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International guidelines/reports

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US strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally

This strategy, developed by the US Administration, aims to ensure multi-sector government-wide approaches to enable better prevention and an improved response to incidences of gender-based violence around the world. The strategy is based on the three guiding principles of prevention, protection and accountability and has been built upon lessons learned from previous US programmes and policies in this area. Four key objectives are outlined: to increase coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among US Government Agencies and with other stakeholders; to enhance integration of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts into existing US Government work; to improve collection, analysis and use of data and research to enhance gender-based violence prevention and response efforts; to enhance or expand US Government programming that addresses gender-based violence. Detailed information is provided regarding the strategy's implementation including diplomatic engagement, strategic and budget planning, mainstreaming and integrating gender-based violence prevention and response activities into cross-sectoral working, increasing collaborative efforts, and identifying and scaling up successful interventions. The impact of the strategy will be formally measured and progress will be evaluated after 3 years.

Counselling the obstetric fistula client: a training curriculum

This training curriculum, developed by US Agency for International Development and Fistula Care, provides comprehensive counselling training for nurses, midwives and clinicians providing care to women with obstetric fistulae. The manual sets out the three main components of fistula care: prevention, treatment and re-integration, and defines the explicit core counselling competencies required to address each component. The curriculum consists of nine training sessions covering: providers’ values and attitudes; understanding obstetric fistula; understanding the client's perspective; interpersonal communication; counselling for the fistula client; family planning information and health-related counselling; counselling for the client's family; supporting the fistula client; and counselling skills practice. For each session the manual provides detailed information about what the session should include such as presentations, discussion, group work, role play, the timings that each activity should take and useful hand-outs and other training materials. The curriculum aims to prepare health service providers at all levels in the provision of accurate information and counselling to women with this hugely debilitating and distressing condition, including treatment referral, advice about recovery services and counselling for other related issues.

Guidelines on basic newborn resuscitation

Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), these updated guidelines aim to ensure that in resource-limited settings all newborns requiring resuscitation can be effectively resuscitated. It is targeted at health professionals who are responsible for attending women in childbirth or for care of the newborn baby immediately after birth, primarily in areas where resources are limited. It is estimated that about one-quarter of all global neonatal deaths are caused by birth asphyxia and that these can be prevented by effective resuscitation procedures. The guideline recommendations are based on the identification of the 13 PICO (Population/Patient Group, Intervention, Comparator, and Outcome) framed research questions, by a technical consultation, covering immediate care after birth, positive pressure ventilation and halting resuscitation. For each question, neonatal mortality and severe morbidity (hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, meconium aspiration syndrome, pulmonary air leaks including pneumothorax, intraventricular haemorrhage, severe anaemia, admission to neonatal intensive care unit, severe hyperbilirubinaemia and cerebral palsy) were considered to be critical outcomes. The recommendations for each question are listed with information provided about the strength of the recommendation and the quality of the evidence available using the GRADE (Grade of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach. Sixteen research priorities were also identified and are listed at the end of the guideline. These guidelines aim to inform other WHO training and reference materials and it is hoped that they will help programme managers to adapt or develop national or local guidelines or standards and training information for newborn care.

Cancer advocacy training toolkit for Africa

This training toolkit, developed by the Africa Oxford Cancer Foundation, the African Organisation for Training and Treatment in Cancer, the European Society for Medical Oncology and the Union for International Cancer Control, follows on from an awareness-raising project in 2010 in which 13 posters specifically designed for use in Africa were developed highlighting health and lifestyle advice on ways to avoid cancer (such as avoid smoking, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercising every day, drinking less alcohol, practising safe sex by using condoms and vaccinating newborn babies against hepatitis B) and information on screening, signs and symptoms of common cancers in Africa. For gynaecological cancers, the document focused on cervical and breast cancer. The toolkit has been developed with the aim of advising cancer advocates in Africa of the different methods of awareness-raising that could be effective in their countries including: political; educational; support; community outreach; research; fundraising and working with the media. For each of these sections, examples from relevant case studies were provided. Detailed case studies are included for each advocacy method providing valuable information and practical experiences.

