quality products, and referral mechanisms for women seeking MR through pharmacies. (c) 2013.
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  19. 19
    Peer Reviewed

    Pregnancy termination in Matlab, Bangladesh: Maternal mortality risks associated with menstrual regulation and abortion.

    Rahman M; DaVanzo J; Razzaque A

    International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2014 Sep; 40(3):108-118.

    CONTEXT: In Bangladesh, both menstrual regulation (MR), which is thought to be a relatively safe method, and abortion, which in this setting is often performed using unsafe methods, are used to terminate pregnancies (known or suspected). However, little is known about changes over time in the use of these methods or their relative mortality risks. METHODS: Data from the Demographic Surveillance System in Matlab, Bangladesh, on 110,152 pregnancy outcomes between 1989 and 2008 were used to assess changes in mortality risks associated with MR (and a small number of dilation and curettage procedures), abortion and live birth. Tabulation and logistic regression analyses were used to compare outcomes in two areas of Matlab -- the comparison area, which receives standard government health and family planning services, and the Maternal and Child Health-Family Planning (MCH-FP) area, which receives enhanced health and family planning services. RESULTS: In Matlab as a whole, the proportion of pregnancies ending in MR increased from 1.9% in 1989-1999 to 4.2% in 2000-2008, while the proportion ending in abortion decreased from 1.6% to 1.1%. The odds of mortality from MR were 4.1 times those from live birth in 1989-1999, but were no longer elevated in 2000-2008. The odds of mortality from abortion were 12.0 and 4.9 times those of live birth in 1989-1999 and 2000-2008, respectively. Reduction in mortality risk was greater in the MCH-FP area than the comparison area (90% vs. 75%). CONCLUSION: MR is no longer associated with higher mortality risk than live birth in Bangladesh, but abortion is.
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  20. 20

    Context analysis: Close-to-community health care service providers in Bangladesh.

    Gani MS; Sarker M; Siddiqi BA; Mahmud I; Jahangir YT; Theobald S; Ormel H; Biswas S; Islam KF; Camellia S; Rashid SF

    Dhaka, Bangladesh, BRAC University, BRAC Institute of Global Health, James P. Grant School of Public Health, 2014 Jun. [182] p.

    Close-to-community (CTC) health service providers are playing an important role in delivering health services in both urban and rural areas of Bangladesh. CTC health service providers are the most easily accessible and widely accessed providers. There is a gap in the evidence base on the roles, responsibilities and interaction between formal and informal providers, particularly in the growing urban slum areas. Also, there is a need to further understand the facilitators and barriers that influence the performance of different groups of CTC health service providers and their interrelationships. The aim of this study was to identify the facilitators and barriers which affect the performance of these providers who work in close proximity to the community. Our research explored the role of CTC health service providers in the provision of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, with a focus on menstrual regulation (MR) services (manual vacuum aspiration and other ways to safely establish non-pregnancy up to 8-10 weeks after a missed menstruation period) and needs in two urban slum settings in the city of Dhaka and one urban slum and one rural setting in the city of Sylhet. We started with a desk review to understand the existing situation of the CTC health service providers and their role in the health care systems of Bangladesh. The desk review was followed by a mapping of stakeholders and complementary quantitative and qualitative research to understand the context in which CTC services are operating in poor communities in Bangladesh.
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  21. 21
    Peer Reviewed

    The 'nonmenstrual woman' in the new millennium? Discourses on menstrual suppression in the first decade of Extended Cycle Oral Contraception use in Canada.

    Granzow K

    Culture, Health and Sexuality. 2014 Apr 16; 16(6):620-633.

    In the early-twenty-first century, extended cycle oral contraception (ECOC) became available by physician prescription in North America. Researchers speculate that this drug, with its capacity to reduce or eliminate menstrual bleeding, may shift not only women's biological processes but also their experiences of menstruation. In this paper, I discuss women's experiences of menstrual suppression drawing on findings from a qualitative study conducted before ECOC was available, and examine these findings against recently published research on menstrual suppression in an ECOC era. Findings suggest that the body as a natural entity figures strongly in women's discourses on suppression. They further suggest that suppression is a contingent, paradoxical and practical achievement, not a securely or fully realised embodied state. This paper reads women's accounts of menstrual suppression prior to ECOC as a challenge to the modern artifice of a mind/body split, and questions whether this challenge is perhaps made less discernible in an ECOC era, where attention may no longer be paid to the daily practices of menstrual suppression. Hence, a case is made for the varied political effects of ongoing non-menstruation versus event-specific practices of non-menstruation.
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  22. 22
    Peer Reviewed

    Intravaginal cleansing among women attending a sexually transmitted infection clinic in Kingston, Jamaica.

    Carter M; Gallo M; Anderson C; Snead MC; Wiener J; Bailey A; Costenbader E; Legardy-Williams J; Hylton-Kong T

    West Indian Medical Journal. 2013 Jan; 62(1):56-61.

