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Women’s Health

Tackling nutrition challenges and supporting women empowerment in rural Sindh – Pakistan

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Highlights

  • The Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project distributed and installed 10,100 kitchen horticultural kits to beneficiaries, including 5,050 female-headed households and 5,050 landless farmers in rural Sindh.

  • Data collected to monitor the health of women and children – after consuming fresh vegetables and fruits grown with the help of kitchen nurseries – showed a significant 10 to 20 percent decrease in the number of illnesses reported in hospitals.

“The kitchen garden kits (KG) were given in my name. I was really happy about it. It has also helped us with our savings. We are happy that we are eating fresh vegetables. We feed ourselves and can feed our neighbors too. We save a lot of money and only spend it on the bare minimum. ”- Amna, a beneficiary of SIAPEP.

Amna runs a household of nine family members. For years she found it difficult to support her family with the limited resources she had. The Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Boost Project provided her with the kitchen garden kits, and her life has improved since then. She can take care of her household better and can also save money.

Before the SIAPEP project, families in rural areas of Sindh used traditional methods of growing crops. They used flood irrigation systems to grow crops, resulting in inefficient use of water and poor crop yields. They were not taking full advantage of home gardening and missing out on very high quality plants that could be grown in their homes with minimal effort. In addition, traditional farming practices did not allow women to work with men to support their families.

Supported by the International Development Association (or IDA, the World Bank’s Fund for the Poorest People), SIAPEP distributed and installed 10,100 kitchen garden kits to beneficiaries, including 5,050 female-headed households and 5,050 landless farmers in rural Sindh. These households are now using drip irrigation systems instead of flood irrigation systems. The drip irrigation system not only saves tons of water, it is also much easier to use.

The kit includes a drip system for 400 square meters of land for landless farmers and female breadwinners. The kitchen gardening kit also includes a piping network for a 20 x 20 foot plot, a 200 liter barrel, essential tools, seeds and fertilizer for a year. With the help of these kits, farmers and their families can now grow enough vegetables for their household.

The project created a convenient way to store water. “SIAPEP provided us with water barrels (kits). Now we can save water and that has helped us a lot. Now we have enough water for every season of the year, be it rainy or hot. We can save our crops, ”said Parri – a beneficiary.

The kitchen garden activities focus on helping women grow food in the countryside and in the gardens that adjoin their homes. In addition, the Kitchen Garden Initiative aims to provide nutritious foods that can improve family health outcomes and ultimately strengthen human capital.

Effects on the diet and financial situation of the beneficiary households

Sana Khanzada, social and gender specialist in the project implementation unit for SIAPEP, explained the benefits of consuming organic food and added: “In rural areas, vegetable consumption by women has increased, which shows a good change overall. Women’s health is getting better day by day and the same positive change has been noted in children. Diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, upset stomach and others have decreased. ”

During the survey, data was collected to monitor the health of women and children after consuming fresh vegetables and fruits grown with the help of KG kits. There was a significant decrease of 10 to 20 percent in the reporting of cases of illness in hospitals.

Beneficiary Aadhya said, “In the past, women bought outside vegetables that were unsanitary and inorganic. This impaired the health of mother and child. “

Pregnant women used to eat only chillies and dry bread for dinner. Bad diet can cause health problems for both mother and baby. By eating their homemade vegetables, mothers have a more balanced diet, are less likely to get sick and their babies are born healthier.

Parri confirmed that childhood illnesses used to mean frequent visits to the doctor. Your children are now enjoying a much healthier life. They eat fresh vegetables grown in kitchen gardens. It will keep you and your children in good health.

In addition to providing healthy food, SIAPEP significantly improved the financial situation of its beneficiaries. They have increased their incomes and savings in a short period of time.

“We make money by selling surplus vegetables to small vendors or shops. We use the money for other household expenses, ”said Khair Bano, a satisfied beneficiary. She wants to build a bright future for her children by spending her income on their education. She looks forward to an improved lifestyle for her family.

Parri said the project was “budget friendly”. She adds, “All the money we save is like a lottery. We will benefit from this in the future. “

Kitchen nursery contributions to mitigating the effects of COVID-19

The project has directly contributed to mitigating the social and economic effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Accelerating work to improve watercourses, which is part of the project’s water management improvement in irrigation systems, has contributed to the creation of temporary jobs. 50 percent of the employees in the areas of interculture, fertilization and irrigation were women. They offered other households home gardening services, either for a fee.