Patent news

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Granted patents

US 8278109 Hyperglycosylated hCG detection device

This US-granted patent relates to a pregnancy test device that, from a liquid sample, can selectively detect hyperglycosylated human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG-H). The invention can also determine the viability of a pregnancy by measuring the level of hCG-H present. Low levels of hCG-H have been reported to be associated with a higher incidence of early pregnancy loss. Furthermore, higher levels of hCG-H in women with gestational trophoblastic tumours (hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma and placental site trophoblastic tumour) tend to be associated with the more aggressive form of the disease. Therefore, the measurement of hCG-H in these women may allow for the more accurate prediction of the prognosis of this disease.

Nazareth, A.R., Snowden, T. Hyperglycosylated hCG detection device. 2 October 2012.

Patent applications

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US 2012/0196754 A1 Non-invasive determination of fetal inheritance of parental haplotypes at the genome-wide scale

This US patent application outlines a method, device and computer programme that allows for the noninvasive haplotyping of single cells from a blood or serum sample obtained from a pregnant woman to determine the fetal genome. Specifically, the inventors state that it is possible to measure haplotypes by diluting a composition consisting of multiple homologous copies of a region to single molecule density and by performing genetic analysis on the individual molecules.

Quake, S.R., Fan, H-M.C. Non-invasive determination of fetal inheritance of parental haplotypes at the genome-wide scale. 2 August 2012.

US 2012/0252767 A1 Methods of hormonal treatment utilising ascending-dose extended cycle regimens

This US patent application discusses a contraceptive method involving an ascending-dose extended cycle regimen. Specifically, the method involves the administration of an oestrogen and a progestogen for a period in excess of 30 or 31 consecutive days followed either by an optional hormone-free period of between 2 and 10 days or by the administration of oestrogen for a period of 2–10 days. This method also provides additional noncontraceptive benefits such as reducing breakthrough bleeding.

Diliberti, C.E., Reape, K.Z., Bronnekant, L.J. Methods of hormonal treatment utilising ascending-dose extended cycle regimens. 4 October 2012.

US 2012/0252119 A1 Methods for the collection and maturation of oocytes

This US patent application outlines methods for the collection and maturation of oocytes. Specifically, the patent provides a method for collecting an oocyte in a collection medium consisting of a first phosphodiesterase inhibitor and an agent that increases intracellular cAMP concentration within the oocyte, for culturing the oocyte in a maturation medium consisting of a second phosphodiesterase inhibitor, and finally producing an embryo from the oocyte through the use of assisted reproduction technology.

This international patent application claims priority from US provisional patent application 61/178,318 filed on 14 May 2009, the contents of which are herein incorporated by this reference.

Gilchrist, R.B., Thompson, J., Albuz, F. Methods for the collection and maturation of oocytes. 4 October 2012.

Legal matters

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Colombia: obstacles to care for abused, displaced women

This report by Human Rights Watch concludes that Columbia's current laws on gender-based violence do not adequately cover women displaced by the armed conflict in the country. Despite recent progress in developing a legal and policy framework to address gender-based violence in Columbia it is reported that many women and girls who are victims of such violence do not have access to information, essential health care, informed healthcare providers or the services required to enable the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

European Court of Human Rights finds Slovakia violated Romani women's rights in another involuntary sterilisation case

The European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled that the involuntary sterilisation of three women of Romani origin in Slovakia (case I.G. and Others vs Slovakia) was a major human rights violation. Reaffirming its position on involuntary sterilisation the European Court of Human Rights stated that the women, who had been sterilised during childbirth via caesarean section, did not require the procedure as a life-saving treatment and that informed consent had not been obtained and that therefore the women's fundamental rights had been violated.

Clinical study recruitment

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Clinicians keen to keep up-to-date regarding clinical studies that are currently recruiting may find the following informative.

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