A new campaign in East Timor plans to tackle high rates of maternal and infant mortality with a mobile phone program designed to provide families with information about health and wellbeing.
Mobile Mums will provide new mothers and families with information on how to plan ahead for medically necessary travel, danger signs to look out for during pregnancy, and nutritional guides. The messages will also remind women to go to their pre-natal checkups and birth planning visits.
Beth Elson of Health Alliance International, told reporters "We discovered through our household survey that mobile phone ownership is rapidly increasing, so we thought this could be the perfect opportunity to combine traditional approaches to improve health outcomes with an innovative one using mobile phones."
Currently 97% of East Timor has mobile coverage available. One of the biggest challenges to the program is that only 73% of women in East Timor are literate. However, according to Elson, a study by the HAI found that all of their respondents have at least one person in their family who could read the messages. Elson explained that in East TImor, "often it's the husband or the mother-in-law that makes some decisions about health seeking behaviours. So the more people reading those health messages in the households, the better."
Media Resources: Australia News Network 12/10/12; Radio Australia 12/10/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .