We're sorry to announce that due to ill-health November's issue is suspended. At the moment it is next to impossible to use the computer. There may also be no issue in December, or a very limited one, but we hope to return at full strength in the new year. Apologies too for the lack of main features in September and October - delayed for the same reasons. Please stick with us, we will be back.
A word on navigation. There's a lot here, and a lot to post each month. To help you, the archive is at the top right of the page, just under this editorial. You'll see posts listed by month and topic. If you want to skip straight to Sport, or Arts, you can do so using these links. Otherwise you'll have to scroll down through more than one page to read everything each month. Please note that any queries about content or other matters should be directed to the original publications of linked articles as WHTW? can't be responsible for fact-checking and vetting sources of all of them.
This month's issue
While you are waiting, October's issue is full of fascinating articles. We are asking is child labour wrong? Girls in Bolivia's new child union don't think so (see Women/Work) and are demanding respect from society for their labour (and give us your view in our poll at the foot of the page). In Politics, Denmark has a new woman prime minister and you can read a statement on increasing women's political participation from UN women leaders, and research on peace and gender. In Family and society, there's a list of the best and worst countries for women and an article on the pros and cons of pirate husbands in Somalia. In Arts there's a comment on the furore over pop-star Rihanna's in-your-face raunch. And in Science and technology we celebrate Thai and Kenyan women's scientific achievements. In Health, there's a warning about injectable contraceptives and HIV infection, and a rise in breast cancer in UK Asian women. In Law, a US lawyer is protesting at the treatment of jailed women in childbirth. In the Mind, body and spirit post you can engage in debate over the Pill - or the lack of it - and its transformative effects on society. And, for a giggle, look at the men in pin-up poses in the And another thing section of this blog.
Our special feature this month will be a collection of links on Women in the Arab Spring. Look out for it coming soon!
We hope you will find this blog a useful resource and a provocative and productive place for debate. We look forward to your comments and feedback.
Anna Purna

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Women/Health: childbirth, contraceptives, anti-depressants, breast cancer

Maternal mortality
Maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates in China drop by almost two-thirds after the government gives incentives for hospital births: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/china-cuts-childbirth-mortality-rate . On the other hand, in South Africa, the maternal mortality rate has increased fourfold over a decade, from 150 deaths per 100,000 in 1998 to 625 in 2007 according to this Human Rights Watch report: http://www.hrw.org/node/100757 . Commentary here from the Guardian (UK): http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/aug/12/south-africa-maternal-mortality-health .

Injectable contraceptives double HIV risk
The World Health Organisation is calling a meeting to consider whether to advise women against using injectable contraceptives after a study conducted in seven African countries found that they doubled a woman's chances of contracting HIV/AIDS. Women using such methods also had increased risk of transferring the virus to their partners. The results of the study are particularly significant for women in African countries where the use of injectable contraception is popular because it can be kept secret from husbands and partners. http://allafrica.com/stories/201110051206.html .

Breast cancer rise
Asian women in the UK, who have historically had lower breast cancer rates than other UK women, have seen a surge in cases in the last year according to a Manchester hospital. http://menmedia.co.uk/asiannews/news/health/s/1460769_surge-in-breast-cancer-cases-in-asian-women-say-manchester-experts?rss=yes. The BBC suggests it is a failure on the part of the women themselves to spot signs and attend clinics that is causing the rise: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11598498, while other sources point to cultural reasons, including misunderstandings about screening procedures and lack of information for Asian women that leads to later treatment. A new help group is being set up: http://www.garstangcourier.co.uk/news/regional/breast_cancer_help_for_asian_women_1_3846392.

Refugee doctor
Dr Cynthia Maung, "Burma's most famous doctor" is in exile in Thailand where despite threats and attacks by the Burmese government she treats Burmese refugees from camps across the border and helps send teams of medics into Burma to treat those in isolated and inaccessible areas. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/doctor-cynthia-burma-political-refugee?INTCMP=SRCH .

Anti-depressants: Petition
A third of UK women have taken anti-depressants with 24% of those on them for more than 10 years, and half being offered no alternative treatments. This petition calls for a review of the use and prescription of anti-depressants, especially among women, and for a better approach to mental health issues: http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/petition.aspx?cid=d82d6619-bcb3-4f23-a35c-791be1f87f11. Briefing paper on the issues here: http://www.platform51.org/downloads/resources/briefings/antidepressants.pdf

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