Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman is best known as an obstetrician-gynaecologist who worked all over the world for the health and rights of women and children. She is a well-known scientist, author and politician. In 1994 Marleen Temmerman established the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH). Read more about this alongside.
The International Centre for Reproductive Health strives for sexual and reproductive health for all. Wherever in the world. And it also strives for improved accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services and a better quality of care. As a centre of expertise, we firmly adopt a global approach, and we combine several scientific disciplines such as biomedical sciences, sociology, epidemiology and law. In our work, we pay special attention to human rights and gender aspects.
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The ICRH prefers to work with local researchers for its research projects in developing countries. These are however hard to find. There is a shortage of well-trained researchers in the field of sexual and reproductive health. And this shortage is even more severe in Africa, where the needs are high.
The ICRH offers an intensive training programme in which African researchers are immersed during six months in the research activities at the ICRH in Ghent, followed by six months field work experience in Kenya or Mozambique. The interns receive a living allowance of 1300 Euro per month. This program is in no way subsidized, which explains why additional resources are being sought through the Marleen Temmerman Fund.
Rapes and more in general violence against women (and children) are unfortunately frequent phenomena worldwide, and also in Kenya. In 2007 the ICRH Kenya established, together with Ghent University and the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre (GBVRC), with the aim to not only offer medical care, but also psycho-social and legal support. Since its inception, more than 4000 victims were helped, of which 80% women and girls and over 50% younger than 18 years.
I addition to care and assistance, the GBVRC sets up sensitization activities, training for hospital staff on how to deal with victims of violence, and research into prevalence and prevention of violence. The ICRH plays an important role in this and thanks to the Marleen Temmerman Fund the continuity of these badly needed activities can be guaranteed.
Being pregnant and giving birth are natural processes, but if something goes wrong this can have serious consequences for mother and child. Research has demonstrated that the delivery is a particularly risky moment, especially if the woman is far from a maternity facility or a hospital. ‘Maternity shelters’ can contribute to a decrease in maternal and infant mortality. These shelters are ‘waiting homes’ close to a maternity facility where women living in remote areas or with increased risk of complications can stay awaiting their delivery.
Also in the first weeks after delivery problems may occur which can be solved if they are detected in time. Research has indicated that house visits by health care workers who check on mother and child, can avoid many problems. If necessary, mother and child are referred to a health care facility for further care. The resources of the Marleen Temmerman Fund are used for supporting the maternity shelters and for purchasing bicycles for the health care workers who make the house visits.
Cervical cancer is the main cancer-related cause of death among women in Africa, with more than 250,000 victims per year.
30 million girls are at risk of genital mutilation in the next decennium.
Approximately 50% of pregnancies is unintended, and approximately 25% is unwanted.
Every day, 800 women die from consequences of pregnancy and delivery.
Teenage pregnancy is the main reason why girls drop out of school.