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Africa Health Newsletters

September 2009 — Although the Standard Days Method (SDM) is a fairly new method of contraception, it has already been successfully introduced into public, private and community-based family planning programs in several African countries. As introductions continue, health care providers will help women determine their eligibility to use the method. Women whose eligibility is confirmed will also rely on health care providers to teach them how to use the method effectively.

November 2009 — Task shifting — allowing lower-level health care providers to perform some of the tasks normally reserved for higher-level providers — has been proposed as one way to overcome the shortage of physicians in Africa. The concept has been spreading rapidly and with intense urgency among providers of HIV prevention, care and treatment services in many regions of Africa.

January 2010 — Despite the numerous advantages of intrauterine devices (IUDs), rates of use remain low in many areas of the world and have even declined recently in some developing countries. Significant factors that adversely affect use are poor access to quality services and pervasive myths and misperceptions among health care providers, clients and communities. However, efforts have been undertaken to increase awareness and facilitate access to the IUD as part of a more balanced method mix, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where most women use short-acting methods such as pills or injectables.

March 2010 — Because people seeking HIV services often share common needs and concerns with those who seek family planning services, integrating these two types of services enables health care providers to serve their patients more efficiently and comprehensively. As momentum builds behind integration efforts in Africa, evidence-based practices are beginning to emerge that will help providers to offer high-quality integrated services.

May 2010 Medical professionals have important roles as communicators. In addition to speaking with patients and colleagues, many health providers talk to Rotary clubs, religious assemblies and other groups about medical issues in their community. People come to them for advice and information about medicine, and to learn about local clinical trials.