Reproductive Health (Reprod Health )

Publisher: Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research; International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health; BioMed Central Ltd


Reproductive Health is an Open Access, peer-reviewed online journal focusing on all aspects of human reproduction. Reproductive health is defined as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system, at all stages of life. Good reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. Men and women should be informed about and have access to safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, and the right to appropriate health-care services that enable women to safely go through pregnancy and childbirth. The challenge of the field is to evaluate current promising interventions rigorously, address emerging issues such as synthesizing ever-increasing research findings, and develop innovative dissemination and communication strategies. The journal invites submissions on research in reproductive health, including social and gender issues, sexual health, country and population specific issues, assessment of service provision, education and training. We specifically invite colleagues from low- and middle-income countries to submit their research findings for publication, sharing their results with others in the field by using the Open Access model.

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Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: Background The burden of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa is very high. In Ghana maternal mortality ratio was 380 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. Skilled birth attendance has been shown to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, yet in 2010 only 68 percent of mothers in Ghana gave birth with the assistance of skilled birth attendants. In 2005, the Ghana Health Service piloted a strategy that involved using the integrated Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) program and training Community Health Officers (CHOs) as midwives to address the gap in skilled attendance in rural Upper East Region (UER). The study assesses the feasibility of and extent to which the skilled delivery program has been implemented as an integrated component of the existing CHPS, and documents the benefits and challenges of the integrated program. Methods We employed an intrinsic case study design with a qualitative methodology. We conducted 41 in-depth interviews with health professionals and community stakeholders. We used a purposive sampling technique to identify and interview our respondents. Results The CHO-midwives provide integrated services that include skilled delivery in CHPS zones. The midwives collaborate with District Assemblies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and communities to offer skilled delivery services in rural communities. They refer pregnant women with complications to district hospitals and health centers for care, and there has been observed improvement in the referral system. Stakeholders reported community members' access to skilled attendants at birth, health education, antenatal attendance and postnatal care in rural communities. The CHO-midwives are provided with financial and non-financial incentives to motivate them for optimal work performance. The primary challenges that remain include inadequate numbers of CHO-midwives, insufficient transportation, and infrastructure weaknesses. Conclusions Our study demonstrates that CHOs can successfully be trained as midwives and deployed to provide skilled delivery services at the doorsteps of rural households. The integration of the skilled delivery program with the CHPS program appears to be an effective model for improving access to skilled birth attendance in rural communities of the UER of Ghana.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11:90.
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    ABSTRACT: Continuing high global maternal mortality and morbidity rates in developing countries have resulted in an increasing push to improve reproductive health services for women. Seeking innovative ways for assessing how positive health knowledge and behaviors spread to this vulnerable population has increased the use of social network theories and analysis in health promotion research. Despite the increased research on social networks and health, no overarching review on social networks and maternal health literature in developing countries has been conducted. This paper attempts to synthesize this literature by identifying both published and unpublished studies in major databases on social networks and maternal and child health. This review examined a range of study types for inclusion, including experimental and non-experimental study designs including randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental, cohort studies, case control studies, longitudinal studies, and cross-sectional observational studies. Only those that occurred in developing countries were included in the review. Eighteen eligible articles were identified; these were published between 1997 and 2012. The findings indicated that the most common social network mechanisms studied within the literature were social learning and social influence. The main outcomes studied were contraceptive use and fertility decisions. Findings suggest the need for continuing research on social networks and maternal health, particularly through the examination of the range of social mechanisms through which networks may influence health behaviors and knowledge, and the analysis of a larger variety of reproductive outcomes.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11(85).
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    ABSTRACT: The world has made enormous progress in improving child survival since 1990, reducing the under-five mortality rate by nearly half from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. Currently, the global under-five mortality rate is falling faster than at any other time over the past two decades. Yet, progress is insufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) which calls for reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. If current trends continue in all countries, the world will not meet the target until 2026, 11 years behind schedule. To accelerate progress in child survival, focusing on the newborn is critical since the share of all under five deaths occurring in the neonatal period (the first 28 days of life) is increasing. Globally, 44 per cent of the 6.3 million under-five deaths occurred in the neonatal period in 2013. Many of these deaths are easily preventable with simple, cost-effective interventions administered before, during and immediately after birth. However, UNICEF's analysis reveals a remarkably high degree of variability in the utilization and quality of services provided to pregnant women and their babies. Furthermore, quality care is grossly lacking even for babies and mothers in contact with the health system. The latest levels and trends in child mortality as well as the coverage and quality of key maternal and newborn care from pregnancy through childbirth and the postnatal period are the subject of the new UNICEF report Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed Progress Report 2014 released recently in September.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11(1):82.
