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Hankins C.,Joint United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS | Forsythe S.,FutuResearch Institute | Njeuhmeli E.,United States Agency for International Development
PLoS Medicine

Scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention is cost saving and creates fiscal space in the future that otherwise would have been encumbered by antiretroviral treatment costs. An investment of US$1,500,000,000 between 2011 and 2015 to achieve 80% coverage in 13 priority countries in southern and eastern Africa will result in net savings of US$16,500,000,000. Strong political leadership, country ownership, and stakeholder engagement, along with effective demand creation, community mobilisation, and human resource deployment, are essential. This collection of articles on determining the cost and impact of VMMC for HIV prevention signposts the way forward to scaling up VMMC service delivery safely and efficiently to reap individual- and population-level benefits. Source

Stover J.,FutuResearch Institute | Ross J.,Independent Consultant
BMC Public Health

Background: Several birth characteristics are associated with high mortality risk: very young or old mothers, short birth intervals and high birth order. One justification for family planning programs is the health benefits associated with better spacing and timing of births. This study examines the extent to which the prevalence of these risk factors changes as a country transitions from high to low fertility. Methods. We use data from 194 national surveys to examine both cross section and within-country variation in these risk factors as they relate to the total fertility rate. Results: Declines in the total fertility rate are associated with large declines in the proportion of high order births, those to mothers over the age of 34 and those with multiple risk factors; as well as to increasing proportions of first order births. There is little change in the proportion of births with short birth intervals except in sub-Saharan Africa. The use of family planning is strongly associated with fertility declines. Conclusions: The proportion of second and higher order births with demographic risk factors declines substantially as fertility declines. This creates a potential for reducing child mortality rates. Some of the reduction comes from modifying the birth interval distribution or by bringing maternal age at the time of birth into the 'safe' range of 18-35 years, and some comes from the actual elimination of births that would have a high mortality risk (high parity births). © 2013Stover and Ross; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Blanc A.K.,Population Council | Winfrey W.,FutuResearch Institute | Ross J.,FutuResearch Group

Background:With recent results showing a global decline in overall maternal mortality during the last two decades and with the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals only four years away, the question of how to continue or even accelerate the decline has become more pressing. By knowing where the risk is highest as well as where the numbers of deaths are greatest, it may be possible to re-direct resources and fine-tune strategies for greater effectiveness in efforts to reduce maternal mortality.Methods:We aggregate data from 38 Demographic and Health Surveys that included a maternal mortality module and were conducted in 2000 or later to produce maternal mortality ratios, rates, and numbers of deaths by five year age groups, separately by residence, region, and overall mortality level.Findings:The age pattern of maternal mortality is broadly similar across regions, type of place of residence, and overall level of maternal mortality. A "J" shaped curve, with markedly higher risk after age 30, is evident in all groups. We find that the excess risk among adolescents is of a much lower magnitude than is generally assumed. The oldest age groups appear to be especially resistant to change. We also find evidence of extremely elevated risk among older mothers in countries with high levels of HIV prevalence.Conclusions:The largest number of deaths occurs in the age groups from 20-34, largely because those are the ages at which women are most likely to give birth so efforts directed at this group would most effectively reduce the number of deaths. Yet equity considerations suggest that efforts also be directed toward those most at risk, i.e., older women and adolescents. Because women are at risk each time they become pregnant, fulfilling the substantial unmet need for contraception is a cross-cutting strategy that can address both effectiveness and equity concerns. © 2013 Blanc et al. Source

Stover J.,FutuResearch Institute | Ross J.,URS Corporation
Maternal and Child Health Journal

It is widely recognized that family planning contributes to reducing maternal mortality by reducing the number of births and, thus, the number of times a woman is exposed to the risk of mortality. Here we show evidence that it also lowers the risk per birth, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR), by preventing high-risk, high-parity births. This study seeks to quantify these contributions to lower maternal mortality as the use of family planning rose over the period from 1990 to 2005. We use estimates from United Nations organizations of MMRs and the total fertility rate (TFR) to estimate the number of births averted-and, consequently, the number of maternal deaths directly averted-as the TFR in the developing world dropped. We use data from 146 Demographic and Health Surveys on contraceptive use and the distribution of births by risk factor, as well as special country data sets on the MMR by parity and age, to explore the impacts of contraceptive use on high-risk births and, thus, on the MMR. Over 1 million maternal deaths were averted between 1990 and 2005 because the fertility rate in developing countries declined. Furthermore, by reducing demographically high-risk births in particular, especially high-parity births, family planning reduced the MMR and thus averted additional maternal deaths indirectly. This indirect effect can reduce a county's MMR by an estimated 450 points during the transition from low to high levels of contraceptive use. Increases in the use of modern contraceptives have made and can continue to make an important contribution to reducing maternal mortality in the developing world. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Stover J.,FutuResearch Institute
Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS

Purpose of review: To review the recent use of mathematical modeling to inform decision making in HIV policy and programs. Recent findings: New mathematical modeling studies have provided information for policy and program development regarding male circumcision, the role of antiretroviral therapy in the prevention of new HIV infection, and the potential contribution of new prevention technologies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and HIV vaccines. Summary: Several modeling studies published recently intend to provide information to decision makers to support the development of policies and strategies. These models include a study on male circumcision that provides a consensus among modeling groups on key issues relating to impact and targeting, a study proposing a new approach to treatment and prevention and explorations of the potential impacts of two new technologies (pre-exposure prophylaxis and HIV vaccines) and the conditions under which they will be most beneficial. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Source

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