Wider access to self-administered contraceptives and the use of digital technologies by providers are just two of the tangible measures outlined in the latest edition of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance on family planning.
WHO’s updated landmark Family Planning Handbook, launched on Tuesday, informs health workers on protecting access to family planning services during emergencies, and provides policy makers with the most current information on contraceptive options.
“Family planning promotes self-actualization, empowerment, as well as health and wellbeing, and reduces maternal and infant deaths through the prevention of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion”, said Pascale Allotey, WHO’s Director for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Drawing on lessons learned, it also expands guidance for women and young people at high risk of HIV.
‘A vital resource’
Experience from recent outbreaks shows that family planning services can be severely compromised during emergencies.
During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, approximately 70 per cent of countries reported disruptions to these vital services – intensifying risks of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
The manual advocates for continued family planning support services during epidemics, including through wider access to self-administered contraceptives, pharmacy distribution and multi-month supplies.
“This updated Family Planning Handbook is a vital resource, helping health workers support contraceptive users around the world in making informed choices about the right contraceptive options for them”, said the senior WHO official.
Self-administered contraceptives include condoms, contraceptive pills, some diaphragms, spermicides and most recently, the option of self-injection of a progestin-only contraceptive, called DMPA, which can now be safely administered just under the skin rather than into the muscle.
Many women prefer private and non-intrusive injectable contraceptives that require action only every two to three – making this option likely to increase uptake.
“The updated recommendations in this Handbook show that almost any family planning method can be used safely by all women, and that accordingly, all women should have access to a range of options that meet their unique needs and goals in life,” said lead author Mary Gaffield.
For the first time, the 2022 edition includes a dedicated chapter to guide family planning services for women and adolescents at high risk of HIV, including people living in high HIV prevalence areas and those with multiple sexual partners or whose regular partner is living with HIV.
While only condoms protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, all contraceptive options – with the sole exception of nonoxynol-9 spermicide – are now considered safe for women and young people at high risk of HIV as they have not been found to increase risk of HIV transmission or contract infection.
For those at high risk of HIV, the manual states that testing, counselling and first-line clinical care and referrals should all be offered as part of family planning services.
“Family planning services can be provided safely and affordably so that no matter where they live, couples and individuals are able to choose from safe and effective family planning methods”, underscored the lead author.
The handbook also incorporates WHO’s latest guidance on cervical cancer and pre-cancer prevention, screening and treatment, which can all be provided through family planning services; management of sexually transmitted infections; and family planning in postabortion care.
Now in its fourth edition, the handbook is the most widely used reference guide on the topic globally, with over a million copies distributed or downloaded to date.
It is complemented by the medical eligibility criteria tool for contraceptive use, also downloadable as a dedicated App.
Americans are outraged: US has given about $54B of assistance to Ukraine. The EU only 16B
On a broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “Kennedy,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said he will not continue to support aid to Ukraine until the European Union matches the aid already provided by the U.S.
We need a complete audit of the money sent by America. There should be assurances that the country hasn’t had an illegitimate relationship with FTX, and “the millions of dollars that were paid to the Biden family by Ukraine over the years isn’t influencing our foreign policy,” said Tom McClintock. (Through this crypto-exchange FTX the Democrats laundered huge amounts of money that were allocated by the US Congress for Ukraine).
McClintock stated, “I supported the initial assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine is primarily a European security issue. Now, you look at the numbers, the United States has given about $54 billion of assistance to Ukraine. And the EU had only 16 billion.
“So, they’ve got about half of our GDP. But they’ve only given about a third of the assistance that we have. Now, given the fact that’s happening right on their doorstep, not on ours. It seems to me they need to at least match what we’ve already done.
“And then I also believe there needs to be a full audit of where our money has gone and we need assurance that Ukraine’s relationship with FTX is entirely legitimate, as Ukraine contends. And I think the American people would also like to be assured that the millions of dollars that were paid to the Biden family by Ukraine over the years isn’t influencing our foreign policy,” said Tom McClintock.
Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’
Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.
Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”
“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”
The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.
As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.
Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.
“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.
Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.
American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’
“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.
One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.
Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.
That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”
There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.
Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.
He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.
Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.
Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.
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