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    ABSTRACT: Antiretroviral treatment restores physical functioning and may have an impact on fertility desires. Counseling is given to HIV positive women to create awareness and to provide information on pregnancy and delivery. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of pregnancy and factors that predict pregnancy among women of reproductive age receiving HIV care and treatment at a large urban center in western Uganda. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using routinely collected data at the Immune Suppression (ISS) Clinic of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital located in Mbarara District, western Uganda collected between January 2006 and June 2010. Women aged 15 to 50 years were eligible for analysis. The primary outcome was incidence of pregnancy calculated as number of pregnancies per 1000 person years (PY). Data was analyzed by calendar year and year of enrolment and used survival analysis to determine the predictors of pregnancy. A total of 3144 women were included with a median follow up of 12.5 months. The overall incidence rate was 90.7 pregnancies per 1000 person years. Incidence increased from 29.8 pregnancies per 1000 PY in 2006 to 122 pregnancies per 1000 PY in 2010 (p < 0.001). Significant predictors for pregnancy were younger age (HR 10.96 95% CI 3.22-37.2), married (HR 2.09 95% CI 1.69-2.64) and single (HR 1.95 95% CI 1.34-2.84) compared to widowed or separated, primary education (HR 1.65 95% CI 1.02-2.66), not knowing the HIV status of the spouse (HR 1.46, 95%CI 1.13-1.93) compared to knowing. The use of family planning (HR 0.23 95% CI 0.18- 0.30) and an increase in CD4 count between baseline and most recent count were protective against pregnancy. ART use was not a significant predictor. Incidence of pregnancy among women receiving routine HIV care and treatment has increased and is almost comparable to that in the general population. Thus routine HIV care should integrate reproductive health needs for these women.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11(1):81.
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    ABSTRACT: Group B streptococcus (GBS) has been implicated in adverse pregnancy outcomes. GBS recto-vaginal colonization rates significantly vary among different communities and geographic locations. Limited data is available on the prevalence and effects of GBS recto-vaginal colonization among pregnant mothers in developing countries like Ethiopia. To assess the prevalence of GBS recto-vaginal colonization among near term pregnant mothers and the antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of the isolates. A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted on pregnant mothers at gestational age of 35-37 weeks attending Ante Natal Clinics at Ghandi Memorial (GMH) and Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital(TASH) in Addis Ababa. Samples from lower genital tract and rectum were collected and cultured for GBS on CHROM agar Strep B. Twenty two of the 300 pregnant mothers (7.2%) studied were found to have positive GBS recto-vaginal culture. Twelve isolates (55%) were sensitive to penicillin while 20 (91%) were sensitive to ampicilline. All isolates except one were sensitive to Erythromycin. The study showed recto-vaginal GBS colonization among near term pregnant mothers is reasonably high in our community calling for the need to screen mothers near term and provide appropriate antimicrobial prophylaxis to prevent potential adverse maternal and neonatal outcome.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11(1):80.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Sexual behaviour is the core of sexuality matters in adolescents and youths. Their modest or dynamic behaviour vulnerable them to risky sexual behaviours. In Ethiopia, there is scarcity of multicentered representative data on sexual behaviours in students to have a national picture at higher education. This study therefore conducted to assess sexual behaviours and associated factors at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among Bahir Dar University students from December to February 2013. Multistage sampling and self administered questionnaires were employed. Descriptive statistics such as frequency and mean were used to describe the study participants in relation to relevant variables. Multivariate analysis was carried for those variables that had a p-value of ≤ 0.2 in the bivariate analysis to identify the predictor variables. Results: Of the 817 study participants, 297 (36.4%) students had ever had sex. The mean age at first sexual practice was 18.6 years. Unprotected sex, having multiple sex partners, sex with commercial sex workers and sex for the exchange of money was practiced by 184 (62%), 126 (42.7%), 22 (7.4%) and 12 (4%) of sexually active students, respectively. The proportion of attending night clubs and watching porn videos was 130 (15.8%) and 534 (65.4%), respectively. Male respondents had significant positive association with watching porn videos (AOR = 4.8, CI = 3.49 - 6.54) and attending night clubs (AOR = 3.9, CI = 2.3 – 6.7). Watching porn videos, attending night clubs, khat chewing and taking alcohol frequently were significantly associated for ever had sex and having multiple sexual partners. Khat chewing practice (AOR = 8.5, CI =1.31 - 55.5) and attending night clubs (AOR = 4.6, CI = 1.8 - 11.77) had statistical significant association with the purpose of sexual intercourse for the sake of money and for having sex with commercial sex workers, respectively. Conclusions: Significant number of students had different risky sexual behaviours. Substance use, attending night clubs and watching porno video were predictor factors for practicing different sexual behaviours. Therefore, preventive intervention programmes should be strengthened, effectively implemented and monitored both in the earlier school and in the universities.