Peersun is a beneficiary who made the most of this project. He said, “Due to COVID-19, we had neither work nor the opportunity to travel to the city. We all sat idle in our houses. SIAPEP helped us. My wife and I started growing vegetables on our tiny piece of land. We are satisfied with the results and the people from the surrounding villages are happy too. “

Advancement of women through SIAPEP

A key objective of the SIAPEP project’s operation was to support disadvantaged women in rural Sindh. This project has helped women contribute to raising the standard of living in their families.

As one beneficiary emphasized: “In our culture, men are the only breadwinners in their household. Now we (women) harvest vegetables ourselves and sell them. With our hard income, we contribute equally to household expenses and even save for the future. ”

The program has gained significant acceptance and recognition lately. Sana Khanzada, SIAPEP’s social and gender specialist, received the Role Model Women Award 2021.

On this occasion, Sana Khanzada said: “This project has changed the daily lifestyle of women. Now they are involved in decisions. Your self-confidence was strengthened by this procedure. This success is not just for me, but for the entire SIAPEP team and other partners who have contributed to it. ”

Other interventions of the project include improving municipal water infrastructure, promoting and installing highly efficient irrigation systems, and helping to introduce improved agricultural practices.

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Women’s Health

Ellen Noble: Fostering inclusivity, opportunity and health awareness in cycling

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Ellen Noble is stepping down from professional cycling indefinitely to make her health a priority, but she will continue her mission of promoting inclusivity, opportunity and health awareness in the sport.

In an interview with Cyclingnews, Noble said she wanted to provide opportunities for girls and young women through ENCXQuest and Noble Racing Mentorship Program Grant initiatives.

“It is possible to still be inclusive and create community, be it in person or remotely. I love this connection. I didn’t always fit in when I was in school, so it really means having a group of people we can all fit into. ”A lot to me, and I want to keep finding ways to do that. I don’t want to stop doing my initiatives outside of racing and I hope I can do more of them now that I have more time. I intend to stay in the sport even if it’s not on the track, “said Noble.

Noble has ongoing health problems after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in 2018, an autoimmune disease that affects thyroid function.

Noble told Cyclingnews that it took some time to find ways to relieve her symptoms through visits to different doctors, but that she was slowly putting together treatments and lifestyle adjustments that work for her.

“In the last two years since my diagnosis, I’ve had a lot of small wins. Every time you work with someone new, you learn a little and I take small pieces from each practitioner and I slowly build a solid foundation for health, which is my goal, ”said Noble, who uses acupuncture to provide symptom relief has found .

“Practitioners in many circles believe that autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases can be hibernated, they can never be cured, but they can be let dormant. The ultimate goal for me is to put it into hibernation and not struggle with flare-ups. “

Noble said her health was in delicate but good shape when she suffered a fall earlier this year that broke her spine in three places. Although she was now almost completely healed, the injury opened a void in her health that was difficult to fill.

“I still have back pain, my back is healed, but it didn’t just go away. I don’t think injuries, be it a broken bone or illness, aren’t always linear, ”she said.

“I think this is how my autoimmune disease changed after I broke my back. When I broke my back in April, I was doing pretty well. I felt healthy, my symptoms were regulated, and I felt pretty good. I just wasn’t in my best shape and my results weren’t great, but I felt good.

“That was a bridge too far for me. My health was still fragile and the physical trauma of breaking my back shook my health as we were in a delicate balancing act. I came back and rode and worked at the gym and then hit a wall in August. Physically I couldn’t anymore and my nervous system was at its limit. “

Noble hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a return to professional racing; However, she has not set a schedule for her sabbatical. Instead, it focuses on other goals within the sport that offer rewards beyond performance and results.

“I’m still trying to find out everything. I take my time and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and I feel grateful in this room where I can do something new. I still want to be involved in the sport because I love cycling, I love bikes and most of all I love what bikes can do for people, from racing to commuting to rides around your neighborhood with friends of kids. I want to pass this message on. I also think bikes are a great platform to talk about physical and mental health, ”said Noble.