    OBJECTIVES: Although common worldwide, intravaginal cleansing is associated with poor health outcomes. We sought to describe intravaginal cleansing among women attending a sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic in Jamaica. METHODS: We examined intravaginal cleansing ("washing up inside the vagina", douching, and products or materials used) among 293 participants in a randomized trial of counselling messages at an STI clinic in Kingston. We focussed on information on intravaginal cleansing performed in the 30 days and three days preceding their baseline study visit. We describe reported cleansing behaviours and used logistic regression to identify correlates of intravaginal cleansing. RESULTS: Fifty-eight per cent of participants reported intravaginal cleansing in the previous 30 days, and 46% did so in the three days before baseline. Among those who cleansed in the previous 30 days, 88% reported doing so for hygiene unrelated to sex, and three-fourths reported generally doing so more than once per day. Soap (usually with water) and water alone were the most common products used for washing; commercial douches or detergents were reported infrequently. Intravaginal cleansing in the three days before the baseline visit was positively associated with having more than one sex partner in the previous three months (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1, 3.2), and negatively associated with experiencing itching in the genital area at baseline (AOR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4, 1.0). CONCLUSIONS: A large proportion of women attending STI clinics in Jamaica engage in frequent intravaginal cleansing, indicating a need for clinicians to discuss this topic with them accordingly.
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  23. 23
    Peer Reviewed

    Vaginal douching by women with vulvovaginitis and relation to reproductive health hazards.

    Shaaban OM; Youssef AE; Khodry MM; Mostafa SA

    BMC Women's Health. 2013; 13:23.

    BACKGROUND: Vaginal douching (VD) is a common practice among married women all over the world specially those in the Middle East. It is used for personal hygiene or for other aesthetic reasons in many countries. The current study investigates the prevalence of VD among patients with vulvovaginitis in Egypt. It also compares the reproductive health hazards among women performing routine VD with those using external hygiene. It also investigates why, and how women practice this douching. METHODS: A cross sectional observational study was conducted in a tertiary university affiliated hospital in Assiut, Egypt. An interview administered questionnaire was administered to 620 women by two trained clinic nurses. Women presented to the outpatient clinic and diagnosed to have any type of vaginal infections were approached for participation. The principle outcome was the history of preterm labor in women who routinely performed VD versus those who did not (upon which sample size was estimated). Other outcome measures were the types of vaginal infections, and reproductive implications comprising, ectopic pregnancy, abortion and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). RESULTS: The participants were predominantly multiparas from semi-urban background and middle socioeconomic level. Considering VD as a religious duty and a kind of personal cleanliness were the most common reasons for performing VD in 88.9% and 80.6% of the studied population, respectively. History of preterm labor was reported in 19.2% versus 11.9% (p=0.048), while history of PID in 13.2% versus 6.0% (p=0.008) in women performing VD compared to those not performing this habit, respectively. There were no significant differences between the two groups as regard the history of ectopic pregnancy or the number of previous abortions. CONCLUSION: Vaginal douching is a prevalent practice in Egypt and has traditional and religious roots within the community. There are many misbeliefs around this habit in Egypt. Vaginal douching increases certain reproductive health hazards especially preterm labor and PID. Much effort and awareness campaigns are needed to increase women awareness about health hazards of this incorrect practice and to limit its use.
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  24. 24
    Peer Reviewed

    Vaginal cleansing practices in HIV infected Zambian women.

    Alcaide ML; Mumbi M; Chitalu N; Jones D

    AIDS and Behavior. 2013 Mar; 17(3):872-8.

    Vaginal practices are a variety of behavioral techniques that women use to manage their sexual life and personal hygiene. Women perceive vaginal practices as a beneficial practice. However, vaginal cleansing has been identified as one of the main risk factors for bacterial vaginosis and is potentially implicated in Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection transmission. This study examined the prevalence of vaginal practices and the types of practices used among a sample of HIV positive women living in Lusaka, Zambia. Over 90% of all women recruited engaged in vaginal practices. Certain practices, such as use of water or soap, were more frequently used for hygiene reasons. Herbs and traditional medicines were mainly used to please sexual partner. Strategies to decrease VP appear urgently needed in the Zambian community.
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  25. 25
    Peer Reviewed

    Vaginal practices diary: development of a pictorial data collection tool for sensitive behavioral data.

    Francis SC; Lees SS; Andrew B; Zalwango F; Vandepitte J; Ao T; Baisley K; Kapiga S; Grosskurth H; Hayes R

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2012 Aug; 39(8):614-21.

    BACKGROUND: Intravaginal practices (IVP) are highly prevalent behaviors among women at increased risk for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. IVP data collected by face-to-face interviews (FTFI) may be subject to recall or social desirability bias. Daily self-administered diaries may help to decrease bias associated with FTFI. IVP data from a diary and FTFI were compared during a multisite microbicide feasibility study in Tanzania and Uganda. METHODS: In all, 200 women were recruited and given diaries to complete daily for 6 weeks. Data obtained in the diary were compared with data from the FTFI during clinical visits to assess the consistency of reporting of IVP between the data collection methods. RESULTS: In Tanzania, proportions of overall vaginal cleansing and insertion were similar for the FTFI and the diary, but the diary indicated higher frequency of cleansing and use of a cloth or other applicator. In Uganda, proportions of overall vaginal cleansing were similar for FTFI and the diary, but the diary indicated higher frequency of cleansing, use of soaps and cloths for cleansing, and insertion. Most of the inconsistencies between the 2 data collection methods were from reported frequency of IVP or IVP related to sexual intercourse. CONCLUSIONS: The comparison of FTFI and the vaginal practice diary suggests that recall of IVP may be improved by a daily self-administered diary, especially for frequency of cleansing and cleansing in proximity to sexual intercourse. The vaginal practices diary can provide a more detailed understanding of IVP and aid in the interpretation of findings from FTFI.
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