    Reproductive Health 12/2014; 11:84.
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    ABSTRACT: Administration of exogenous progesterone for luteal phase support has become a standard of practice. Intramuscular (IM) injections of progesterone in oil (PIO) and vaginal administration of progesterone are the primary routes of administration. This report describes the administration preferences expressed by women with infertility that were given progesterone vaginal insert (PVI) or progesterone in oil injections (PIO) for luteal phase support during fresh IVF cycles.
    Reproductive Health 11/2014; 11(1):78.
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    ABSTRACT: Over the years, IVF/ICSI protocols have continued to evolve with efforts to improve outcomes. As a result, treatment success may be related to certain procedural factors, including number of embryos transferred and stage at which they are transferred. This review aims to assess the safety and effectiveness of IVF/ICSI in comparison to spontaneous conception and less invasive ARTs and the impact of procedure-related factors on the outcomes of IVF/ICSI in order to support the development of local clinical and policy guidance. Following Cochrane Collaboration guidelines and the PRISMA statement, a comprehensive systematic review of literature examining the impact of procedural characteristics on the safety or effectiveness of IVF/ICSI from 2007 to date was performed. 33 systematic reviews and 3 primary studies evaluating the impact of procedural differences, IVF/ICSI in comparison to less invasive ARTs, and ARTs in comparison to spontaneous conception were found. IVF was shown to offer significant benefits over no treatment and IUI in achieving pregnancy and live birth among couples with endometriosis or unexplained infertility. Frozen and blastocyst-stage embryo transfers were as effective as fresh and cleavage-stage embryo transfers, respectively. In comparison to single embryo transfer, double embryo transfer significantly increased pregnancy, live birth and multiple pregnancy/birth rates. IVF/ICSI was associated with more complications during pregnancy and delivery, and in infants compared to naturally conceived pregnancies, particularly when multiple embryo transfer was used. Frozen embryo transfer had fewer adverse events during pregnancy and delivery than fresh embryo transfer, and was at least as safe in terms of infant outcomes. The potential complications of IVF/ICSI may be minimized through procedural choices, but such choices often impact effectiveness. Thus, in developing clinical and policy guidance around IVF/ICSI, the risk-benefit trade-offs patients and providers are willing to accept must be carefully considered.
    Reproductive Health 11/2014; 11(1):76.
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual and reproductive health communications are most likely promoting healthy sexual development and reduce sexual risks. Communication is the principal means for parents to transmit sexual values, beliefs, expectations and knowledge to their adolescents. However, there is a paucity of evidence about adolescent parent communication in Ethiopia. This study aimed to determine adolescent-parent communication on sexual and reproductive health issues and associated factors among high school students in Dire Dawa, Eastern Ethiopia.
    Reproductive Health 11/2014; 11(1):77.
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    ABSTRACT: Virtually all the evidence on the relationship between women's empowerment and use of contraception comes from cross-sectional studies that have emphasized macrosocial factors.This analysis tested whether literate and illiterate women are empowered by an intervention designed to provide information addressing technical and gender concerns and expand contraceptive choice, and evaluated the effects of women's decision-making power on contraceptive behavior.
    Reproductive Health 10/2014; 11(1):74.