Connection and acceptance

Noble launched ENCXQuest in 2017, which accommodates 12 to 18 girls and young women ages 15 to 23 to experience an all-women cycling camp that includes training, technique building, yoga, and education on nutrition, sponsorship, and the sport in general.

“The camp started as an answer to my question: What did I want and need in sports when I was 15? When I was in high school, sport opportunities were lacking for women my age. There were many junior camps and, despite my requests, I was never admitted. When there weren’t any options for the next generation, I decided to do it myself, “said Noble.

Camp has been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, but Noble is preparing to host its fourth edition in 2022. Noble stated that ENCXQuest relies on donations and industry partners. It’s also an application-based program that offers places for women of all backgrounds, whether they can afford it or not.

“We want to make sure that the athletes who are eligible for the camp regardless of their financial status can participate. I’m delighted that space has been created for these athletes that might otherwise not have been created, ”said Noble.

“People are very supportive and so we can operate through donations from very generous people who also have the mission to get more girls and young women on bikes and to create a space for young women to have fellowship. Yes, it’s about bikes, but it’s also about 12 to 18 girls who spend the week together and find that having more women in your circle is pretty cool. “

While the ENCXQuest took a break due to Covid-19, Noble launched a virtual platform in 2021 to create opportunities for women in cycling. The Noble Racing Mentorship Program Grant Fundraiser is an attempt to support and mentor the next generation of young women in cycling. It offers seven athletes monthly group and one-on-one meetings, as well as financial grants to cover their entry fees, travel expenses, and coaching.

Noble wants to continue both initiatives while finding new ways to promote inclusion and opportunities for women in cycling.

When asked where she sees herself in the future in sport, especially in terms of her initiatives, Noble said, “I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I hope the sport continues. We see these little advances in different areas. We’re seeing more colored riders in the results, on the start lists and on the podium and it’s amazing. The same goes for transporters. Seeing acceptance grow wider, which is amazing to see, has been my mission since the beginning of the quest to promote that inclusivity.

“I hope more people understand that bikes are powerful and can change lives. The more people from all backgrounds – no matter where you come from or who you are – the more people we can bring on bikes mission. If you have love in your heart and want to ride a bike then you are friends of mine. It’s a great way to connect. “

Noble will take the time it takes to get better and one day we may see her at the highest level of racing again, but even if we don’t she’s sure she has a place in cycling .

“My comeback to cycling is not guaranteed. I won’t be racing again if I don’t fix my health, but my goal is to fix that and if I can I’ll be back at the track. Anyway, I’m not done with cycling yet, “said Noble.

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Women’s Health

New York electeds rally around Planned Parenthood, assure NYC as safe haven for abortion seekers

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As the right to abortion is threatened in states across the country, elected officials from New York gathered in Lower Manhattan on Monday to discuss planned parenting.

With abortion fast becoming one of the most controversial issues of the year and fear of losing the right to vote, a bevy of city and state officials assure New Yorkers that they will not lose access to these health services.

While touring Planned Parenthood at 26 Bleecker Street, Congressman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Brian Kavanagh, councilor Carlina Rivera, famous journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, and more brought the facility’s importance to the fore today more than ever. Maloney said the site is already seeing an influx of patients from overseas.

Congressman Carolyn Maloney. Photo by Dean Moses

“We just visited Planned Parenthood and they are already telling us that people are flying in from Texas for treatment. I am so proud that Planned Parenthood is in the district I represent and that it does such a good and wonderful job helping women and girls, ”said Maloney.

“Reproduction rights are no longer chopped off. They were thrown away the entire time I was in Congress. Vote here and vote there. They no longer scratch our rights. They ram them into the ground, ”she added.

That influx coincides with the case of the Dobbs Supreme Court over the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, the ongoing litigation over the six-week abortion ban in Texas, and efforts to escalate denials of health care, including abortion and contraception. In the Dobbs v Jackson case, the state of Mississippi argues that the power to regulate abortions should be a state issue, not a state issue. As the court battle continues with a verdict due by the summer of this year, 21 states are on the verge of making abortions illegal or extremely difficult due to strict guidelines such as the “Heartbeat Laws”.

Chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee alongside her work in Congress, Maloney is pushing for a five-part plan to tackle the attack on women’s rights. Citing discussions she had with incestants aged 10 and over who became pregnant, she called abortion abolition “cruel” and “inhuman”.

Maloney’s initiative sees the constitutional change in equality through the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish a legal right to abortion across the country while cracking down on contraceptive restrictions.

Gloria Steinem is all too familiar with this fight. Steinem, who fought for women’s rights for decades, called this latest controversy an attack on democracy.

Journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. Photo by Dean Moses

“If we cannot control ourselves, there is no democracy. When Hitler was elected and he was elected, the first thing he did the very next day was padlock the family planning clinics and declare abortion a crime against the state. Mussolini did the same. Dictators know that they have to control reproduction, ”Steinem said.

While this is extremely worrying for those living in the affected states, many in attendance reassured New Yorkers as well.

“New Yorkers need to know that their right to abortion is safe here in this state. Regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court, ”said Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW-NYC.

Tiffany Caban. Photo by Dean Moses

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Women’s Health

Gynaecologist busts some common PCOS myths

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) has become one of the most common hormonal problems in women today. Recent data shows that at least three in ten women are diagnosed with it, and six in ten women diagnosed are teenagers, said Dr. Vaishali Joshi, Senior Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital.

“PCOS is a disease of civilization that has problems like irregular periods, scant menstrual flow, acne, excessive body hair, weight gain, darkening of the skin, along with polycystic bulky ovaries (PCOD) on sonography and hormonal imbalance including high insulin resistance and excess male hormones, “she said.

The following should be noted with PCOS (Photo: Getty / Thinkstock)

“Many young women are mistakenly diagnosed with PCOD instead of PCOS because some symptoms are similar. Hence, there are many myths and facts surrounding PCOS too, ”she added.

* PCOS only occurs in young women in their early twenties or thirties: PCOS can occur at any time between the ages of 18 and the age of perimenopause.

* All women with PCOS have PCOD: Polycystic Ovaries found in 20 percent of healthy women. At the same time, not all women with PCOS necessarily have PCOD ovaries on sonography.

* PCOD ovaries cause abdominal pain: PCOD ovaries are small (<10 mm) large water sacs (cysts) and are arranged around the periphery of the ovary in a pearl necklace pattern. They don't cause pain or discomfort. The ovarian cysts that cause pain are at least 3 cm in size and are not found in PCOD.

* Irregular periods and poor period flow lead to weight gain and PCOS: Culturally, menstruation has been viewed as a process by which unhealthy blood is thrown from a woman’s body. Skipping periods or decreased flow is believed to prevent this process and lead to the accumulation of fat and obesity. Unfortunately it’s the other way around. The weight gain leads to a hormonal imbalance and therefore an irregularity in the periods and development of PCOSsaid Dr. Joshi.

* PCOS only occurs in overweight women: women with acquired PCOS gain weight from poor lifestyle choices. Almost 80-85 percent of PCOS women are overweight. However, PCOS can occur in women of normal body weight, especially those with a family history.

* All women with irregular periods have PCOS: Period irregularities can also occur with thyroid diseases, hyperprolactinemia, eating disorders, low hormonal levels induced by overuse, especially in long distance runners.

* Acne is always due to PCOS: acne or pimples on the face can have several causes. PCOS is one of them. The most common are skin problems, allergies, or dandruff.

* Women with PCOS have difficulty getting pregnant: PCOS causes anovulation, which means stopping an egg from being released every month, but does not stop it completely. Women with PCOS have inconsistent and delayed ovulation but can get pregnant naturally. Most of the time, having missed periods makes them unaware that they are pregnant, said Dr. Joshi.

* Drugs Can Cure PCOS: Drugs are usually used to treat the symptoms of PCOS, depending on the treatment needed, such as infertility or regular menstruation. These treatments do not address the cause and therefore are not curative drugs. PCOS is a disease of civilization and the cure is achieved through regular exercise, diet changes and weight loss.

* Losing weight can cure PCOS completely: Unfortunately, PCOS is a lifelong disease. A Weight loss of at least 10 percent leads to an improvement in symptoms by reducing hyperinsulinemia and excess male hormones. One has to continue with lifestyle measures and weight loss should be maintained.

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